Last Tuesday I attended a pre-launch tour of the new London Overground South London route, due to open on the 9th of December. As you probably already know, this is the new link between Clapham Junction and Highbury & Islington, via Dalston Junction, Surrey Quays and Denmark Hill (YEAH!), completing London’s first new orbital railway in 128 years.
Denmark Hill is right in the middle of the line extension, three stops (approx. 12 minutes) away from either Clapham Junction to the West or Surrey Quays to the East. Four trains per hour will run in each direction.
In the last three years, I happened to work in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, then in Canary Wharf, Docklands. If the new line existed, I could have saved time and money by avoiding zone 1, which also would have helped to reduce the congestion in central London stations during peak hours. This example sums up the main benefits of the network extension promoted by the TFL staff, who estimate 12.3 million passengers will use the service per year.
They also shared some interesting statistics: two million jobs or 55% of London’s employment is currently within 60 minutes of Peckham Rye. As a result of the London Overground extension to Clapham Junction, 125,000 additional jobs will be within 60 minutes journey time from Peckham Rye. Also they expect to reduce car trips by approximately 220,000 per annum which will have the effect of reducing traffic congestion and CO2 emissions.
Of course, many people will use the service to have fun too — there are so many cool places to see in the East London Line (Wapping, Shoreditch, Whitechapel) and it will be a lot easier for me to see my friends in Chelsea, who, well, like to stay there. Maybe the new line will encourage them to venture outside their boundaries and they will finally come to Camberwell and enjoy it. South London Gallery is already promoting the new service via Twitter and I hope they start to receive many more visitors soon.
I’m happy with the new service despite the loss of the South London Line. It will mean some inconvenience as a change is required to go to London Bridge or Victoria, but makes Denmark Hill better connected overall.
Update by Peter: In other transport news, the Camberwell Society have petitioned Southwark Council to push for a Bakerloo Line extension through Camberwell, and Councillor Peter John has said the Council would support this. Also, TfL are holding a public consultation on a new Cycle Superhighway through Camberwell, from New Cross to Vauxhall.