On the new London Overground


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.

62 thoughts on “On the new London Overground”

  1. Better for people to see their chums in Chelsea or better for patients and hospital workers getting to and from Victoria and London Bridge? Sadly it’s the chums from Chelsea who oversee not only our economic decline but also a reduction in our transport services. Reminds one of Thatcher telling us to rejoice rejoice; I suppose if one says it often enough one might come to believe it.

  2. The South London line was always going to close; outside of peak hours it was basically empty. The net service from Denmark Hill has increased — more connections to more stations. The price has been a direct connection to London Bridge (now requires one change) and an off-peak connection to Victoria (likewise). Instead we get direct access to Clapham Junction, the Jubilee Line at Canada Water, the DLR, District, Circle and H&C at Whitechapel… Not everyone’s going to be happy about it, but more people will than won’t.

  3. I’m going to try this for Canary Wharf next Monday. My biggest worries though are:

    1. Will I be able to get on at Denmark Hill?
    2. Will I be able to change for the one stop at Canada Water.

    I’ll let you know on Monday!

  4. I understand that the direct link between King’s College and London Bridge for Guy’s was very handy indeed, especially for patients…who will now have lifts at Denmark Hill…not sure Peckham Rye has lifts…yet — but some impressive plans are underfoot to make Peckham Rye Station the centrepiece and inspiration for an improvement of the area and environment around it…

    Long-term vision and all that 😉

    It’s handy to have a connection to Clapham Junction but as far as I’m concerned linking Hackney with our part of the world is a lot more exciting.

    It’s already being unofficially mooted as the “Arts Line” and you can see why…

    Hackney/Shoreditch/Dalston art scene
    Whitechapel Art Gallery
    Goldsmiths College
    Camberwell College of Arts
    Peckham Art Scene/Bussey Building
    South London Gallery
    Battersea Arts Centre

    I’m finding it hard to feel negative about that!

  5. @St Giles — Good luck! I hope to hear some good news from you on Monday.

    @eusebiovic — So am I. It’s so exciting to be part of the “Arts Line” and I really hope that my Chelsea chums will enjoy this too after they have tried the service from Clapham Junction.

    By the way, it will be easier to get to Gatwick Airport — Clapham Junction provides a more convenient service to it and we will be only five stops away depending on the train.

  6. And another thing.

    Rather unsurprisingly, Khan’s, which opened up in the New Dome Hotel, has closed. There is a notice asking for offers.

    Someone has been in already. They are looking for somewhere to open a jerk chicken joint. I say: Bring. It. On.

    Safa is also up for sale.

  7. Has anyone been to the new Cool Cats Cafe on Southampton Way yet?

    I keep meaning to, but never have time. It looks great from the outside.

  8. Some seasonal musings in my annual message to you all.

    - First Capital Connect service from Denmark Hill to Blackfriars and northwards. Late almost every morning without fail. Pathetic. I now cycle as much as I can to avoid it. Also can’t believe how slow the work is on improving Denmark Hill station.
    — Khan’s – sad to hear it might be going. Our curry places do struggle don’t they. None of them quite get it right.
    — That Begging Bowl Thai place in Bellenden Road is extremely bad value for money.
    — My last meal at The Bear was not up to scratch for the price. Not going back in a hurry.
    — On the walk to the Bear – that Tesco Metro, wow when did that happen? I never walk that way really.
    — Van Hing or whatever Hoa Viet (or was it Viet Hoa) is called now has improved since I last went. This time it was OK rather than grim.
    — The Sun will never be as good as The Sun and Doves. We shall not forget.
    — The revamped Camberwell swimming pool is good but, like with any pool, annoying when busy. I’ve stopped going so much.
    — Peckham library revamp is good to see, though mainly involves loads of study cubicles, but sad to see so much automation with those grim self-service machines like in the supermarket, and fewer librarians. Some extra new stock of books.
    — Still a massive queue outside Manzes pie n mash shop at the weekends – good to see.
    — Hermit cider range still impressive.
    — Met a lady in her 50s last night who rates Club Couture. Not sure I’ll be going though.
    — Unusually, I’ve had a few SE5 lunches recently. Mangal lunchtime wraps not bad — bit salty but a change from Falafel. Angels and Gs burritos are nice. Vietnamese stew at that banh mi place near the hospital was good, and fine value too.
    — Hoopers still going. I think they’re only open Thurs, Fri and Sat now. Can’t remember about Sun. The lager’s not great but it makes a change.

    With that, can I say: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
    Your friend
    Phil G

  9. That’s Crystal Palace Football Club! Laugh? I nearly did!

    Talking of the Alice in Wonderland world of Millwall, Dulwich Hamlet are playing Horsham at home at 3pm. The Hamlet are top of their league.

    9 quid and kids under 12 free. A pint is £2.50 in the clubroom till 3pm. There are big screens showing the big games and a real game happening perilously close to the terraces below.

    It is really real.

  10. @Dagmar

    A very good 4–0 win to the Hamlet…it could so easily have been double that.

    I enjoy a pint and some goals at Champion Hill on a saturday…it’s very theraputic

  11. A bit off topic, but isn’t Peckham’s Rio Ferdinand’s tweet, about the two pee thrown at him, along the lines of, it could of at least of been a quid

    really good in this overhyped world of celebrity and modern toss.

    The best place in Camberwell at the moment is Lettsom Gardens, sort of a lost world.

  12. OK, well.

    Celebrity burns ever bright in the sky, as those who care for its pretty puppets, die.

    The sun at the moment hardly hits two o’clock, drifts palely in a low arc over the M25(S) for a few hours before missing Heathrow by miles and landing somewhere near Stonehenge.

    One of the joys of Camberwell is to see it illuminate, at midday, at exactly the street’s downwards angle, the slope of Vestry Road, showing up every slight irregularity of the brickwork, every tiny baked grain of clay, picking up every detail of the street in the day’s strongest light and darkest shadow, for a few minutes making that bumpy old street seem like the silk road between life and death, before the fireball passes to that part of Wiltshire where there are no villages and then down beneath the earth.

    Time, above all things, passes quickly in eternity. Soon the sun’s flame will dwindle altogether, die completely, like that of a candle in a side chapel, and the prayers that go with it will be gone.

  13. @Phil G: Love the idea of getting all your messages sorted in one go!

    I’m not really upset about Khans. The food was mediocre at best and pretty pricey when you think that you could eat at many other places, better, and for a less.

    I think Indian restaurants of the Safa / Khan’s ilk are stuck in the 70’s and 80’s and need to change their menus and update. Look at the success of Silk Road and to a lesser extent to Wuli Wuli. The best I can say about Silk Road is that once a couple came in to look at the menu, and promptly left soon after complaining that “it doesn’t do Chow Mein”. That is why Silk Road is heaving on a Monday night. Wuli Wuli is a bit of a hybrid and does both Chinese Chinese, and British Chinese (aka Chow Mein).

    I’d love Camberwell to have a Ganapati style Indian.

    In the meantime, there’s always the New Dewaniam but delivery was patchy when I ordered.

  14. If I eat Indian out, I eat at Ganapati; if I eat in, I order from 2 Sisters in New Cross. None of the Camberwell Indians do it for me, I’m afraid.

    Can confirm the burritos from Angels & Gypsies at lunchtime are very good; I had a blackened tofu and pumpkin burrito which was *amazing*.

    BTW, heard a rumour that Hoopers is shutting down for good on Christmas Eve.

  15. If anybody here appreciates a half-decent coffee then I can recommend the Beanery in Loughborough Junction…

    They do some fab cakes and pastries and the pizzas aren’t too shabby either. The prices are acceptable too.

    They have a quiz night on thursdays and sometimes music or even poetry too (I kid ye not)…although generally it’s office hours only. Mon — Fri.

    A textbook lesson in making the most out of what on the surface most wouldn’t think makes a successful location.

  16. Hoopers is definitely closing and it will be converted to residential unless someone takes a lease on it.

    The people who are behind Safa want too much for the lease and will not budge.

  17. RAS Lion — the man who had the shop on Camberwell Station Road is looking for a new shop.

    Needs a peppercorn rent — ideally somewhere which is currently unoccupied and costing a landlord money to have it closed. He’d take on a Tenancy at Will until a substantive lease is arranged.

    If you know of any premises here or in Brixton, or anywhere locally, he’d be very grateful for a lead. raslion@​firstrasta.​com

  18. Lions Fried Chicken by Queen’s Road railway station, Peckham, is not to missed if you are peckish. Not only are they named after the mighty Millwall (whose lion emblem followed their Scottish fanbase south in their early days on the Isle of Dogs), they serve lions, fried lions, lion kebab and free extras, as a customer discovered in her spare ribs. She complained! I spect the bloke behind the counter said shut up you silly cow else they’ll all want one!


  19. So — new route is pretty good, and nowhere near as packed as I expected. The congestion point is, unsurprisingly, Canada Water where 100s try to get on an already packed jubilee train. They’re frequent enough that it only means a 5 minute wait though.

    My journey (Camberwell Canary Wharf) is slashed from 60 to 25 minutes, inc walking.


    Lots of cancelled trains this morning and no explanation though. Hope it’s just teething problems.

    @Gabe — had breakfast at Cool Cats the other week. It’s a great venue; my breakfast was ok, my partner wasn’t very happy with his; took ages for it to arrive even though only 2 tables were occupied. Hope (again) that it’s just teething trouble.

  20. Ah. So we went to Cool Cats at the weekend. The best veggie breakfast around, by miles. Love how it catches the winter sunshine in the morning.

    It sort of feels out of place on Southampton Way, but in a good way, I think. There were quite a few people in on Saturday, so that bodes well. I hope they build a sustainable trade.

    At near enough £10 a person, it’s an indulgence rather than something I’ll be doing regularly, but it is a good cafe. Recommended.

  21. Whilst walking through Ruskin Park this afternoon I caught a glimpse of the infamous growing colony of South East London parakeets who I believe were first spotted around Brockley…

    Their spectacular Green and Yellow plumage made me think that they were most probably fans of Norwich City F.C in a past life.

    I quickly realised that this was wishful thinking because they made a spectacular ear-splitting racket…I reckon there must have been around half a dozen.

    Nonetheless, they made my day…

  22. There are parakeets in Lucas Gardens as well, and the number seems to be growing. Often hear them fly over our garden — their screech is unmistakeable.

  23. They were in Scadbury Park 25 years ago and have come closer and closer in from the suburbs. They have funny little wings like flying-fish fins, so have to flap like wasps to stay up. You hardly ever see their feathers shed on the ground, but they are a very beautiful yellow-green.

    They say the bottom of the Serpentine is absolutely crawling with American crayfish.

    Japanese knotweed? If you find it near your property, call Roy Brooks to sell, then disembowel yourself.

    You hardly ever see a sparrow in London now.

    The Danes? We just sailed in and took over. The Killing? You bet!

  24. Are you tempted to lease Hooper’s Mark? Would it be free of tie?

    I see no reason why that place needs to fail. The Gowlett does OK. Bellenden is too busy now. Just need to target families by day. Young professionals by night.

    Thanks to Overground from next October new grads will move to Denny Hill as Clapham overflow on a scale not previously seen. It would be a shame if they are too late to save the Ivanhoe.

  25. I reckon that the Parakeets of South East London should form a co-operative and take over Hoopers Bar.

    Their colourful plumage and squawking set to a soundtrack of Jimi Hendrix’s phychedelic, hypnotic guitar feedback would be a far more successful formula than the grey, uninspired predictability of the average pubco template. It could even double up as a cabaret act…which has always been popular in Camberwell.


    (p.s I really do hope that somebody takes on the Hoopers site…they really tried hard, it wasn’t the quality of beer that was a problem and they had Jazz too!)

  26. Alan. Jamie’s rent expectation is £25K for the bar and basement. Free of tie.

    From recollection the rent on the free of tie Cherry Tree in East Dulwich is around £60K and it has eight letting rooms and tenant accommodation.

    The British Queen on Brisbane street near the Magistrates’ Court is £15K as above and the Two Brewers on Southampton Way, £10K.

    The Ivanhoe undoubtedly has potential. I know I could make it work. But it needs investment and I have no capital. And the rent is a challenge. It would have too sweat too hard.

    And I have other irons in the fire:


    I’d appreciate feedback on this — it’s NOT ready yet but this is what I’ve been working on for a long time.

  27. PPP is crowd funded pub ownership then? Surely that would be the perfect model for the Ivanhoe.

    PPP1.0 the people’s Ivanhoe.

    The best thing you can do is prove that it can be done.

  28. “The best thing you can do is prove that it can make money.”

    Fixed that for you.

    No point doing it if it’s not financially sustainble and can’t pay fair wages to the investors and workers.

    From my mis-informed and probably ignorant perspective the overheads of running a business locally are out of wack with the market and revenue potential. Rents, especially, seem way too high and that is killing entrepreneurship and innovation.

  29. @Gabe

    It also has to do with the quality of the pub.

    The Crooked Well is a very good example. The two previous incarnations failed because they didn’t get it right in terms of providing what the customer wants.

    Know your market and know your business.

  30. You are right Gabe.

    Hoopers is a big space. I bet Mark could make it busy.

    Before I invested though, I’d need assurances that you would not put principles before profit Mark. But you would though wouldn’t you?

    The current incarnation is great for real ale drinkers. I think you could re-house that business in the little bar at the back and change the front into something like Petitou. But would it cover that rent? It would need to shift a lot of cheese on toast.

  31. Am mullah’d, festively, and it’s not yet the end of the world. Week.

    You’re right about pubs, Gabe. You are not a big pub fan, you have said. But in the days of proper pubs, the people who ran the pub would run it themselves and not hire poorly paid staff to face it for them.

    To run a pub, you have to be good with people and have a good attitude towards people. Perhaps that’s why the best publicans are Irish, from the Republic of Ireland, where people are valued whoever they are, not for who they know.

  32. Ivanhoe: Gabe is right. The rents round here are too high. And the commercial premise rents that are affordable are occupied by people who want far too much premium, even when they are losing money, to leave. And so is Monkeycat but in the long run the Crooked Well are most certainly going to be screwed by Punch and Alan, as always, has a point.

    In the Lambeth County Court hearing where S&NPC had me for a forfeiture hearing on 28 June last year — their ‘solicitor’ said to me, after the judge had ruled that I would be allowed three years to pay the £126,000 I owed the pubco — (which had infuriated the solicitor since, after all, it was “an open and shut case where he has put forward no real defence and, surely, a 28 day eviction order should be automatic? she asked the judge) she jabbed a finger at me and said “your problem is that you chose to pay your staff instead of paying the rent”. That, perhaps, is putting principles before profit.

    My bottom line on Hoopers is that it could work. I’ve always been interested in that pub — even before I did Sun and Doves — and I think something really interesting could happen there, but it’s too risky a as a lease and at that level of rent when £60K (min) needs to be spent on it to get it into the shape it needs to be in in order to trade effectively.

    If the freehold were available that would be an entirely different matter.

    The Prince of Wales at the end of Denmark Road has been sold by Punch to a private developer, no doubt for peanuts, and he’s applied for and got planning consent to convert the upstairs accommodation into private residential, which he’ll make his ROI on. Now he’s marketing the pub and cellar for £40K on a Tie. TWAT. Punch was letting the whole pub for £24K.

    I’m NOT an idealist, I’m not unrealistic about what can and can’t work with pubs. There are many pubs that are just out of time and place for contemporary culture but among the thousands that are closing forever there’s a significant number of them which could work very well — for long term.

    THAT pub (POW) would be a great local, for ever, if it hadn’t been carved up by private equity greed. Yet another one bites the dust. This kind of thing has been going on for decades. Remember the Lord Lyndhurst Warwick Gardens? A GEM of a pub that was run down deliberately by greedy bastards.

    The Hope on Rye Lane and the Bun House on Peckham High Street the same. And the Temple Bar on Walworth Road, even the Beaten Path. Anyhow.

    The same thing was inevitable for the Ivyhouse but it just happened to have some very sharp people local to it with the right combination of legal skills and vision to keep it from the brink. http://www.ivyhousenunhead.com/

  33. OK, but pubs are for people — to meet, meet new people, chat, talk, have arguments, flirt and have conversations and intercourse of all kinds. They are not bistros where people nibble nouveau portions of effete nosh and wanly gaze at shite art.

    Gordon Bennett, a pub is a pub, right? What on earth is going on in Camberwell, of all places, when a pub is supposed to be a place to ponce around in and irritate your fellow man with your pretensions?

    Islington? Notting Hill? Clapham? East Dulwich? You what? You what? You what you what you what?

  34. I do like a proper pub™. Conversation, company, beer, culture, gossip, talking-about-football, politics (via The Mirror). Proper community hubs they are. The life and soul…

    Came across the first £5 pint in South East London the other week — in the Catford Bridge Tavern of all places. It was a pint of Kernal, a vegan beer brewed in Deptford.

    So I like pubs, it’s the sadness woven into the fabric of them I dislike. Part of life’s balance, I guess.

  35. The Ivanhoe is never going to be the Hermit’s but it could be the Gowlett.

    Surely a long lease would be possible? Something more like the freehold model?

  36. The Kernel Brewery is in Druid Street, SE1. We passed the Catford Bridge Tavern on Saturday, Gabe, on the way to see Cinderella, with North Dulwich Brownies, featuring Floella Benjamin as the fairy godmother — yes, Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham in the County of Kent. Much recommended, on till 6 January.

    Anyway, we noticed that the Catford Bridge still had an estate agent’s sign on it. Glad to see it has survived — the Cats blog about how good it is, having been a bit “stabby”, a step down from shabby.

    Catford is not glamorous but is a sort of poor man’s Camberwell. The theatre is great. What a pity Catford Dogs closed. Catford Dogs!

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