Solution to Denmark Hill overcrowding may come, but not soon

A large number of passengers at the entrance to Denmark Hill station

If you travel via Denmark Hill station at peak times, especially in the morning, you can’t have failed to notice it frequently gets overcrowded—often dangerously so. Commuter numbers have increased significantly, and the limited number of ticket barriers don’t always allow a steady flow in or out, especially when three busloads of people turn up at once, or one (or more) barrier is out of order—when both happened recently there was a huge number of people trying to get in, which led to a crowd spilling out into the road outside.

Exacerbating this, the newly-built walkway is a quite long walk from the platforms so people tend to use the older wooden stairs, and when trains arrive and depart on platforms 2 and 3 simultaneously the queues up those stairs can become very long and cramped.

Unfortunately, the situation doesn’t seem set to improve in the short term. Councillor Kieron Williams has been very active in talking to GTR (the station operators) and Network Rail about changes to the station, with one option being a second entrance to the station on Windsor Walk, making better use of the walkway and the full length of the platforms. He tweeted today a response from GTR (quoted below) which acknowledges the situation and the proposal, but makes clear the cost involved is likely to be significant and, even if funds were made available, the earliest it could be would likely be April 2019—and who knows how long construction would take after that?

On the positive side, it’s good that the need has been identified. This is the response from GTR:

GTR and Network Rail have noted the significant increase in passenger footfall at Denmark Hill and the pressures that this then causes on the station infrastructure particularly around peak travelling times.

Network Rail have conducted an assessment on the station capacity including detailed pedestrian modelling with a number of interventions both physical and operational. A possible second entrance was considered as part of the assessment, however it is noted that this solution requires significant capital investment in order to deliver.

The station is considered a priority for investment to improve station capacity as and when funds become available to achieve this (typically this is governed through the 5 yearly railway funding periods). The next railway period (CP6) will commence from April 2019.

In order to support this intervention GTR has sought funding through the National Stations Improvement Programme to assess the feasibility of a second entrance with the support of Network Rail’s specialist engineers. A concept proposal has been prepared which considers a second entrance onto Windsor Walk connected via the recently installed footbridge with lifts. This has allowed the industry to understand the magnitude of costs, risks and constructability to inform a future bid for capital investment.

Header image from Caroline Carr on Twitter.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

21 thoughts on “Solution to Denmark Hill overcrowding may come, but not soon”

  1. Do the government want a country or not? Capital investment needed to avoid overcrowding. Britain is open for business — in a cramped way — but it is not itself a business. You can’t run a business like this. Why not appeal for EU money if the government can’t help?

    1. It would help if we knew how many people were coming into the country but that is not possible . You cant run a country with uncontrolled populations . Infrastructure does not work like that and I know no one wants to hear that but its the truth.

  2. Any news on this; Camberwell Railway Station Business Case “will be published by the end of the year” says TfL?? Has this been kicked down the road yet again with 2017 now been and gone? Why even bother to give a publication date when this is repeatedly missed!

  3. The most frustrating thing about the Denmark Hill situation is that there was an entrance on Windsor Walk whilst the work was going on to build the new entrance. If they had just kept that temporary entrance and upgraded it I’m sure that it would have been cheaper than the costs now envisaged.

    1. The SLG show *is* good. I went twice at the weekend. The serious art notes helped me appreciate the paintings better.

    1. I heard they have chopped down a lot of trees which is outrageous. But then I suppose its good news for the developers …no more pesty residents trying to preserve their oxygen levels.

      I cannot believe after the £8million they spent initially its still not over. But then Burgess Park is only being developed for the benefit of the new luxury flats as was Camberwell Green. In the future people are going to wonder just how the general public were made to pay for the facilities designed to bring in the super rich when there were no police on the streets and social care was at crisis point.

      Southwark Council appear to be having a general tree cull and are getting more confident. Last year it was One Tree Hill and Grade 1 SINC site to use as a burial site. They really need to a bit more creative and think of different ways of burying people in a city which is continually growing and does not have enough land for people to live.

    2. Yeah, pity about the old roads to nowhere. To me that was a feature rather than a bit left over. Oh well, as you say, progress! They did a great job on the other bit of the park, so they probably know what they’re doing. Burgess Park is most excellent.

  4. A consultation by the council to widen the pavements around North Camberwell, ie Brunswick Park and Benhill Road, closes today.

    As someone who lives around there, even without a buggy or wheelchair, it is very difficult to get around the trees. Not so much because of the trees that have taken over some of the pavement, but mostly because there are so many wheelie bins on the pavements. This is particularly acute because many houses are converted into flats, so there can sometimes be 10 or more bins outside.

    Am I the only one that finds the very British obsession with having personal bins for each household really odd? What’s wrong with having big bins at the end of the road? Preferably taking up a parking space rather than the pavement!

    Rant over. If you fancy giving your point of view by the end of the day, knock yourselves out!

    1. Ah-ha, I am something of a professor of rubbish studies. The communal euro bins get abused by fly-tippers and damned outsiders.

    2. It always amazes me how you never see bins outside homes in Mayfair , Kensington ect …where do they put them ?

  5. There’s hardly any around in Camberwell on the streets because of the snow. Those who are have a sort of fellow feeling. I wish it were like this all time.

    1. Oopps this may be posted twice . Anyway thanks so much for posting the film …its amazing to see how its all changed in not that too long a time . The nice shops along Camberwell Green …all gone now and the terrible destruction that went on in the name of progress . Ironic that they are now tearing down the ‘modern ’ homes and I’m sure Waterloo Square , had it been left standing , would now be million pound flats . Brilliant . Thanks

  6. Those Waterloo Square tenements were a bit grim, Diana, looked like HMP!

    Today, there’s good news that Dulwich Hamlet lives on. This is a development story that’s going to run and run. What the developers say here is interesting. The Hamlet is being used a football between the council and the developers, a hostage.

    If London isn’t careful, there’ll be no London left soon. It’ll be just “apartments” and offices. Apartments! What is this, Manhattan?

    There may be a film to be made from this saga. It would be great!

    1. Dagmar . I’ve had some amazing feedback from people over the film of Camberwell . Would be amazing to show it somewhere outside in the summer …the green for instance ?

      On another note . Really sad to see the closure of fonehouse in Butterfly Walk . Those guys were legendary and helped all the elderly and less tech savvy in Camberwell. They said the rents were just too high and hope to open up somewhere else in Camberwell .

  7. A bike lane! I’m dreading the new emissions zone in 2021. Our old banger won’t make it. We’ll have to have a clapped-out Uber Prius, useless for the ASDA shop and escape from London. What is progress coming to?

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