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.

Changes to Rail Services from Denmark Hill

On the 9th of December the Overground begins running through Denmark Hill station, completing the loop around London. The line will run between Highbury & Islington and Clapham Junction, opening up many more tube and train services.

This comes at the expense of the South London Line, which means a reduced (no evenings or Sundays) service to Victoria, and no direct service to London Bridge — a change at Peckham Rye will be necessary.

The service from Denmark Hill at peak times will be as follows:

  • Four trains per hour to St Pancras (some continue to Luton);
  • Four trains per hour to Bromley South (some continue to Sevenoaks and Orpington);
  • Three trains per hour to Victoria;
  • Three trains per hour to Lewisham;
  • Four trains per hour to Clapham Junction; and
  • Four trains per hour to Highbury & Islington.

Further service changes may occur in 2014, when the Southeastern franchise is up for renewal, and 2018, when the Thameslink project is completed.

The loss of the South London Line will certainly affect some people negatively, but I think the extra services on the Overground will be ample compensation for the majority; this really does open Camberwell up, especially for those who live in SoCam (I made that up; it’s short for South Camberwell).

Much of this information comes from the latest Camberwell Quarterly.

Burgess Park, the Olympic Torch, and so on

Lots of news today, for some reason. Maybe because it’s sunny.

OK, first, Burgess Park reopens this Saturday after a long, long wait. Partially reopens, anyway. There’s an open day with loads of events from 11am to 5pm (weather permitting, of course). I’m looking forward to seeing the changes. One bit of news I’m quite keen on is that there’ll be a new barbecue area in the park, around the lake, which is a nice idea.

On 26th July the Olympic Torch will pass through Camberwell between 11.45am and 12.15pm, coming along Peckham Road to the Green, then up Coldharbour Lane.

SE5 Forum are looking for volunteers to help with stewarding this, and also general leafletting duties; meet at 2pm on 22nd July in The Recreation Ground if you want to help.

According to The Telegraph, teams of ‘street pastors’ have led to a 95% decrease in street crime in Camberwell. I can’t find that figure confirmed anywhere, nor do I know how they can prove that any reduction is due to the pastors, but if it’s at all true then it’s a very welcome development.

Finally, a privately-funded firm has published plans for a new tram line between Camberwell and London Bridge, which they claim could be operational within two years. The streets are certainly wide enough for the most part, as it’s where the old tram line used to run; but Walworth Road has since been narrowed so not sure how that will work. Integration with the Oyster network is also an open question. Still, exciting if it does happen.

That’ll do for now.

February’s Miscellanea

A couple of calls for participation:

Camberwell Business Network and SE5Forum would like some feedback from you about local shopping; and the Met police are looking for witnesses to a very nasty hit and run on Champion Hill last week.

Quick bit of transport news: TfL asked Southwark Council for their preference of proposed extensions to the Bakerloo line, and the Council have said that Lewisham via Camberwell and Peckham is their choice. However, that’s very far from being a done deal, and even if it were we’d be looking at some 15–20 years away. Still, perhaps one day…

The Council recently posted some historic maps online, which are interesting to look at. Did you know The Fox On The Hill used to be The Fox Under The Hill? Not sure what brought him to the surface.

That is all for now. I’m still looking for more contributors. Show of hands, please?

More Revitalise Camberwell events

Following on from my last post I have looked at the information I picked up and see that there are further Revitalise Camberwell events in the next few weeks:

Come and see Revitalise Camberwell at

The Farmers’ market on the Green Sat 3 December 10am-2pm

A walking tour and workshop starting at St Giles Centre on Sat 3 December 9:30am‑1:30pm and on Thu 8 December 6–9pm

Exhibition at the St Giles Centre on 8 December from 5pm and in Butterfly Walk on Saturday 17 December from 11am.

For further information contact the Revitalise Camberwell team on 020 7525 5317 or email transport@​southwark.​gov.​uk