Network Rail has announced plans for a £2.6 million refurbishment of Balham railway station in South London.

The main works will see the railway tracks realigned to reduce the gap between the trains and platforms. At the moment, there’s a fairly large step up/down between the two.

Apart from passenger comfort and safety, the smaller gap helps people get on and off trains faster, so the trains run less risk of spending longer than planned in the station, and that reduces delays along the line.

The project will be delivered between November 2020 and March 2021.

Balham Station platform (c) Network Rail

As part of the works, the platforms will be refurbished with new surfaces, drainage and tactile paving, and platform canopies repaired and repainted. There will also be new fencing at the London end of platforms to reduce trespass incidents, along with repairs to canopies, including new roof sheeting, guttering and re-decoration.

There will be some line closures needed to carry out the works:

  • 10pm Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd Nov 2020
  • 10pm Friday 12th to Sunday 14th Feb 2021
  • 10pm Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd Feb 2021

Balham may also be one of the stations on the future Crossrail 2, if it’s ever funded, and that would be likely to trigger a much larger rebuild of the mainline station in the future.


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  1. ChrisC says:

    These track changes should have happened when they extended the platforms a few years ago and we had all sorts of line and station closures.

    They totally replaced and widened the bridge over Bedford Hill to allow that to happen. I remmeber them doign that over Christmas.

    Typical short term thinking.

  2. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Will it also have lifts to be installed or is it not possible as it’s only a small interchange station in South London. And has connection with the Victoria Line.

    • ianvisits says:

      It’s a very busy station.

      If you checked before commenting, the station already has lifts.

      It doesn’t connect with the Victoria line.

    • ChrisC says:

      It has a single lift for platforms 1 and 2.

      No space for one on plats 3 and 4 but these are only used when 1 and 2 are closed for enginering works.

      Whilst the station is small in terms of space – the stairs to platform level are jam packed during commuter hours and it’s hard if you are going against the flow it’s not in terms of passenger numbers not only for those arriving and departing Balham but also those interchanging between the train and tubes.

      The station layout and construction (it’s on an embankment) mean it’s nigh on impossible to do any more to improve access. I believed they looked at it when they were first looking to extend the platforms but there was no where to build a larger additional entrance

  3. Stephen Spark says:

    Pre-Covid, Balham was extremely busy and at times dangerously overcrowded. It’s one of the few main line stations to which access sometimes has to be closed for safety reasons. It’s a serious bottleneck on the Southern suburban network as trains stopped here for any reason block all the routes from Victoria to Croydon, Sutton, Dorking etc. It’s relatively unusual in that the passenger flows in morning and evening peaks are two-way – as many get off the trains in the morning (mostly to transfer to the Underground) as get on (to go to Claapham Jc and Victoria) and these days the crush can be as bad heading out to Croydon as up to town. I’ve timed trains stopped in the platform for up to 2 minutes in the morning peak purely because of the press of passengers struggling to board and leave.

    Balham Southern is used by over 8 million passengers a year. Balham LT accounts for another 13-14 million. And all this on a fairly narrow island platform. So it’s very far from being “only a small interchange station” – it’s actually one of the busiest two-platform* stations in the UK! (* 2 pfms only because, as ChrisC says, Pfms 3 & 4 are not in regular use.)

    Balham needs a much bigger rebuild. The wasted space that is Sainsbury’s car park (temporary storage of private motor vehicles is surely the most unproductive use of valuable urban land) should be redeveloped for commercial use and could therefore be connected by a high-level walkway over Station Road to a rebuilt station. Realignment of tracks and widening of the platform at the western (Bedford pub) end would allow an entrance to be inserted from Beford Hill, which would also serve to reduce pedestrian congestion along Station Road.

    To address the chronic congestion on the suburban side at Balham, an additional, bi-directional line for the many ECS and freight workings should be built alongside the down slow line. This would have to be carried on a viaduct over Station Road. It would require substantial earthworks and some property demolition – an expensive but essential infrastructure enhancement. Space for an additional line, and even the bridge abutments, already exists between Balham Jc and Streatham Hill. East of Wandsworth Common the new line could utilise the trackbed of the former connection to New Wandsworth Goods. If Crossrail 2 ever sees the light of day, Clapham Junction station will be substantially rebuilt, so the other major obstacle, the dreadful bottleneck under St John’s Hill Bridge, will be addressed in that project.

    CR2 planners envisage NO rebuilding of Balham Southern station. Nothing has been allowed in the budget or the plans for any enhancement of the station were the CR2 station to be sited here rather than in Tooting. Neither site is popular with the respective local communities, but Balham would offer far better interchange options – but ONLY if there were to be a complete reconstruction of the LT and Southern stations and the Balham Triangle.

    • Andy Taylor says:

      While Balham would offer better interchange options, having an alternative interchange further down the line would reduce overcrowding on the Northern line in rush hour, and also offer different travel options, rather than funnelling all traffic through one node.
      There was also the argument that public transport access to St George’s Hospital Tooting is in dire need of improvement, and Tooting would benefit from regeneration possibilities driven by CR2 going there.
      All of this now seems to be hypothetical though.

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