Lewisham council has issued a call for the Overground to be extended to Lewisham town centre as part of a wider series of improvements to the local rail and DLR networks. A report, produced last year, was presented at a council meeting last week for approval, and it includes a number of suggestions to improve rail services in one of the worst served parts of London.

Although the borough has a lot of railways running through it, it has rather fewer trains stopping at stations than would be ideal. In fact, their calculations show that on a basis of a train every 10 minutes, hardly any of the railway in the borough meets that standard.

What the plans call for, amongst other things, is for Lewisham station to become London’s fourth orbital hub, a point where many lines converge to enable interchanges that avoid travelling into the centre of London and back out again.

The three existing hubs are Clapham Junction, Stratford, and Willesden Junction.

Network Rail has already looked at how to increase capacity at Lewisham station, so that more trains can stop there, and also to cope with increasing demand. When the Bakerloo line arrives, there will be a huge surge in people swapping trains at the station, and the current small tunnels and corridors won’t cope.

In order to become the interchange hub, in addition to the arrival of the Bakerloo line, the council is promoting the idea of extending the Overground network from New Cross to Lewisham. That could make use of existing tracks, but on already congesting lines, it’s difficult to see where the capacity would come from.

Initial work was undertaken by TfL to identify the physical works required to deliver the junctions and platforms for this extension. It concluded that while it may be possible to construct the extension, timetable constraints would impact the service that could be offered.

The council says that it will continue to advocate for safeguards that would allow the extension to be provided and will engage with the service planning process to ensure that suitable paths are reserved for this extension.

The council also plans to lobby for any works to Lewisham station to allow for delivery of an Overground extension at a later date.

The council is also pushing for the planned Bakerloo line extension to carry on past Lewisham station down towards Hayes. Although the current extension proposals include an overrun tunnel beyond Lewisham which would enable a further extension to be constructed without impacting passengers using Lewisham station, the council wants that extension to be built immediately.

Their report said that this would serve the Borough’s growth areas at Catford and Lower Sydenham and facilitate more journeys from the south of the Borough to the employment and transport hub at Lewisham town centre.

Away from Lewisham centre, the report also adds support for a planned upgrade at Brockly station. At the moment, the station has two platforms, supporting north-south services. However, right next to it is an east-west line, that until 101 years ago, also had its own station, Brockley Lane.

The plan is to restore the lost platforms, and create a single interchange station allowing a much wider set of journey options.

At the moment, none of the plans have concrete funding in place, and most are going to be reliant on the usual mix of TfL funding and local developments stumping up cash in exchange for planning permission for their tower blocks.

The full report can be downloaded from here.


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  1. Andy P says:

    I live near Lewisham and I cannot see how it is going to be possible to have any major improvements to the train services in the area unless (1) Lewisham station is totally rebuilt (which looks like an aspiration in that artists impression, (2) freight services are somehow rerouted (which is one of the reasons for the lines in the area being so congested) and (3) one, maybe two extra running tracks are somehow squeezed into the area. I suppose for (3) you can improve the signalling, but unlike the stretch of line under the Thames that has just gone semi automated (Thameslink) there are lots of complicated junctions around Lewisham as well. Longer trains would help in the short term. How can you have a rush hour train of only 6 carriages when there is existing capacity for 10-12 carriage trains? The networkers were ok when they were introduced to replace the old slam door stock but that was years ago

  2. James says:

    April Fool?!?

  3. Andrew Gwilt says:

    London Overground could also extend to Abbey Wood to connect with the Elizabeth Line and Southeastern. Other future extensions and improvements on the London Overground includes:

    •Extending the Overground to East Croydon so that you can interchange with Croydon Tramlink and Thameslink/Southern services.
    •Overground could take over the Greenford branch line but in fact Chiltern Railways are likely to operate between West Ealing and Greenford from next year once the Elizabeth Line is fully operational.

    Plus night services to be introduced on the North London Line (Stratford-Richmond/Willesden Junction), West London Line (Willesden Junction-Clapham Junction) and South London Line (Highbury & Islington/Dalston Junction-Clapham Junction) and the extension of the night service on the East London Line to New Cross, West Croydon and Crystal Palace to/from Dalston Junction/Highbury & Islington.

  4. I live in Dalston and getting to some places in South East London can be difficult. Extending the New Cross service to Lewisham would be good. But as Ian says, it will be very difficult to squeeze in.

    Brockley interchange would be a reasonably easy job by comparison and it would give various journey opportnities.

    As to the Overground to Abbey Wood, that is pointless. From December 2018, everybody will change at Whitechapel for Crossrail.

  5. Looking at the rail lines and Lewisham’s ambition to serve Lower Sydenham, could the New Cross branch of the Overground be extended to the bay platform at Neckenham Junction?

    1. The bay platform at Beckenham Junction should be abe to handle four tph.

    2. It would connect Lewisham and Lower Sydenham to Crossrail at Whitechapel , the DLR at Shadwell and the Jubilee Line at Canada Water.

    3. From Dalston, it would get me to valuable connections at Lewisham and to the trams at Beckenham Junction.

    4. Beckenham Junction station would need to be made step-free!

    5. The proposed interchange at Penge might be able to be delayed or forgotten.

  6. Fairy biscuits says:

    I was told we (Lewisham) couldn’t have an underground station because the ground is “too soft”…that’s what I was told anyway!

  7. Melvyn says:

    Given the major redevelopment taking place around Lewisham it seems former Mayor Boris Johnson failed to take any opportunity to upgrade the numerous lines which cross Lewisham with platforms that are not straight and lines crossing without direct interchanges . Doing the work now the area has been redeveloped might be much more difficult,

    As for extension of the Overground well extension from New Cross of East London Line would be possible if sections of South Eastern Railways were transferred to TFL but this has fallen victim to Chris Grayling war with Mayor Khan with Grayling renegading on agreement made by George Osborne when he was Chancellor.

    Brockley is just one of many places where lines cross but Station is only available on one of say two lines or in some places neither given history of Private Victorian railways of building their own station for revenues but actually failing to realise trade available with decent interchange!

  8. Dave says:

    I live in Lewisham, it’s problem is the flat junction to the west of the station. The coming of the Bakerloo line will only highlight it. Don’t know if there’s room for a major rebuild, the Council have allowed a lot apartment blocks to be built near the station in the last few years. Although I would love to see it as a major hub.

    I think an Overground extension from New Cross is a non starter. How about running orange trains from Abbey Wood(Belvedere!?) to Lewisham, Brockley(10tph), Brixton(Vic), Clapham J(all sorts) and possibly Twickeham(CR2). Or via Lewisham and a rebuilt Streatham Common and on to a rebuilt Wimbledon (for Crossrail 2).

    Lines from Sevenoaks, Orpington and the Dartford Loop calling at a Lewisham South station, linked by a 500 metre travelator to the existing station.

    I’m sure TfL would love to square the circle, so to speak. To extend Tramlink at Elmers End to the DLR. Could be done with a bi-mode tram-train that can run on third rail, on the underused Hayes line to a terminal platform above the Bakerloo platforms.

    It’s all conjecture. It’s all going to cost. TfL don’t have the money and I don’t see much coming their way in the future. They have their eye on a Hendon/West Hampstead to Hounslow link first. So we just dream on.

  9. Hayden says:

    If the Carpetright is demolished there will be enough space. And the new platforms woulf be above the bus stand which is possible.

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