An early warning of significant rail closure affecting parts of South London, affecting both Southeastern and London Overground passengers.

Recent work at the North Kent East Junction (c) Network Rail

For ten days, from Saturday 23rd December to Monday 1st January – as well as several weekends before and after – the line between Herne Hill, Brixton and London Victoria will be closed, and other Southeastern services will be diverted into either Blackfriars, Cannon Street or Charing Cross.

Over the same period, buses will replace London Overground trains between Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction.

In addition to the 10-day closure over Christmas, there will be closures on the weekend ahead of Christmas – on 16th and 17th December 2023, and again on 6th and 7th, and 13th and 14th January 2024.

Standard rail map for the area with affected lines removed

The closure is because Network Rail needs to rebuild a busy and critical rail junction between Clapham and Wandsworth that controls the movement of Southeastern and London Overground services in the area.

Over the 10-day period, engineers will replace 14 sets of switches and crossings – the moveable sections of track that guide trains from one track to another – with new, more reliable equipment; lay more than 1,600 metres of new track and 1,000 metres of conductor rail, use 10,000 tonnes of ballast and install 2,600 new sleepers.

When lines are closed Network Rail will also use this time to progress work on the installation of a new signalling system on the lines from Herne Hill and Nunhead into London Victoria. The new system will replace the existing 1980s signalling and will come into use over Christmas next year.

Drainage repairs, track maintenance and inspections will also be carried out during this time to maximise the amount of work that can be completed while the railway is closed.

David Davidson, Network Rail Kent route director, said: “The work we are doing to the track is one of the biggest projects we’ve delivered over the past five years, a truly massive undertaking involving hundreds of operatives, one Kirov crane, 22 engineering trains and 413 wagons carrying thousands of tonnes of materials.

“We’ll make the most of the time when the railway is closed by doing as much work as possible, including progressing the next phase of our Victoria and south London signalling upgrades that will see a brand-new signalling system on the lines from Herne Hill and Nunhead to London Victoria come into use next Christmas.

“We know there is never a good time to close the railway, but lines are significantly quieter over the Christmas period and by doing the work over consecutive days we can also minimise disruption to passengers by getting it done in one go, rather than working over a long series of weekends.”


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  1. Marco says:

    I’ve worked for a rail company for almost 30 years and I can’t fathom what makes that particular junction and associated tracks from Clapham Junction all the way to Surrey Quays such a magnet for disruption. It has had more closures at weekends and holidays than any other stretch of track in the country apart from the collapsed bridge on the Oxford Line – and nobody in the industry has been able to explain why. It’s a busy junction, and it carries some very heavy freight traffic at all hours – so wear and tear is going to be high – but so exceptional as to have 9 weekend closures this year (three consecutive weekends this month alone) and now this almost endless string of further closures into the new year.

    Brunel built the entire GWR in less time than it’s taken to “maintain” this one stretch of line. If the London Assembly gave a crap about it’s responsibilities instead of only caring if political advantage can be had they would call Network Rail/TfL in to answer just why the Orbital Overground Routes have to be so heavily maintained at the expense of in service hours and what they are doing to minimise the problems and actually run a bloody weekend service……for a change.

    • George says:

      Absolutely. Queens Road Peckham is my station. Might as well live in the countryside, the service is appalling.

  2. Matt Sawyer says:

    Queens Road POOR? 4 Southerns and 4 Overgrounds an hour?

  3. J says:

    Any idea which contractor is doing the work? Colas? Balfour?

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