Bakerloo Line to Lewisham returns – with Catford route revived

Bakerloo line extension map
The new consultation revives the possibility of a route running to Catford

Transport for London’s plans for a Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham inched forward today with the release of a new consultation into the proposal, which revives the original plan to take the line onto Catford, Beckenham and Hayes.

Today’s consultation, which is open until 22 December, seeks the public’s views on the exact route of the line, names for its two stops on the Old Kent Road, and proposals for where the extension’s construction sites should be. It also names Lewisham Council’s depot at Wearside Road, Ladywell, as the preferred site for the line’s depot. TfL wants the line to be open by 2028 or 2029.

It also seeks views on a further extension to Hayes over the current National Rail line from Ladywell and Catford Bridge, with a branch to Beckenham Junction. Bakerloo services would completely replace the current mainline services, freeing up capacity at Lewisham and on the lines to London Bridge.

The Catford route was proposed when TfL first consulted on the scheme in 2014, but Bromley Council fiercely opposed losing mainline trains at Hayes and the plans were cut back in the second consultation, released in 2017. Now the route is back in the proposal – albeit as a further extension. Siting the depot at Wearside Road should make an extension relatively easy and cheaper to build.

Bromley’s main objection centred on losing direct trains from Hayes to the City of London. However, TfL says that the Department for Transport plans to remove Cannon Street services from the Hayes branch in 2022, replacing them with Victoria trains.

The inclusion of a Catford extension will disappoint Greenwich Council, which – despite the Catford plans being well-known – last year included a suggestion for a Bakerloo Line extension to Charlton Riverside in its draft transport strategy. This strategy has still not been signed off by its cabinet. But Lewisham Council, which has long-term plans to revamp Catford town centre, will be delighted to see the proposal is still alive. An extension to Hayes would also be likely to kickstart plans for homebuilding around Lower Sydenham station, which is in a mainly industrial area.

Other elements of this consultation are likely to prove controversial, though, with public views on worksites at New Cross Gate, Hither Green and Catford being canvassed. TfL’s preferred site is at the Sainsbury’s retail park at New Cross Gate – where the new station would be, which would mean the loss of that retail park. One alternative site would involve destroying the nature reserve at the centre of Hither Green station, the other would take over St Dunstan’s College’s playing fields and the adjacent retail park in Catford.

TfL also plans to abandon part of the existing Bakerloo Line beyond Lambeth North, with a new Elephant and Castle station being built underneath where the shopping centre currently sits – leaving the original 1906 platforms as a ghost station. Until the mid-1970s the station building, still called South London House, was the home of the South London Press.

New stations are planned for the junctions of Old Kent Road and Dunton Road – a possible name could be Burgess Park – and Old Kent Road and Asylum Road. After New Cross Gate, the new Lewisham station would be beneath the current bus yard on Thurston Road. A new entrance would be created beneath a 35-storey tower block on Loampit Vale approved during the summer. A tunnel shaft would be built off Alexandra Cottages, off Lewisham Way, but there are no plans for a station there.

As always, the major stumbling block for the Bakerloo Line extension is money – with Boris Johnson being asked by developers and MPs today to stump up cash towards a scheme he first promoted when he was mayor.

Full details of TfL’s plans can be seen at: consultations.tfl.gov.uk/tube/bakerloo-extension/

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