You cannot help but be cynical any time you hear delays, TfL and a campaign to bring rail or tube travel to Camberwell.
Forgive us for wondering just how far down the tracks this latest proposal will go.
This paper has always been firmly behind plans for tube or train station in Camberwell, other than Denmark Hill.
The closest the area got was dashed in December of 2015 when transport bosses came out in favour of the Old Kent Road route over that of Camberwell.
Camberwell always looks set to be the bridesmaid and never the bride. At the time you could not help but feel it would have been less cruel not to mention SE5 in future tube discussions – every time it happens, hopes are raised, sensible proposals are put forward, and the need for a tube – such as the area having a major hospital and A&E, with thousands of staff and patients – gets aired. All to no avail.
The latest news that a publication of a ‘business case’ for reopening Camberwell’s Railway’s Station has been pushed back yet again by another two months by Transport for London is disappointing, but you can only hope that this delay is because finally they might be taking it seriously.
The case is overwhelming, if only for the huge hospital round the corner serviced only by Denmark Hill. Studies by King’s College Hospital, which receives over one million visits per year, and Maudsley Hospital, clearly showed a need to help staff, patients and visitors get better access. Compared to the average person in London, visitors to King’s were “more than twice as likely to be disabled” and “nearly three times more likely to be 60 years with associated frailties”. Eighty per cent of survey respondents said their poor experiences of travelling to the hospital “acts as a deterrent” to them visiting.
A joint effort from politicians and local campaigners has seen an online petition reach over 1,700 signatures, calling for the revival of the 101-year-old, four-platform station that once ran between Herne Hill and Farringdon. But they need more signatures than that.
Network Rail in March published a report ‘South East Route: Kent Area Route Study, draft for consultation’, including an analysis of the expected level of demand. And Southwark Council are supporting the process by identifying the capacity for additional development in the station’s catchment area (covering both housing and employment) that would improve the viability of the station.
Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman and Dulwich and West Norwood colleague Helen Hayes have been fully behind this latest campaign started by Sophy Tayler, founder of Priority Action for Camberwell Transport (PACT). As we said before, better late than never for Ms Harman, who could and should have acted when her party was in government.
But all this aside it is vital that everyone gets behind this latest campaign. Join the online petition created by PACT, visit www.change.org/p/department-for-transport-re-open-camberwell-railway-station-london-se5 to sign it.