A “business case” for reopening Camberwell’s old railway station, produced by Transport for London, is due to be published in June.
It is the first solid indication that authorities are working together on the long-touted proposals.
A joint effort from politicians and local campaigners has seen an online petition reach nearly 1,000 signatures, calling for the revival of the 101-year-old, four-platform station that once ran between Herne Hill and Farringdon.
Network Rail in March published a report ‘South East Route: Kent Area Route Study, draft for consultation’, which said: “TfL is now leading a review of the business case for the new station, including an analysis of the expected level of demand.
“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.
“Network Rail is working with TfL and Southwark council on the business case analysis and associated timetable modelling which is expected to be commissioned once the initial business case has been completed.”
It continues to say that the old station’s platforms were only designed for eight-coach trains, and would need to be extended to cater twelve-coach trains used today. The petition to reopen the station was started by Sophy Tayler, founder of Priority Action for Camberwell Transport (PACT). Sophy said: “I personally would love to have more transport options here. I have had traffic accidents and I’m put off cycling, so it would be nice.
“When we saw the Bakerloo Line opportunity a couple of years back, and the potential for a tube station, we wanted to make sure TfL recognised the need in our particular area.
“So it was disappointing that it was chosen to go down the Old Kent Road, where there was more development opportunity. But TfL said they would look at making a business case for reopening Camberwell Station as a consolation.”
Studies with King’s College Hospital, which receives over one million visits per year, and Maudsley Hospital, also 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.
Kieron Williams, Labour councillor for Camberwell Green, said that TfL “had been very positive” on pushing the case along.
“Camberwell has fantastic bus services but we also have very over-congested roads, and we need to be able to get people into the jobs market in areas south of the borough and in the city centre,” Cllr Williams said.
Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “Camberwell is poorly served by quick public transport links into central London and beyond, which is why we strongly support the re-opening of Camberwell station. We are working with local residents to make the case to government and Network Rail that this station must be re-opened. This is also backed up by our own work to increase housing and job opportunities in and around the Camberwell area.”
Local MPs Helen Hayes and Harriet Harman have also been banging the drum for Camberwell Station’s return.
Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman on April 24 asked the government “what plans he has to re-open Camberwell Station on the Thameslink Line”, and was told by junior minister MP Paul Maynard that the government “will support proposals for new stations where these are commercially and operationally viable”.
Matthew Yates, TfL’s Head of Transport Planning and Projects, said: “We are working with Southwark Council and Network Rail to produce a business case looking at reopening the Camberwell Thameslink station. One of the key things we need to assess is future public transport needs and demand to determine if the project should be taken forward. We anticipate the business case will be complete in mid-June.”
Visit www.change.org/p/department-for-transport-re-open-camberwell-railway-station-london-se5 to sign the petition.