So, the good news is: Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed long-awaited plans for a southward extension of the Bakerloo line.
The bad news is: in doing so, it’s ruled out the extra station campaigners had been pushing for, and is still ignoring suggestions for a frankly amazing set of station names.
Plans to extend the Bakerloo have been dribbling along for some time now. It’s the odd one out on the existing network because, while most lines extend from central London in both directions, the Bakerloo runs all the way to zone 5 in the north but never leaves zone 1 in the south. (The Jubilee once did much the same, and that was extended 20 years ago.) Its southern terminus also lies at the edge of the great south London tube and rail desert: an area between the Northern line, Bermondsey and Peckham which lies within a couple of miles of central London but is a right pain in the bum to get to.
The great tube and rail desert. Inside the yellow box, there are basically no stations in walking distance. Image: Google Maps/CityMetric.
And so, there is both motive and opportunity for this project: the line isn’t already full, and an extension would go somewhere useful. What’s more, the Old Kent Road has a fair amount of land where you could put more houses, which new tube stations would unlock. This, one suspects, is the reason that the New Cross Gate/Lewisham got approved, rather than the Camberwell/Peckham one.
So here’s a very vague map of phase 1:
Phase 1. Image: TfL.
The two “Old Kent Road” stops are not very usefully named, and the map is unhelpfully vague. But they would, TfL, says, be at (1) the junction between Dunton Road and Humphrey Street, and (2) the junction with Asylum Road.
The tube/rail desert, with the rough location of the new stations marked. Image: Google Maps.
If it goes ahead, TfL claims, it’ll open by 2029, and help create 25,000 new homes and 5,000 new jobs. Phase two would swallow the Catford and Hayes line, currently operated by Southeastern.
This is all brilliant, isn’t it? It’s brilliant, and frankly anyone from any other British city would be well within their rights to punch any Londoner that whined about it.
But whining about London’s world-class transport system is what this entire website was built on and I’m not going to stop now, and if that induces a certain amount of punching I guess I’ll just have to accept it. And also, this week, Southwark council sent me this map, illustrating its own version of the plan and it’s just... better:
Ahhhh. Image: LB Southwark.
There are two reasons I prefer this. One is that extra station, Bricklayers Arms. TfL says this isn’t necessary, on the grounds it’s within a few minutes’ walk of both Elephant & Castle and Borough.
But while that’s true, and I’m sure they’ve run the numbers and stuff, it’s worth noting that the Bricklayers Arms is only a mile from the City and under two from Westminster and the West End. This would be a great spot to increase population density, so we should maybe build the transport capacity that would enable you to do that.
The other reason that this map is better is the names. None of these “Old Kent Road 1 (TBC) nonsense. Instead we get Burgess Park and Asylum. And how can you not want there to be a tube station called Asylum?
Here’s another map of this proposed extension, courtesy of the Back The Bakerloo campaign website:
Southwark council has pledged to continue fighting TfL for the extra station. We shall see.