Reopen Camberwell Station

*Update September 2018*

Business Plan for Camberwell Railway Station way off track

Just a year later than Sadiq Khan had promised, a preview of the outline business case for reopening Camberwell Train Station was presented by TfL to SE5 Forum’s campaign team: Priority Action for Camberwell Transport (PACT), Southwark Council Councillors and officers, and Helen Hayes MP.

The document delivered two main conclusions:

  • If large numbers of Kent commuters have a slightly longer journey, that ‘disbenefit’ would outweigh the benefits that the station brings to local users of the new station
  • TfL estimated that number of new homes (460) that could be linked to the development is ‘relatively modest’, which would not cover the costs of building a new station.

So what does this mean?

Much to the disappointment of campaigners and local elected members, TfL are now pulling back from any further efforts to develop the case for re-opening Camberwell Railway station. Remaining options still in the mix are ‘enhanced buses’ and ‘walking and cycling interventions’. 

Whilst these may indeed improve public transport options for local residents, they pale in comparison in terms of what a new station could deliver.

Frustratingly, and somewhat surprisingly, the standard methodology used to reach these conclusions doesn’t consider how improved transport links help specifically with healthcare.

A key area of focus for the campaign is the fact that Camberwell is home to two world renowned hospitals - King's College and Maudsley - as well as the Denmark Hill campus of King's College London. There are a combined total of around 10,000 staff working from these sites makes them the largest employers in the area. 

In 2016/17 King's College alone booked approximately 950,000 outpatient appointments and this is set to increase year on year. That's nearly 1 million people requiring access to Camberwell without even considering the support of friends and family that many people need when accessing healthcare, or visitors of patients who require a stay in hospital.

And no further supporting work was done to explore this.

Local Support

Despite the latest setback to campaigners, our local elected representatives are firm in their resolve to continue to fight for the reopening of the station.

Helen Hayes MP who, along with Harriet Harman, has been vocal at a local and national level in her support, comments: "It is very disappointing that the business case does not appear to have given any weight to the critical transport issues facing staff at Kings and the Maudsley.

"This is a serious flaw in the government’s methodology which means that the business case for Camberwell Station must be reconsidered."

Councillor Johnson Situ, Cabinet member for Growth, Development and Planning, has committed Southwark Council to provide an audit of the economic case in the TfL document. 

He said: "We are disappointed that TfL’s report fails to support re-opening Camberwell’s station, particularly as the modelling used to form the business case only looks at the general population use and fails to takes into account that the station would serve two extremely busy hospitals in the area – King’s and South London and Maudsley.

"We firmly believe that including the use of the station by hospital visitors would make a significant difference to the outcome of the business model, and it should be reviewed. I have also asked council officers to undertake an audit of the economic base for the station re-opening.

“This part of London remains woefully underserved by the rail networks. Camberwell and its residents risk being left behind and reliant on the slower and sometimes less direct bus service. But this is not the end of the battle and I intend to meet with Network Rail at the earliest opportunity to look at options for taking this forward. We will continue to work with local campaigners, to fight for a better transport system for the people of Camberwell.

“I would like to thank all the local people and groups who have thrown themselves behind this campaign so far and assure them, and residents in Camberwell, that will we continue to work with them to push for improvements that will benefit them and the local area.”

Whilst TfL's decision is certainly a setback, campaigners are resolved to continue to fight for a much-needed station for Camberwell's residents, and visitors and staff of Camberwell's two world class hospitals.

Sophy Tayler, PACT campaigner, said: "All parties need to continue to work together and put this business case back on track." 

She adds: "Just look what TfL’s own consultants, Mott MacDonald, have said in their 2017 report about so called disbenefit - ‘It could be argued that in reality the time penalty of an extra stop would not be noticed by existing users.

"And the reality in Camberwell is that nobody believes that ‘enhanced buses’ gives us a credible alternative. It’s the business case that needs enhancing not the buses. It must be revised so that it is robust, complete and addresses the concerns raised in the meeting."

You can access the outline business case here: https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/camberwell-station-business-case 

The campaign to reopen Camberwell Station may well have been delayed.... but certainly not derailed.

If you would like to become involved in the campaign then sign-up to the Southwark CAN website and make sure you tick the 'Camberwell Station' box in the 'Interests' column. You will receive updates and information about how the campaign, as well as ways in which you can get involved. Alternatively you can email engage@communitysouthwark.org.


*Update June 2018*

After hundreds of hours of volunteer effort, thousands of signatures for the parliamentary petition supporting Camberwell Railway Station were delivered by Harriet Harman MP and Helen Hayes MP to the Department for Transport.

They met with Jo Johnson MP, who is Minister for Rail - taking the message right to the top on the 20th June.

The actual business case has yet to be published so this is a chance for us to shape the political agenda!

Read Southwark News' coverage here.


*Update May 2018*

A bit of movement at last!

Supporters of reopening Camberwell Station donned anti-pollution masks at Camberwell Green on Saturday 5th of May to highlight air pollution levels that are twice the legal EU limit in the centre of Camberwell. As anyone who has travelled through Camberwell will know traffic is a major source of air pollution in the area, and reopening the Camberwell railway station could provide a cleaner transport alternative.

There have been several FOI requests submitted to TFL in recent months and local group SE5 Forum for Camberwell has now won access to studies showing clean air is not a priority in TFL’s analysis of the benefit of reopening the station (see the documents referenced in February's update).

Photo courtesy of Southwark News

The studies also suggest the train service would provide a time saving of 15 minutes for those travelling from Camberwell to Elephant and Castle. Users already on the train would experience an average delay of only 42 seconds (and only on those trains that stopped at Camberwell). The study says that this change “arguably… would not be noticed by existing users”.

Campaigners are now demanding a say in the economic and social assessment of the local benefits that they believe TFL’s business case should provide. They say the 36-page report TfL commissioned to cover ‘economic appraisal and wider impacts assessment’ does not mention Camberwell’s hospitals or the particular needs of patients, staff and visitors in relation to transport; it also fails to take into account the growing local population, new housing developments and five redevelopment areas, all of which would benefit from the station; and that it does not consider the area’s future, if it continues to suffer poor transport, poor air quality and challenges, in attracting and growing local business.

Campaigners will now aim to convince Minister of State for Transport Jo Johnson that using the train rather than cars and buses will improve local air quality. They are briefing local MPs Harriet Harman and Helen Hayes, who will hand a 2000-signature petition to reopen the Camberwell station to the Transport Minister on 15th May.

You can read Southwark News' coverage of the protest here.

Check back for an update about outcome of the ministerial meeting!


*Update April 2018*

Starting to feel a bit like Groundhog Day...


*Update February 2018*

An enterprising Camberwell resident had recently become a bit fed up with the lack of progression on the part of TFL, Southwark council and Network Rail in their attempts to come up with a business case for the reopening of Camberwell Station so took matters into her own hands...

Below you can see the result of an FOI request she submitted. According to the response the business case will be published any day now... We shall see!

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I would be grateful if you can:

1) Provide details of any documents commissioned and produced to inform the business case document for Camberwell Railway Station, including links to the documents where these are public, since 2012.

2) Provide an update on the progress, and expected publication date, for the business case for reopening Camberwell Railway Station.

Response:

Since 2012 TfL has commissioned the following studies to help inform the business case for reopening Camberwell Railway Station:

- South London (Camberwell) Stations Report (July 2014)

- Camberwell Station Re-instatement Economic appraisal (July 2017)

- Camberwell Station Reopening Railplan Strategic Transport Modelling Report (September 2017)

None of these documents are in the public domain, so links cannot be provided

The final Business Case for reopening Camberwell station remains under review by TfL, the GLA, the London Borough of Southwark and Network Rail. We will publish the document as soon as this review is concluded which is expected to be around mid February 2018.


*Update September 2017*

Find out what the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thinks of the chances of reopening Camberwell Station by clicking here.


*Update August 2017*

Today a cake... tomorrow a station! This past Saturday (5th August) campaigners gathered for the Great Cake Event at Brunswick Park Fete in order to raise awareness about the ongoing campaign to reopen Camberwell Station. And boy did it live up to expectation!

After a rather wet start the team began assembling and decorating the cake (the largest many had ever seen) and you can see the rather delicious results below! 

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Local ward Councillor Tom Flynn also attended proceedings and spent time talking with campaigners and residents who were signing the petition.

Speaking of which we managed to secure an extra 250 signatures from attendees of the fete bringing the total number to well over 1000 physical signatures. These will be presented to Parliament by local MPs Harriet Harman and Helen Hayes.

So What next?

Whilst much fun was had by all there was a serious point to be made on Saturday. We need to maintain as much momentum as possible behind this campaign and events like this serve to highlight the growing local support of reopening the station. TFL, Network Rail and Sadiq Khan need to listen!

Campaigners will spend the following Monday delivering a slice of the action to various stakeholders and politicians. The last stop will be the Mayors Office, who will also receive this open letter.

Southwark Council is currently working with TFL and Network Rail to develop a business case which will be published in September.

Read below for more details about the campaign to reopen Camberwell Station and find out how you can get involved!

Priority Action For Camberwell Transport would like to thank SE5 Forum for Camberwell, MJW Ltd for their sponsorship, and Bright Printers & Stationers for helping out with the cost of the leaflets.

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Campaign to reopen Camberwell Station - Act Now!

In 2014 TFL launched a consultation on proposals to extend the Bakerloo Line beyond elephant and Castle. They offered two options: to extend the route through Camberwell or up to Lewisham (via the Old Kent Road). After receiving a whopping 15,346 responses (96% of which supported the Bakerloo line being extended) the decision was made to focus on the OKR route - not surprising after it was designated as an opportunity area.

The decision came as a blow to local campaign group Peckham and Camberwell Transport (PACT) who had undertaken hours and hours of hard graft drumming up support for the Camberwell option (64% of respondents to the consultation supported it as opposed to 48% for the OKR route) and highlighting the needs of the local community. 

But all is not lost! Out of the ashes a new idea was born - a significant alternative to the underground extension that would simultaneously relieve pressure on Camberwell's overwhelmed transport network and improve access to two of the busiest hospitals in the London. Another option was put forward in the consultation that proposed the reopening of the Thameslink station situated, unsurprisingly, on station road!

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So What can you do?

At the moment a group of people, including local politicians (headed by the Chair of Camberwell Community Council Kieron Williams), the SE5 Forum and Community Southwark, are working on the best way to take the campaign forward. But we need as many Southwark residents to get behind it as possible.

Sign-up

If you would like to become involved in the campaign then sign-up to the Southwark CAN website and make sure you tick the 'Camberwell Station' box in the 'Interests' column. You will receive updates and information about how the campaign, as well as ways in which you can get involved. Alternatively you can email engage@communitysouthwark.org.

Sign up here.

Online Petition

It’s time for the Department of Transport to support TfL and Network Rail, in re-opening Camberwell Railway Station, on behalf of Camberwell residents, and all Londoners.

Sign the online petition here - don't forget to share it as well!

Physical Petition

Planning on heading down to your local for a couple of pints this evening? Or are you heading out to the local library? If you have a spare couple of minutes we'd love you to print out the petition and gather a few signatures.

Alternatively just get in touch and we can send you over a few sheets. Please note: The key thing to remember when collecting signatures is that we can only use originals, no photocopies are permissible, and only sheets with ‘the petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to re-open Camberwell Station, London’ at the top of the page, to prove that the signatories knew what they were signing. Full home addresses must be collected with each name.

Once you have collected signatures you can drop off the petition at SE5 Forum's market stall (every Saturday at Camberwell Green between 10am-2pm) or drop it into Cambridge House, 1 Addington Square, SE5 0HF (FAO Robert Jamieson).

You can download petition here. 

Leaflet

We have produced a little leaflet in order to raise awareness about the campaign.

It would be great if the next time you are going to get your hair cut, or are grabbing a coffee, you could ask the proprietor to stick the leaflet in the shop window. It is vital for local businesses to get on board and this will be a lot easier with your help!

You can download the A5 version here and the A4 version here.

 

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Pressure on Existing Public Transport

Camberwell is home to two world renowned hospitals - King's College and Maudsley - as well as the Denmark Hill campus of King's College London. There are a combined total of around 10,000 staff working from these sites makes them the largest employers in the area. 

In 2016/17 King's College alone expects to have booked around 950,000 outpatient appointments and this is set to increase year on year. That's nearly 1 million people requiring access to Camberwell without even considering the support of friends and family that many people need when accessing healthcare, or visitors of patients who require a stay in hospital.

As for Maudsley their (nearly) 5000 staff serve a local population of 1.3 million people. They provide inpatient care for just shy of 4,000 people each year and treat more than 60,000 patients in the local community.

Despite the scale of healthcare delivery and teaching that is taking place in Camberwell, it is not part of the London Underground network and is only served by one railway station. This leaves patients, staff, students and visitors heavily reliant on bus services, including those that run via Walworth Road which has significant traffic congestion problems (anyone travelling on a 176 down to the Elephant at 5pm will knwo what we mean). Journey times to the hospital sites from Elephant and Castle, the southern end point of the Bakerloo line, can be as much as 30 minutes due to the volume of traffic.

Trains are at full capacity during rush hour and people often experience difficulty boarding as this is currently the only route
into central London and beyond aside from the bus services.

It is evident that more is needed.

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Political Will

There is an alliance forming in Southwark that is pushing for Camberwell Station to be reopened. At the head of a long line of individuals and local groups that support the campaign are the borough's politicians. Helen Hayes and Harriet Harman recently sent a letter to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling asking for a meeting to discuss future plans for the station.

The letter (which you can read about here) said: “The reopening of the station would come as much needed relief to residents of Camberwell, who have suffered from poor transport links for years, especially following the disappointment of the proposal for the Bakerloo Line extension to only serve Old Kent Road, and with the ongoing disruption to Southern Rail services."

Harriet Harman has also lent her support to a Parliamentary petition (which you can see below) requesting that the House of Commons urges the Government to re-open the station.

At a local level Southwark council have also been very supportive of the scheme and are currently working with TFL on a Strategic Outline Business Case, which is likely to be completed in May. This business case will outline whether TFL and Network Rail believe that the project is feasible.

Peter John, in his role as Leader of Southwark Council and Camberwell Councillor, is particularly keen to see a railway station come to Camberwell. He has even gone as far as to say: "We will not rest until we have a reopened Train Station in Camberwell."

Southwark Council have also included the site of the old station in their list of proposed development sites as part of the New Southwark Plan, stating that redevelopment of the site must: "Provide a new station at Camberwell with an exit to the east and west of the railway viaduct."

We can also go as far as stating that the campaign has cross-party support. Boris Johnson (when Mayor of London) stated that: “Initial feasibility indicates it would be possible to construct a modern station at this location if timetable changes could be made to accommodate an extra stop."

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History of Station

Camberwell Station shut its doors to passengers 101 years ago, and has since been reclaimed by nature.

It was opened in October 1862 by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LC&DR) as part of the company's ambitious "second London railway." In May 1863 the name was changed to Camberwell New Road but in October 1908 reverted to Camberwell.

As with many other London stations during World War I, wartime restraints forced it to close to passenger traffic in April 1916. Before the outbreak of war, the station had suffered dwindling passenger usage following the introduction of electric tram services in the area. It remained in use for goods traffic until April 1964.

Today, the original station building located on the west side of Camberwell Station Road is in use as a converted mechanic's garage. At track level, nothing of the two side platforms remain but small fragments of the degraded island platform are still visible. The goods yard is now occupied by a residential development.

To find out more click here.

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