On a stretch of disused railway south of Surrey Quays station, engineers are building the final section of the East London line extension: the link to Clapham Junction. Transport for London were kind enough to take us on a trip to the site and show us the work that's going on.
A brief explanation of the project. ELLX phase two (as it's known in engineer-speak) will see a new link, built on an old railway alignment that last saw locomotives in 1911, running from just south of Surrey Quays. The 1.3km stretch of new track will run past the SELCHP incineration plant and Millwall's New Den ground and across a new bridge at Surrey Canal Road, then curve past Bridgehouse Meadows before joining the South London line at Old Kent Road and running into Clapham Junction via several intermediate stops. As part of the project, Platform Two at Clapham Junction, which currently operates as a terminus for trains on the West London line from Stratford and Willesden Junction, will be remodelled to act as a final destination for the Overground trains. The connection will complete the much-ballyhooed outer London orbital railway that the Overground purports to be* — although doing the complete circuit will involve changing at Clapham and Highbury & Islington.
The cost of the project is £75 million, enough to construct the line, lay the track and build the necessary bridges and underpasses, but not enough, unfortunately, to fund the long-planned new station at Surrey Canal Road, which was held up last year after the Department for Transport declined to contribute £7 million of its £10 million cost, despite Lewisham council offering up the spare £3 million. Instead, the project makes passive provision for Surrey Canal Road's future construction, which is likely to happen as part of a new development in the area. Local residents, and Millwall fans, will have to wait until then before getting their shiny new station.
When completed, the new extension will have four trains per hour between Clapham Junction and Dalston Junction or Highbury & Islington. It is scheduled to open in December 2012.
Many thanks to all at Transport for London for arranging this site visit.
All photographs by author unless otherwise stated.
*It's already possible to complete the orbital trip by changing at New Cross Gate; 853 blog did it earlier this year.