The Brown Line Cometh: What's The Preferred Bakerloo Line Extension Option?

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 31 months ago
The Brown Line Cometh: What's The Preferred Bakerloo Line Extension Option?
The trains will be nicer than this by 2030. Photo by taigatrommelchen from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Transport for London is moving along with its early plans to extend the Bakerloo line into south east London. The results of a public consultation are out and it's possible to see some early thinking about routes.

The options are:

  • Extend to Hayes and Beckenham Junction via Old Kent Road
  • Extend to Hayes and Beckenham Junction via Camberwell and Peckham Rye
  • Terminate at Lewisham
  • Extend to Hayes and Bromley via Beckenham Junction

More people prefer the Camberwell/Peckham option but support for both is still high. More people would want the line to run past Lewisham than terminate there and there's decent backing for a tunnel to Bromley.

The Old Kent Road route would give faster journey times; this shorter route would also be cheaper to build. OKR is also a City Hall designated Opportunity Area (for homes and general economic growth) so there may well be more political will to route the extension that way. TfL also seems to (justifiably, in our view) believe a new rail link will remove some of the current traffic congestion. Reading between the lines, Camberwell and Peckham may be disappointed.

Photo by Luke Agbaimoni from the Londonist Flickr pool

One thing that will probably make some people unhappy is the conversion of what's currently a national rail line between Hayes and Lewisham to run only tube services. People living in West Wickham, Elmers End and Ladywell would have to get used to trains running via Elephant and Castle and do without their direct services to London Bridge and Cannon Street. A more than doubling of service frequency should help them get over it, however.

There's also a positive knock-on effect: trains taken off the Hayes line could be redeployed elsewhere around the Southeastern network. But all of this also depends on TfL having enough money to convert the line; the extension may well initially terminate at Lewisham, causing Hayes-dwellers to be tubeless even longer.

TfL also received around 4,500 comments (out of a total of over 15,000) "regarding other options or routes", which we like to think were mainly along the lines of 'Lewisham sucks, take it past my house instead'.

Of course, there's no actual money in place yet to build anything; and even if/when it is, the tube won't be in south east London until at least 2030.

Last Updated 11 September 2015


There's no need for people residing on the Hayes line to worry. Journey times to London Bridge would be shorter, and of course trains more frequent. I wrote about this in January.

James Guppy

Why can't they build a branch line - and split it from Camberwell (for example)? Cost?

Greg Tingey

By the time it is built IF it is built, the existing trains on the Hayes line will be knackered ....
OKR is a transport black hole at the moment so should be the route.

Also see "London Reconnections" for a full & in-depth discussion.


Charlie Smith

Why can't they extend the tube via Lewisham going through Eltham, Bexleyheath, Bexley, Sidcup? It would drastically improve connections in the area and Bromley already have good train links into London, our trains are busy enough during rush hour adding these lines would ease the congestion while also improving travel in the local area...


I live in Camberwell and would be perfectly happy with the tube going via OKR. Bus connections from Camberwell are already very good - can get pretty much anywhere in Central within about 45 mins. If they could somehow re-open Camberwell train station, on the other hand...