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It's Clapham Junction, but not as we know it.
London's busiest interchange — it witnesses nigh-on 30 million passengers a year — is rarely a beer and skittles kind of experience. Although you often feel like a skittle, as rampaging passengers bowl into you, on the Footbridge From Hell.
All that could be a thing of the past, thanks to new designs from Clapham Junction Futures.
'One of the most congested stations in London'
As one of the most congested stations in London, even more congestion is on the way. Clapham Junction is on the Crossrail 2 route, and although it'll be a while before that sees the light of day, Clapham Junction Futures is billing its designs a 'once in a lifetime' upgrade. As New Civil Engineer reports, the station is expected to have to cater for 25% more passengers by 2031. So you can't really future-proof it enough.
Clapham Junction Futures' plans — drawn up by consultant Mott MacDonald, contractor Laing O'Rourke and architect Hawkins Brown — imagine a station divvied into four sections: Crossrail lines and platforms underground, an 'interchange hub and urban realm' above that (replacing the current hellish footbridge), mainline platforms above these, and a 'development and urban realm' on top.
The current spaghetti of tracks will be 'untangled' (much like they did at London Bridge recently), meaning more trains, better passenger flow, and therefore greater station capacity.
'More than just a station'
Congestion aside, one of the key problems identified with the current Clapham Junction station is how it acts as a divide between local communities north and south of the railway. The plans tackle this by 'opening up' the station, allowing through access via the ground floor concourse, plus green space outside.
A bundle of housing, restaurants, co-working spaces, etc, in and around the proposed station development, mean that this isn't a mere station development, but as Clapham Junction Futures puts it, the opportunity to transform Clapham Junction into a 'major town centre'.
Stressing concern for commuters and local businesses (although time, of course will tell), the design suggests temporary retail units to replace existing amenities, and increased bicycle parking available at the station, encouraging active means of travel to and from the station.
And, as IanVisits reports, the main station entrance would shift sideways to the corner junction, allowing new station sections to be built, while keeping old entrances open in the meantime.
Don't get too excited just yet...
The plans may now be in the public domain, but they're far from settled on. Even if they do get the green light, the development will take around 10 years to complete. (And that's when already factoring in building platforms off-site, to speed up the process.) All the more reason to get cracking.
Oh yes, and the Falcon pub remains untouched. Phew.
All images © Clapham Junction Futures.