Clapham Junction railway station
- "Clapham Junction" redirects here. For other uses, see Clapham Junction (disambiguation)
is in Battersea
in the London Borough of Wandsworth
. It is located at St John's Hill in the south-west of Battersea, in an area now commonly known as Clapham Junction (now a major centre in the London Plan
); a reflection of the influence the station has upon its locality. Several suburban lines funnel through Clapham Junction en route to London's two busiest termini, Waterloo
By throughput Clapham Junction is claimed to be the busiest railway station in Britain, and even in Europe, though it is far less highly ranked by the standard measure of journeys originated at the station, as most passengers pass straight through. It is the busiest station in the UK by the number of interchanges, which accounts for 2/5 of activity at the station.
All services to Waterloo
, and many services to Victoria
and the Croydon
stations pass through the junction; these include South West Trains
, Gatwick Express
services. Services from Clapham Junction also head north along the West London Line
, through West Brompton
and Kensington (Olympia)
, on to Willesden Junction
services) and Watford Junction
(Southern services). Services from Brighton to Manchester pass through on a scarce appearance heading up past Kensington (Olympia) (CrossCountry
The typical off-peak (1300hrs) service from the station is: (tph = trains per hour)
- 35 tph to London Waterloo
- 22 tph to London Victoria
- 1 tph to Alton
- 1 tph stopping to Basingstoke
- 1 tph to Bognor Regis (via Horsham)
- 2 tph to Brighton
- 2 tph to Caterham (via Norbury)
- 2 tph to Chessington South
- 1 tph to Dorking (via Sutton & Epsom)
- 2 tph to Dorking (via Wimbledon)
- 2 tph to East Grinstead
- 1 tph to Epsom Downs (via Norbury)
- 2 tph to Epsom (via Hackbridge)
- 1 tph to Epsom (via Norbury)
- 2 tph to Guildford (via Cobham)
- 2 tph to Guildford (via Epsom)
- 2 tph to Hampton Court
- 1 tph to Haslemere
- 1 tph to Horsham (via Sutton & Epsom)
- 2 tph to Littlehampton (via Hove & Worthing)
- 2 tph to London Bridge (via Crystal Palace)
- 2 tph to London Waterloo (via Hounslow & Richmond)
- 2 tph to London Waterloo (via Kingston & Richmond)
- 2 tph to London Waterloo (via Richmond & Hounslow)
- 2 tph to London Waterloo (via Richmond & Kingston)
- 1 tph to Ore via Bexhill and Hastings
- 2 tph to Poole
- 1 tph to Portsmouth Harbour
- 1 tph to Portsmouth Harbour (via Horsham)
- 2 tph to Reading
- 2 tph to Shepperton
- 2 tph to Sutton (via Norbury)
- 1 tph to Watford Junction
- 2 tph to West Croydon (via Crystal Palace)
- 2 tph to Weybridge (via Hounslow & Staines)
- 2 tph to Weymouth
- 2 tph to Willesden Junction
- 2 tph to Windsor & Eton Riverside
- 2 tph stopping to Woking
- 1 tph to Yeovil Junction
- 2 tph to Southampton Central (via Horsham)
- 121 tph in total (about 7.5 per platform). If each train spends under three minutes in a platform, each platform will be occupied for less than half of any given hour, meaning that the station is not quite at capacity.
The station has 16 active platforms, numbered 2 to 17, and arranged in two groups. These are platforms 2-7 (which are a northern group oriented in a west-south-westerly direction) and platforms 7-17 which form a southern group and are oriented in a south-westerly direction. The groups are separated by a number of sidings which run into railway sheds, located at the west of the station.
Services to the platforms are as follows:
- Platform 1, the northernmost platform, is no longer used, having no rails; portable buildings have been sited at the north-east end, and a portable building and power or signalling equipment housings at the south-west end. If the planned East London Line extension gets to Clapham Junction, it is possible that platform 1 would be used for the purpose.
- Platform 2 is for the West London Line to Willesden Junction.
- 3 and 4 are the Waterloo bound platforms on the Windsor line. Services from these platforms also stop at Queenstown Road (Battersea) and Vauxhall.
- 5 and 6 are the suburban Waterloo-Reading line platforms. Platform 5 is usually for stopping trains on the Hounslow Loop Line and stopping services to Weybridge and Teddington (via Richmond). Platform 6 is usually for fast trains to Windsor and Eton Riverside and Reading. During peak periods fast services to Shepperton (calling at Putney, Richmond and Twickenham) also call at platform 6.
- 7 and 8 are for express trains to Waterloo from the South West mainline, calling at Waterloo only. These platforms are used infrequently.
- Platform 9 is for the South West mainline to all mainline destinations operated by South West Trains.
- Platform 10 is for South West Trains suburban services (via Wimbledon) towards Waterloo, calling at Vauxhall. This platform has the most stopping trains per hour towards London Waterloo (16 per hour).
- Platform 11 is for South West Trains suburban services via Wimbledon to Guildford, Woking, Strawberry Hill, Shepperton, Hampton Court, Dorking and Chessington South.
- Platform 12 is for fast trains on the Brighton mainline to London Victoria.
- Platform 13 is the Brighton mainline southbound platforms to all destinations. All trains from this platform usually call at East Croydon.
- Platform 14 is the Victoria bound platform for suburban services on the Brighton Mainline.
- Platform 15 is the southbound platform for Southern suburban services towards Sutton, Epsom, Caterham, West Croydon, London Bridge, Horsham and Dorking.
- Platform 16 is for services towards Willesden Junction and Watford Junction.
- Platform 17 is infrequently used for services towards Brighton, and for some morning peak services to Watford Junction and Kensington Olympia.
The main entrance is from St. John's Hill, into a subway some 15 ft (4.6 m) wide running transversely beneath the eastern end of the 17 platforms, and on to a northern exit, which has restricted opening hours. The subway becomes very crowded during the morning and evening rush hours: ticket barriers at the end are a particular pinch point.
A covered footbridge connects the platforms at their western end. In contrast with the width of the subway, parts of the footbridge are vast, but unfortunately the footbridge does not provide entry to or exit from the station. Network Rail announced in 2007 a package of improvements to access at Clapham Junction, including re-opening the Brighton Yard entrance on St Johns Hill and installing lifts to the platforms; the scheme is due for completion in 2009.
The station has limited pay-for-use toilet facilities; drinks and confectionery kiosks in the underpass, the overpass, and on some platforms; and a small shopping centre forming the St. John's Hill entrance.
In the recent past, in part because of the large number of platforms and trains, the station was confusing for those unfamiliar with it, who often found it difficult to establish from which platform a particular train would run. In 2003 a reasonably extensive system of electronic train information displays was installed at the entrance, in the subway and on platforms. In May 2004, the ticket machines
were moved and reduced in number from six to four, only two of which take credit cards, and all of which are prone to frequent breakdown - this prompted a significant number of complaints from customers, leading to reinstallation of the two removed machines in winter 2004. There are seven staffed ticket kiosk windows, but purchasing tickets in the morning rush hour, and from time to time through the day, tends to involve a lengthy delay. In March 2005, work began to alter the layout of the travel centre and to install a set of eight new ticket machines; these were installed in April 2006. Only two of these machines accept cash payments; the excessive queueing times for these has also provoked complaints.
Busiest station claims
Clapham Junction has claimed to being the busiest railway station in the United Kingdom
, and on 17 June 2005
changed its signage and claim, to be the busiest in Europe
. Some 2,000 trains pass though it each day, the majority of which stop.
The station is named Clapham Junction because it forms the junction of a number of major rail lines. The name is not shared by any actual rail junction in the locality of the station. The names of the nearby rail junctions are:
- Falcon Jn (at the south end of the station, where the West London Line (WLL) joins the Brighton Slow Lines)
- Ludgate GW Jn (at the eastern end of the Windsor Line platforms with the WLL and the London, Chatham and Dover Railway)
- Latchmere Jns (where the three curves join the WLL)
- West London Jn (the junction where Eurostar empty stock leaves the Windsor Lines to get onto the WLL)
- Pouparts Jn (where the low level and high level approaches to Victoria split)
Prior to the railway age,the area was rural and specialised in the growing of lavender
used in the production of perfume
; the hill to the east of the station is called Lavender Hill
. The coach
road from London to Guildford
passed slightly to the south of the location of the station, passing a public house
called The Falcon
at a crossroads
in the valley
between St. John's and Lavender Hill.
The 19th century saw the rapid development of the railway system. The first railway through the area was the London and Southampton Railway, opened in 1838. That railway terminated at Nine Elms, near Vauxhall, about 2 km (1 mile) to the north east of the Clapham Junction site, and made no provision for a station at the site of the (by now renamed) Falcon pub.
A second railway line, from Nine Elms to Richmond, opened in 1846, a third serving Vauxhall in 1848, and a fourth in 1860. Railways running through the area now served the centre of London, at Victoria and Waterloo; the affluent west of London - places like West Brompton and Earls Court; Watford Junction and connections north; Croydon, Crystal Palace and other parts of South London; Guildford, Richmond and places west; Southampton and places south-west; and Brighton and places south. This being the case, the London and South Western Railway determined to build an interchange station, choosing the Falcon crossroads and the point at which the Windsor lines and South-western main line separated from the Brighton line.
The station was opened in 1863 as a joint venture of the London & South Western Railway, whose trains served the northern platforms, and the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, whose trains served the southern platforms. Additional station buildings were erected in 1874 and 1876.
At the time of the construction of the station, Battersea was mostly associated with industry and poor working people. Clapham, a mile to the east of the site, was a longer-established and entirely more fashionable village and so the railway companies, which sought to attract a middle and upper class clientele, decided to adopt the grander of the two names.
The station precipitated the development of the area around it, with the population rising from 6,000 people in 1840 to 168,000 by 1910. In 1885 Arding and Hobbs Department Store was built, and after a 1909 fire was rebuilt to include the landmark cupola. Refurbishment rebranded the store with the parent company Allders name, but some of the original Arding and Hobbs signs were retained. Allders went into liquidation at the start of 2005 and Arding and Hobbs is now part of the Debenhams chain. The cupola is illuminated at night.
On 11 November 1974 the owner of the "Pram Shop" at the station was found stabbed to death. The crime remains unsolved.
In 2005, Wandsworth Council deputy Labour group leader, Councillor Tony Belton, suggested that the station be renamed 'Battersea Junction', as the station is actually in Battersea, and quite a distance from Clapham
Clapham rail disaster
Clapham Junction — in fact, a point just slightly south-west of the station — was the scene of a railway accident involving two collisions between three commuter trains on the morning of 12 December 1988. Thirty-five people died and more than 100 were injured. The accident was caused by a signal relay wiring fault as a result of poor workmanship. A signal was displaying an incorrect aspect. A driver noticed this error and stopped his train to report it, and the train behind ran through the faulty signal and collided with the rear of the stationary train. A third empty train then collided with the wreckage.
London Underground Future
In the 2007 safeguarding of the Chelsea-Hackney line
, Clapham Junction is a possibility as the line is safeguarded to travel from Chelsea
to Clapham Junction on a branch. The reason for this is for the bid to end the station's isolation from the London Underground network.