Investment in Clapham Junction?

Clapham JunctionI commented on the £50 million investment for 10 stations, including Clapham Junction, at the end of last week.

Since then I’ve been trying to find more details. But I’ve failed. There just don’t seem to be any details out there. The best I’ve managed to find is on Martin Linton’s website is a suggestion that Clapham Junction should get a big share, but without any reference to why he makes that assertion.

That details can’t be found perhaps isn’t that worrying of itself. It was only a week ago that it was announced. However, it’s a bit concerning that it’s so difficult to find any reference to how the decisions will be made. Do the individual stations bid? Are they just allocated the cash? What if the stations, collectively, need more than £50 million?

The money is a response to the Rail Champions report. Reading through Lord Adonis’s blog of his tour of the ten worst stations he seems to suggest the problems at Clapham Junction are things like the lack of escalators and that the platform canopies do not cover the entirety of the platform. He also mentions the need for an entrance at bridge level, which, of course, is already being planned (with some investment from Wandsworth Council).

These are the sorts of things that might be changed relatively cheaply. But they aren’t the fundamental problems that need to be addressed.

To my mind, and I think anyone who uses the station, the real problems are capacity – of the tunnel linking the platforms and of the trains serving the station. While the proposed Brighton Yard entrance will go some way to alleviating the pressure in the tunnel it might only be at the expense of new congestion problems on the footbridge, an antiquated structure that I suspect is well overdue replacement. And there’s a good chance that the problems will get worse once pay-as-you-go becomes valid next year, as a huge group of travellers become eligible to pass through the Clapham Junction gates.

Guido Fawkes blog suggests the investment is linked to politics – 9 of the 10 stations are in Labour held seats, and the tenth only became Conservative in a recent by-election – than it is to any serious desire to improve transport. (A counter argument to that, which has some merit, can be found on Hopi Sen’s blog). However, given that less than a week before Putney Station (not one of the worst ten) was announced as getting in excess of £10 million investment it begs the question of whether the £50 million was more about buying PR than a genuine attempt to help the country’s worst stations.

It might be a start, but it’s significantly less than other – considerably less needy – stations are getting. It’ll be interesting to see the details when, and if, they are published.

  • http://towerscj.wordpress.com/ Cyril Richert

    I posted a comment this morning. As it has now disappeared I can only assume that you server had a hiccup, any other reason would mean that a Councillor prefer to censor rather than debate (although it was actually only a general comment).

    Therefore, I will repeat here my comment (and make it a bit longer).

    Albeit agreeing on the capacity problems at Clapham Junction station and the increasing trend, I cannot see how it can be related to PAYG Oyster.
    I think your statement would have made much more sense with examples of:
    1- East London Line
    2- Heathrow link extension
    3- Improved traffic on overground service

    Those are indeed reasons which add to the case for a much needed station redevelopment.

    After announcement last week that a share of the £50 million will be allocated to CJ (for whatever political reason behind, this is good news), Network Rail is now working on planning. Can you criticise them for willing to pay attention to users and address people’s needs?

    The Clapham Junction Action Group is going to launch a consultation on the matter and is already raising the issue with a number of contacts such as ORR or NR.

    I remind you that I asked members of the Conservatives in your ward to meet to discuss the issue, but you have not come back with any date yet (although being the only one who replied). I cannot prevent to notice that Justine Greening showed more respect and concern on our issues when contacted in the past, despite representing Putney.