Lewisham Council unveils new rail strategy

Lewisham Station in the 25th Century
Lewisham's leading technocrat, Cllr Alan Hall, has published Lewisham's new rail strategy on his blog. He explains:

“Railways are incredibly important to Lewisham and have shaped our local communities. I have said we must be ambitious for Lewisham but local residents need to be involved in our decisions. I have asked that this important report be discussed at the next Sustainable Development Committee but I would welcome public comments on these new and exciting plans.”

“These include increasing frequencies on existing routes, adding new stations and supporting the Bakerloo Line extension – dubbed Bakerlooisham”

The report highlights the dramatic differences in connectivity between the well-connected northwest of the borough (Greater Brockley) and the desultory southeast, where, for example, Whitefoot has no stations at all.

Lewisham Council's 'vision goals' are as follows:

1.To provide better links and sufficient rail capacity between all areas of Lewisham Borough and central London employment areas.
2. To provide sufficient rail capacity between all areas of Lewisham Borough and East London employment areas.
3. To increase rail access to and from Lewisham’s growth areas.
4. To improve rail connectivity across the Borough, especially east-west links and services to the south of the Borough.
5. To enhance the quality of stations and provide step-free access at all station in the Borough.
6. To improve the connectivity between stations and their local areas.

Which is a nice wish list but doesn't provide a great deal of focus. Loads of trains everywhere is not really a strategy. But there are some nice ideas, including:

- Providing 'Night Tube' style services on the DLR to Lewisham
- Extending the Croydon tram system in to the south of Lewisham
- The reopening of the high level platforms at Brockley for trains from Lewisham to Victoria, natch
- The Bakerloo extension to Lewisham to be extended as far as Hayes at the outset (rather than at some unspecified point in the future)
- An extension of the London Overground from New Cross to Lewisham Station
- A new southern entrance to Ladywell Station

The document also sets out the Council's position about the future of Lewisham Station, which will require a major redevelopment to accommodate the Bakerloo and rising passenger numbers:

Through the study [“Lewisham Feasibility Assessment: Station, Platforms and Subways”], the Council has advocated for improvements to Lewisham station to enable local housing development and provide access to Lewisham town centre. These upgrades should be a requirement on the new Southeastern franchisee in order to secure any possible increases in capacity before major schemes can be delivered. Better access to National Rail services and DLR could be secured through minor projects in the interim. 

The option to extend the Overground should be secured through any station upgrade project. With development sites coming forward at a rapid pace around the station, the opportunity exists now to start safeguarding a future vision for the station. This will ensure that the station in the future can engage with the surrounding area rather than be an inward-focused transit interchange.

To read the full document, click here.

Much of this stuff may be wishful thinking, but I am glad this thinking is going on.