Could we see a new Overground station at Brixton or Loughborough Junction? Lambeth council investigates options

Current Brixton Rail Lines, the closed East Brixton Station can be seen in grey. Image from Wikipedia

By Tim Dickens and Rory Grieve

Lambeth council has commissioned a feasibility study into opening a station in the Brixton area on the useful Overground rail link between Clapham Junction and Highbury and Islington.

Trains on the line currently sail high above Brixton Road without stopping, and Transport for London have previously said that a stop at Brixton would be too expensive as the line is “elevated, curved and on a gradient.”

Today Lambeth council confirmed  it is working on a £25,000 feasibility study, led by the engineering firm Steer Davis Gleeve, looking at the “opportunities for a London Overground stop in the area” alongside the refurbishment of both Brixton and Loughborough Junction’s existing stations. The study is being done as part of the Future Brixton and the Brixton Central masterplan.

The London Overground Line links Clapham Junction with Highbury and Islington, via Peckham, Surrey Quays, Whitechapel and Shoreditch. This stretch of line was opened in December 2012.

In a written answer to a question on opening stations in Brixton and Loughborough Junction yesterday, London mayor Boris Johnson said: “Unfortunately, constructing a station at either location would be very difficult – and therefore very costly – because the railway is not only on a viaduct but the tracks are curved and on a gradient. As a result, any benefits of stations at these locations would be outweighed by the costs and so they would not offer value for money.” Johnson went on to confirm that Lambeth council is re-examining the idea of opening an Overground Station in Loughborough Junction, with the help of TfL.

An alternative idea to plug the two mile gap between Clapham High St and Denmark Hill is to reopen the now defunct East Brixton Station. This was recently included in the Londonists’ list of 15 ways to improve London’s train network.

Last year the government decided not go ahead with the recommendations of a consultation to stop trains at Blackfriars from 2018 when going north on the Thameslink line from Loughborough Junction.

The findings of the new study by Lambeth council and TFL are expected later this year.




  1. From Wiki – ‘The Brixton [ Victoria services ] station is currently served only by trains on the main line towards Herne Hill. The Denmark Hill line platforms were closed in 1916 as a wartime economy measure, and have been out of use and fenced off ever since. However, the line itself remains in regular and frequent use by both freight and passenger services.’ So, if trains in 1916 could stop there on the curve and incline, why not now ? – is this a case of boris just parroting what the rail chiefs have told him . ..

  2. Normally I believe that these sorts of projects should be determined on a cost benefit analysis.

    But I make an exception on this occasion. I think an overground station should definitely be built between the Victoria line LU station and the Brixton railway station to allow transfers no matter the short term decimal cost-benefit analysis. Because in the long term it would be of an enormous benefit. And it would be nice it there could also be an overground interchange station for the Loughborough junction Thameslink station.
    I know the stations would be very close in physical proximity, but not that unusually spaced for suburban rail (which London overground’s South London line is supposed to be).

    But the biggest crying shame in that area still remains no railway station at Camberwell. Surely that can only have a high CBT?!

  3. The Overground trains going past Loughborough Junction station seem so close it really would be great if they could stop there and give a boost to this area and a convenient place to switch to the Thameslink.

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  5. Obviously there is a cost and a benefit for building a station at East Brixton, and a higher cost and a higher benefit for building a station at Brixton which interconnects with Thameslink and the Underground. Lets hope the feasibility study looks at both options so that one can then make an informed decision as to which option is preferable.

    As to uninformed comments from Boris (because we do not yet have the feasibility study) they will surely change once he realises that there is massive support for the idea of an interconnection, as a straw poll of the comments so far suggests there will be.

  6. The bit that they don’t explain properly is that modern (EU-derived?) regs say that you are not allowed to build new platforms on a curve or on a gradient. Height above ground means not only lifts but long flights of stairs and/or escalators – adding to the cost.

    It’s quite possible that a new straight and flat alignment with a fairly low land requirement could be found with a bit of computer modelling. The impact would be largely on commercial property and it’s quite possible that redevelopment could fund a fair amount of the construction cost.

    If course it could well be that the Victoria line being underneath makes foundations too complicated, but that’s the purpose of feasibility studies 🙂

  7. Why do people think it is required to connect to the other stations? There are a few stations in London that are just a walk apart without direct walkways (Bow Church to Bow Road, Regents Park to Great Portland Street to name but two). Yes, not ideal and on PAYG you pay twice to change but some people might like to get off in Brixton for the market and restaurants (or indeed because they live there) and not just to change to the Underground/Thameslink. Just having the station there will be a huge bonus to start with – linking them all up can happen later if indeed ever.

  8. Agree about the location, putting it half way between Brixton and Loughborough Road stations would be a big mistake. They would need a straight section and flat section adjacent to the Tube and railway lines with connecting walk ways for passengers between all 3. Not sure that is feasible, within costs but hopefully the survey will look hard at it. Brixton is still very well connected though even now. I would prefer to see the money spent on a tube station at the top of Brixton hill and extended to Streatham. That would reduce the need for all those horrible buses clogging up Brixton Road and provide connectivity for those south of Brixton.

  9. As you go through Brixton on the Overground, the roof of Sainsburys, the same building as the Tube, is just inches away.

    Can it really be that prohibitively expensive to build a new station and interchange?

  10. It should definitely connect to either Victoria Line or Thameslink. Doing so would give Overground users another direct link into Central London (and relieve the Northern Line in the process, I’d imagine).

    It would be a shame if Overground users were shortchanged! A lot of these cost benefit analyses overlook social costs, or quality of life for residents.

  11. The obvious choice is for the station to be linked to the existing Brixton station so that passengers can change lines. To put it anywhere else just doesn’t make any sense and would drastically cut the number of people using it. That’s a lot of money for a half used station.

    I think it worth noting that Boris has deemed it too expensive to build, but NOT impossible. I hope Lambeth make an effort to pursued him otherwise.

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