The Anonymous Widower

Would You Want To Live With A Transport for London Route Planning Specialist?

Or probably anybody who does a similar job in say Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Mumbai or any other city with a complicated suburban rail network?

You just have to read this to find out the amazingly tortuous sense of direction they have. They would certainly have unusual ways of getting from A to B.

The reason for this post is I’ve just traced the possible route for London Overground’s possible outer circle railway based on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line. Or is that now the Gospel Oak to Barking and Back Line.

I’ll repeat the quote from the Modern Railways report on the Mayor’s Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050.

There may be a case for further orbital rail capacity, says the document – it shows an indicative, uncosted network to link Hounslow, Old Oak Common, Neasden, West Hampstead, Harringay, Walthamstow, Barking, Abbey Wood, Bexleyheath, Norwood Junction, Sutton and New Malden and back to Hounslow, with another route between Abbey Wood and New Malden via Lewisham, Peckham Rye and Wimbledon.

So just how does the line get across South London after it is assumed that it crosses from Barking to Abbey Wood probably in a tunnel? Or could it be a dramatic bridge, with a road as well as a railway track?

The Route

As I did with the Northern Route from Harringay Green Lanes to Hounslow, I’ll start by listing the route in order from Hounslow to Abbey Wood.

Hounslow – Starting from here, the route would continue along the Hounslow Loop Line.

Whitton – There may be a need for a new curve after here, as trains will need to get to and from the Kingston Loop Line.

Twickenham – The next station towards London is Twickenham, so it could be that there may be something innovative here. Wikipedia says this about the future of this station.

The RFU has petitioned the government to improve the station to be ready to handle the increased use during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Network Rail has consented to a plan to improve the station and the rolling stock, but progress has stalled because of disagreement between the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames council and some local residents.

I have now visited the area and it looks like trains will have to reverse at Twickenham.

Strawberry Hill


Hampton Wick



New Malden – How they get from here to Sutton, which is their next named station is open to speculation. The most likely route seems to be to go to Raynes Park and then turn south, but this gets all mixed up with Thameslink. Or is that deliberate, as there may be spare paths on the Sutton Loop and it gives a lot of interchange opportunities.

Raynes Park

Wimbledon – Having now visited the area, I feel that trains will stop at Wimbledon and then reverse direction to get on the Sutton Loop.

Wimbledon Chase – In common with many stations in this part of the line, the northbound and southbound tracks are separated by an island platform, so transferring between the Goblin Extension and Thameslink here will be very easy. And you can also change direction from north to south and vice-versa. It’s just like Canonbury on the North London Line, where passengers have a step-free reverse of direction, as I detailed here.

South Merton

Morden South

St. Helier

Sutton Common

West Sutton

Sutton – The route would then appear to go pretty straight to Norwood Junction.

Carshalton Beeches



West Croydon – This will interchange with the East London Line and Tramlink.

Norwood Junction – When Thameslink has arrived and settled in, this will be a major interchange station. After my visit to Brockley, I’m now pretty sure that the line goes via Crystal Palace to Peckham Rye for the Nunhead-Lewisham Link.

Crystal Palace – There is same platform interchange to and from Victoria and London Bridge, a step free interchange to the East London Line and a good cafe.

Gypsy Hill

West Norwood

Tulse Hill – There are connections here to Thameslink and London Bridge.

North Dulwich

East Dulwich

Peckham Rye – Here the route would take the Nunhead-Lewisham Link, then it should be plain sailing all the way to Bexleyheath.









Barnehurst – After here, the route turns West onto the North Kent Line towards London

Slade Green



Abbey Wood

So that completes the circle.

The Alternative Route

A second route across South London is also indicated between New Malden and Lewisham via Wimbledon and Peckham Rye. The stations could be as follows.

New Malden – Before here, use the previous route from Hounslow

Wimbledon – This is a major interchange to main line train services, the District Line and Tramlink

Haydons Road



Tulse Hill

North Dulwich

East Dulwich

Peckham Rye


Lewisham – After here, use the previous route to Abbey Wood

Points Raised

As with the Northern section of the route, listing the stations raises some important points.

1. Interchanges With Other Lines

This part of the line has interchanges to many other lines. You could put these on the list.

Brighton Main Line


District Line

Docklands Light Railway

East London Line

Hounslow Loop Line

Kingston Loop Line

North Kent Line

South Eastern Main Line

South Western Main Line



Waterloo to Reading Line

2. Twickenham

With a properly designed station, this could make getting to Twickenham much easier.

3. Freight

Although not as important as on the Northern section, Abbey Wood is on the North Kent Line, which is connected to HS1 and the Channel Tunnel. So could the enlarged Goblin be the key to getting freight between the North and the Continent?

Freight from the Continent would come through the Channel Tunnel, travel to Abbey Wood using HS1 and the North Kent Line and then cross the Thames to Barking, where they would take the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to the Midland Main Line, the West Coast Main Line or the Great Western Main Line.

High value cargo might even come all the way from the Far East by train across China, Russia and Europe, instead of by a slower ship.

Perishable freight like fruit from Spain and Southern Europe has also started to use the Channel Tunnel, so would we be seeing more of this, perhaps even taking this route to distribution centres like Daventry.

The possibilities for freight are endless and not just into the UK. For instance, according to this report, the UK exports 80% of the 1.5 million cars made. Travelling across Europe, you often see trainloads of new cars, but you don’t see to see them here.

And will containers arrive at the London Gateway from perhaps the Far East and America and then be transhipped into Europe via the new Thames Crossing and the Channel Tunnel?

The  Thames Crossing had better be a big one with the capacity for a large number of trains!

4. Unlocking South London

What these new routings do, is add lots of stations to the Underground map. So those unfamiliar with South London will find it easy to get to stations like for instance, Nunhead. Many a time, I’ve found visitors to South London completely lost in the area, as they understand the Tube map and can’t follow where they are in parts of the train network.

You also often don’t go to the right terminus station to get to your destination in the south, as the routes were designed with some form of sadistic twisted logic. What sane man, would think that to get to Dartford in the East, you’d go to Victoria to the West of the centre?

So will these lines unlock the secrets of the maze that is South London? In the same way as the East London Line of the Overground allows me to get easily to my friends in Anerley!

You can’t throw the current network out and start again, but you can add new routings, which make the system much more user-friendly.

You could claim that one of the main benefits of a completed Overground, Crossrail and Thameslink is that they make London’s railways easier to use for those who don’t know their Cricklewood from their Nunhead!

Summing Up

I probably haven’t got all this right, as I’m only using one paragraph of the report, an A-Z atlas of London and Wikipedia.

So don’t be surprised if I change this substantially as more information becomes available.










August 3, 2014 - Posted by | Transport | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] is what I called the Alternative Route in the post, where I laid out possible […]

    Pingback by Tracing The Goblin Extension – The Alternative Route From Wimbledon To Peckham Rye « The Anonymous Widower | August 6, 2014 | Reply

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