The Anonymous Widower

A Tunnel Under Brixton

In the June 2016 Edition of Modern Railways in an article entitled Turning South London Orange.

One of the proposals is to create a tunnel under Brixton to cut out the need for fast Sutheastern services to cross Thameslink services on the level at Herne Hill.

The map from, shows the current lines between Battersea and Herne Hill.

Battersea To Herne Hill

Battersea To Herne Hill

This crossing should surely have been sorted years ago, as it must be a severe bottleneck in the running of Thameslink services. It must be like having road-works controlled by traffic lights, where the M1 joins the M6. I wrote about the problems in Herne Hill Station.

Network Rail’s plan involved turning all Sutton Loop Line services at Blackfriars to ease the problem of getting the trains through the Thameslink tunnel efficiently, but politicians squashed that!

The Northern end of the tunnel would be in the Battersea railway lands North of Wandsworth Road station.

This Google Map shows the area.

North End Of Brixton Tunnel

North End Of Brixton Tunnel

The Southeastern lines come from Victoria and pass the Battersea Power station site on its Western side, before passing over the wide swath of lines going into Waterloo.

Fast services from Victoria to Kent would go straight into the tunnel, which would have its Northern portal somewhere between the power station and Wandsworth Road station.

Given there are proposals in the Centre for London report, for a new station at Battersea linked to the Northern Line Extension, it all seems to fit together fairly well.

A big winner could be the Battersea Bogs Home, as some of their space might be needed, but then organisations like that are much easier to deal with than irate home or business owners. I could see the charity ending up with some very good premises over the tunnel portal.

The Southern end of the tunnel would be between Herne Hill and West Dulwich stations.

This Google Map shows the area.

South End Of Brixton Tunnel

South End Of Brixton Tunnel

The Southern portal would be in the area, where the two railway lines cross to the North-West of the sports grounds.

It would seem with all the green space, that building the tunnel portal in the area would be easy.

But much of the land is owned by Dulwich College and they are not the most co-operative of neighbours according to various articles I’ve read.

So it would appear that the politics and public relations of a tunnel under Brixton could be much more difficult than the actual engineering.

The Centre for London report, doesn’t say much about the actual design of the tunnel, but it could be assumed that it would be a five-kilometre double-track tunnel, with or without low-level platforms beneath Herne Hill station. As none of the fast services currently stop at Herne Hill station, I would suspect that nothing more than provision for the platforms will be provided.

There will be various benefits of the tunnel.

  • Eliminating the need for Thameslink services to cross the fast Southeastern services, must give benefit to both operators with respect to the robustness of services.
  • Lengthening of platforms at Herne Hill will now be possible, which would allow longer trains on overcrowded services.
  • Fast services would be removed from the lines through Wandsworth Road and Clapham High Street stations, allowing expansion of services on a reconfigured South London Line.
  • Herne Hill station could get six ten-car trains per hour  into Victoria calling at Brixton, Wandsworth Road, Clapham High Street and the new Battersea stations for the Northern Line.

It also has to be asked, if the tunnel, which would increase capacity on the Sutton Loop Line, might help with the problems of building Crossrail 2 through Wimbledon.

The other question that has to be asked is how does this all fit in with Transport for London’s possible plans to create a loop on the Victoria Line to serve Herne Hill station, which I wrote about in Will The Victoria Line Go To Herne Hill?

I think this proposal could be an idea, that could improve rail services substantially in this part of South London.


May 27, 2016 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,


  1. […] proposed tunnel under Brixton would start somewhere to the South of Battersea Park […]

    Pingback by The Lines At Battersea Power Station On the Way Into Victoria « The Anonymous Widower | November 14, 2016 | Reply

  2. […] A Tunnel Under Brixton […]

    Pingback by A South London Metro « The Anonymous Widower | September 18, 2017 | Reply

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