Calls are growing for an abandoned railway station to be reopened to deal with south London’s “poor transport links”.
Camberwell station, which closed in 1916 and sits on the Thameslink line, could help to relieve overcrowding at south London stations, campaigners have claimed.
Harriet Harman, Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham, and Helen Hayes, Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, submitted an open letter to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling urging him to consider the move, the Evening Standard reported.
In it, they said: “The reopening of the station would come as much needed relief to residents of Camberwell who have suffered from poor transport links for years, especially following the disappointment of the proposal for the Bakerloo Line extension to only serve Old Kent Road, and with the ongoing disruption to Southern Rail services.
“The proposal is supported by nearby King’s College Hospital, which employs thousands of staff, and from whom constraints in local public transport create significant issues in getting staff, patients and visitors to the hospital.”
Following a consultation and analysis in 2014, plans were drawn up for an extension to the Bakerloo line which favoured stations along the Old Kent Road, rather than the Camberwell area.
Southwark Community Action Network (CAN) has also been collecting signatures on a petition to be delivered to Parliament to call for the station’s reopening.
The group pointed out that the area is particularly under pressure because of two key London hospitals - King’s College and Maudsley.
It said: “Despite the scale of healthcare delivery and teaching that is taking place in Camberwell, it is not part of the London Underground network and is only served by one railway station.
“This leaves patients, staff, students and visitors heavily reliant on bus services, including those that run via Walworth Road which has significant traffic congestion problems (anyone travelling on a 176 down to the Elephant at 5pm will know what we mean).
“Journey times to the hospital sites from Elephant and Castle, the southern end point of the Bakerloo line, can be as much as 30 minutes due to the volume of traffic.”
According to Southwark News, when he was Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said of the reopening of the station: “Initial feasibility indicates it would be possible to construct a modern station at this location if timetable changes could be made to accommodate an extra stop.”
Camberwell served the mainland City line from Herne Hill to Farringdon Street when it first opened.
It was among a number of stations to close to passengers during the First World War, although passenger numbers had dwindled before then.
The station building is now in use as a mechanic’s garage, although some evidence of platforms is still visible from the line.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Rail passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years, and we have more trains travelling more miles than ever before, with new lines and stations opening for the first time in generations.
“We are committed to improving access to rail services for passengers and are happy to support proposals for new stations where these are viable and deliver the quality service passengers want.
“We have not received plans for a new station at the site of the former Camberwell Station, so cannot comment further at this stage.”