Clapham Junction railway station

Coordinates: 51°27′53″N 0°10′14″W / 51.4646°N 0.1705°W / 51.4646; -0.1705
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Clapham Junction London Overground National Rail
South West (Brighton Yard) entrance
Clapham Junction is located in Greater London
Clapham Junction
Clapham Junction
Location of Clapham Junction in Greater London
Local authorityLondon Borough of Wandsworth
Managed byNetwork Rail
Station codeCLJ
DfT categoryB
Number of platforms17
Fare zone2
Cycle parkingYes – external
Toilet facilitiesYes – behind gateline
National Rail annual entry and exit
2018–19Increase 29.520 million[2]
– interchange Decrease 29.324 million[2]
2019–20Decrease 28.892 million[2]
– interchange Decrease 26.903 million[2]
2020–21Decrease 8.371 million[2]
– interchange Decrease 6.824 million[2]
2021–22Increase 17.397 million[2]
– interchange Increase 14.794 million[2]
2022–23Increase 20.790 million[2]
– interchange Increase 19.091 million[2]
Key dates
2 March 1863Opened
Other information
External links
Coordinates51°27′53″N 0°10′14″W / 51.4646°N 0.1705°W / 51.4646; -0.1705
 London transport portal

Clapham Junction railway station (/ˈklæpəm ˈʌŋkʃən/[3]) is a major railway station and transport hub near St John's Hill in southwest Battersea in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is 2 miles 57 chains (2.71 mi; 4.37 km) from London Victoria and 3 miles 74 chains (3.93 mi; 6.32 km) from London Waterloo;[4] it is on both the South West Main Line and Brighton Main Line as well as numerous other routes and branch lines passing through or diverging from the main lines at this station. Despite its name, Clapham Junction is not located in Clapham, a district situated approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) to the southeast and is instead sited in Battersea.

Routes from London's south and southwest termini, Victoria and Waterloo, funnel through the station, making it the busiest in Europe[5][better source needed] by number of trains using it: between 100 and 180 per hour except for the five hours after midnight. The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services,[6] as well as the only railway station in Great Britain with more interchanges than entries or exits.[7]


On 21 May 1838 the London and Southampton Railway became the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR), and opened its line from Nine Elms as far as Woking. The second line, initially from Nine Elms to Richmond, opened on 27 July 1846. Nine Elms was replaced in 1848 as the terminus by Waterloo Bridge station, now Waterloo. The line to Victoria opened by 1860.

The first known photograph of the station, c. 1875, looking north from St John's Hill bridge. The left two tracks are the L&SWR, the next three are the LB&SCR, and the two lines branching to the right are the WLER (laid with mixed-gauge track). The Richmond tracks and platforms are out of shot to the left.[8]

Clapham Junction opened on 2 March 1863, a joint venture of the L&SWR, the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) and the West London Extension Railway (WLER) as an interchange station for their lines.[9]

The railway companies, to attract a middle- and upper-class clientele, seized the nonindustrial parish calculating that being upon the slopes of Clapham's plateau would only reinforce this distinction, leading to a long-lasting misunderstanding that the station is in Clapham.[10][11]

A British Rail Class 73 with track workers maintaining the railway in 1986 under British Rail.

Discontinued proposals[edit]

A £39.5 million planning application from Metro Shopping Fund was withdrawn before governmental planning committee consideration on 20 May 2009.[n 1]

A 'Heathrow Airtrack' to reduce the 95-minute journey by tube and Gatwick Express to Gatwick and unite the Great Western Main Line with Heathrow, Gatwick and the South West Main Line was cancelled in 2011 following improvements to the 2005-built Heathrow Connect track from Hayes and Harlington and practical impediments, such as pressure for continued high-frequency services on the three deemed-'entrenched' semi-fast and slow services between Clapham Junction and Staines. Overground, the change would have been at Clapham Junction.[12]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Clapham rail disaster[edit]

On the morning of 12 December 1988, two collisions involving three commuter trains occurred slightly south-west of the station due to a defective signal. 35 people died and 484 were injured.[13][14]

Track bombing[edit]

On the morning of 16 December 1991, a bomb ripped through tracks on one of the station's platforms, causing major disruption to the rail network. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) claimed responsibility.[15]

The Junction[edit]

A 1912 Railway Clearing House map of lines around Clapham Junction.
Clapham Junction in 2022

The station is named Clapham Junction because it is at the junction of several rail lines. The name is not given to any rail junction near the station which, without end-on intercompany junctions, are:

  • Falcon Junction at the south end of the station, where the West London Line (WLL) joins the Brighton Slow Lines[16]
  • Ludgate Junction at the eastern end of the Windsor Line platforms to the WLL[17]
  • Latchmere SW Junction connecting the WLL to the Windsor lines at Ludgate Junction.[16]
  • Latchmere Main Junction connecting the WLL to the Brighton Line at Falcon Junction.[16]
  • West London Extension Junction and Junction for Waterloo, relaid for Eurostar empty-stock moves from the Windsor Lines to the WLL.[16]
  • Pouparts Junction where the low-level and high-level approaches to Victoria split.[18]

The station today[edit]

Railways around Clapham Junction
Waterloo London Underground London River Services
London Underground Victoria
Vauxhall London Underground London River Services
Linford curve
built for Eurostar
Stewarts Lane Junction
Battersea Park
South London line limited service
Queenstown Road
changed after grouping
and end of freight service
Poupart's Junction
West London Extn Jcn
Latchmere Junction
for Waterloo
Latchmere Main Junction
Latchmere Southwest Jcn
West London Line
Ludgate Junction
Clapham Junction
London Overground
Carriage sidings
Falcon Junction

Each day more than 2,000 trains, over half of them stopping, pass through the station, more than through any other station in Europe.[19] At peak times up to 200 trains per hour pass through of which 122 stop. It is not the busiest station by number of passengers, most of whom (about 430,000 on a weekday, of which 135,000 are at rush hours) pass through. Interchanges make some 40% of the activity and on that basis too it is the busiest station in the UK.[20]

In 2011 the station had three entrances, all with staffed ticket offices, though only the south-east entrance is open 24 hours a day. The most heavily used of the three, this leads from St John's Hill via a small indoor shopping centre into a subway some 15 feet (4.6 m) wide, that connects to the eastern ends of all platforms.

The north entrance, which has restricted opening hours, leads from the Winstanley Estate on Grant Road to the same subway.[21][22] The subway is crowded during rush hours, with the ticket barriers at the ends being pinch points.

The south-west entrance, also known as the Brighton Yard entrance, as the buildings still bear signage for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, has a more traditional appearance, with a Victorian station building set at the back of a large forecourt. This entrance leads to a very wide covered footbridge, which joins the western ends of all platforms. This entrance includes cycle parking and a taxi rank. It was re-opened in May 2011 as part of a wider programme of access improvements that included installing lifts to the platforms.[23]

There are public and disabled toilets at the south-west entrance. There are refreshment kiosks in the subway, on the footbridge and on some platforms; and a small shopping centre, including a small branch of Sainsbury's supermarket, in the south-east entrance.

British Transport Police maintain a neighbourhood policing presence,[24] whereas the Metropolitan Police Service and the part-Transport for London funded Safer Transport Command provides a police presence in the area outside the station.

On 9 December 2012 a new platform for the East London Line opened, creating an orbital railway around inner London.[25]

Overcrowding is most frequent in the often convenient but narrow cross-platform subway. Using this rather than the wide, elegant flying concourse for interchange, a visitors' eyes assessment of fabric and environment listed Clapham Junction in the most needy 10% of Department for Transport category B stations.

In an attempt to reduce overcrowding, a staircase to platforms 13 and 14 was replaced with a new wider staircase in April 2023.[26]


The subway at Clapham Junction during the night.

The station has seventeen platforms, numbered 1 to 17.[27] In general, platforms 1 and 2 are used by London Overground trains, platforms 3–11 by South Western Railway trains, and platforms 12–17 by Southern trains. Non-stop Gatwick Express trains pass through platforms 12 and 13.

Sidings leading into railway sheds at the west of the station are located between platforms 6 and 7.

Because the platform gap is too wide at platform 8, it must not be used for stopping trains unless in an emergency.[28]


Aerial view of the station and carriage sidings from the north
Details of roof support columns

All South Western Railway services from Waterloo pass through the station, as do Southern and Gatwick Express trains from Victoria. The West London line and South London line services of London Overground have Clapham Junction as one of the termini.

The typical off-peak service of 118 trains an hour comprises:

South Western Railway:


London Overground:

During peak hours on weekdays express services on the South West Main Line and outer suburban services to Alton and Basingstoke typically do not stop at the station.

The footbridge.
Clapham Junction in 2001.
Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
London Waterloo   South Western Railway
  Wimbledon, Woking or Basingstoke.
  South Western Railway   Wimbledon or Surbiton
Vauxhall   South Western Railway   Earlsfield.
London Waterloo or Vauxhall   South Western Railway   Richmond
Vauxhall   South Western Railway   Putney
Queenstown Road   South Western Railway   Wandsworth Town.
London Victoria   Southern   East Croydon
Battersea Park or London Victoria   Southern
  Wandsworth Common or Balham
Preceding station London Overground Following station
Terminus West London line Imperial Wharf
Wandsworth Road South London line Terminus
Proposed Future Development
Preceding station Crossrail Following station
Balham Crossrail 2 King's Road Chelsea
Historical railways
Terminus   West London Line   Battersea

Future proposals[edit]

In the 2010s, a Clapham Junction station was proposed as part of the Crossrail 2 project. A large underground station dug underneath the existing station was proposed to serve Crossrail 2 service.[29] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was indefinitely postponed in 2020, although the route has been safeguarded.[30]

The Northern line extension to Battersea Power Station was criticised for not extending to Clapham Junction. During the public inquiry into the extension in 2014, it was noted that although an extension to Clapham would be desirable, it was unnecessary to meet the needs of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea regeneration area.[31] Additionally, it was noted that a further extension could overwhelm the extension, due to the high demand.[32] However, provision has been made for a future extension of the line to the station, with a reserved course underneath Battersea Park.[33][34][35]

Government and Network Rail funding for[clarification needed] in the early 2010s of £50 million of improvements was granted.[36] This comprised an upgrade to the main interchange: new entrances and more retail.[37]

In a Network Rail study in 2015, it was proposed that platform 0 could reopen for 8-car operations of the West London Line.[38]


London Buses routes 35, 37, 39, 49, 77, 87, 156, 170, 219, 295, 319, 337, 344, 345, 639, 670, C3 and G1 and night routes N19, N31, N35 and N87 serve the station.[39][40]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ The 2009 Metro Shopping company plan included a new entrance on St John's Hill, the straightening and extension of platforms 15 to 17, more ticketing facilities, step-free access to all platforms by 2011, a new step-free entrance on Grant Road, and a new 'high street' from St John's Hill to Falcon Road with retail space and arthouse cinema. Profitable immediate funding was planned via radical height 42-storey residential buildings above the station.


  1. ^ National Rail: Clapham Junction Accessed 7 August 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Estimates of station usage". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. ^ "Clapham Junction - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes". Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  4. ^ Yonge, John (November 2008) [1994]. Jacobs, Gerald (ed.). Railway Track Diagrams 5: Southern & TfL (3rd ed.). Bradford on Avon: Trackmaps. map 2L. ISBN 978-0-9549866-4-3.
  5. ^ Great British Railway Journeys (Series 4, Episode 7): "Woking to Clapham Junction" BBC Two, 15 January 2013
  6. ^ Office of Rail Regulation, Station Usage Estimates 2011–12
  7. ^ "Estimates of Station Usage 2017-18" (PDF). Office of Rail and Road. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  8. ^ Sherwood, Tim (1994). Change at Clapham Junction. London: Wandsworth Borough Council. p. 12.
  9. ^ The west London Railway and the W.L.E.R, H.V.Borley & R.W.Kidner, 1981 reprint, The Oakwood Press, Usk Monmouthshire. ISBN 0-85361-174-2
  10. ^ Year's Art, published 1922, London, p. 500
  11. ^ Directory of British Architects, 1834–1914: Vol. 2 (L-Z) A. Brodie (ed), 2001, Continuum, London, p.12
  12. ^ "Heathrow Airtrack Waterloo rail link shelved by BAA". BBC News London. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  13. ^ "1988: 35 dead in Clapham rail collision". BBC On This Day. British Broadcasting Corporation. 12 December 1988. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  14. ^ Hidden, Anthony (November 1989). Investigation into the Clapham Junction Railway Accident (PDF). London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 978-0-10-108202-0. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  15. ^ O'Mara, Richard (17 December 1991). "British workers, shoppers brave IRA bomb wave with dogged determination". Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d Faulkner, J. N. (1991). Clapham Junction. Rail Centres. London: Ian Allan. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7110-2026-9.
  17. ^ Lee, Charles E. (October 1956). "The West End of London Railway" (PDF). The Railway Magazine. p. 650. Retrieved 24 November 2023.
  18. ^ Sherwood, Tim (1994). Change at Clapham Junction : The Railways of Wandsworth and South West London. Wandsworth: Wandsworth Borough Council Leisure and Amenity Services Department. p. 91. ISBN 0-902837-26-5.
  19. ^ "Great British Railway Journeys (Series 4, Episode 7): Woking to Clapham Junction" BBC2, UK TV Channel, 15/01/13
  20. ^ Delta Rail, 2008–09 station usage report Archived 5 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Office of the Rail Regulation website
  21. ^ "Winstanley Estate MUGA - Thomas Baines Road Grant Road Clapham Junction South London SW11 2HF : sports facility book online". Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  22. ^ "Winstanley&York Road estates". 16 February 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  23. ^ Route Plans 2007 – Route 3 – South West Main line Archived 29 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine published by Network Rail, 2007 – See page 20
  24. ^ "British Transport Police, London South Area". Archived from the original on 21 December 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
  25. ^ Majumdar, Debabani (10 December 2012). "Outer London rail orbital opens". BBC News. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  26. ^ Smith, Roger (11 April 2023). "New, wider staircase at Clapham Junction station improves capacity". RailAdvent. Retrieved 14 April 2023.
  27. ^ "Detailled London transport map (track, depot, ...)". Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  28. ^ Kent Sussex Wessex Sectional Appendix June 2021
  29. ^ "Clapham Junction". Crossrail 2. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  30. ^ Topham, Gwyn. "Crossrail 2 plans shelved as part of £1.8bn TfL funding deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  31. ^ Dixon, J S (19 June 2014). "Report to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government - Transport and Works Act 1992 Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Acquisition of Land Act 1981 - London Underground (Northern Line Extension) Order 201[ ]" (PDF). HM Government. pp. 186–187. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  32. ^ Lydall, Ross (21 May 2021). "First extension to London Underground this century to open in Sept". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 21 May 2021. Retrieved 12 September 2021. Engineers have previously said that extending the Northern line to Clapham Junction could have overwhelmed the new route due.
  33. ^ Henderson, Jamie (23 June 2013). "Clapham Junction next for Northern Line says London Assembly member". Wandsworth Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2014. A path running beneath Battersea Park has already been reserved for such a move
  34. ^ "Northern line extension Factsheet 8: Previous consultation on the Northern line extension (NLE) and our response to issues raised" (PDF). Transport for London. 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 December 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2021. Consultation responses raised some interest in the possibility of the Northern line being extended beyond Battersea as far as Clapham Junction. The proposals allow for the potential for a future extension beyond Battersea.
  35. ^ Johnson, Boris; Darren, Johnson (8 October 2012). "Extension of Northern Line to Clapham Junction". Mayor's Question Time. Archived from the original on 11 September 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021. There are no current plans to extend further to Clapham Junction; however it is a requirement that the extension be designed so that a further extension would be possible in the future.
  36. ^ "£50m revamp for 'worst stations'". BBC News. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  37. ^ Chris Green & Sir Peter Hall, Better Rail Stations Archived 22 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine, November 2009
  38. ^ "South East Route: Sussex Area Route Study" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  39. ^ "Clapham Junction Station – Bus Station 1". Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  40. ^ "Clapham Junction Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 24 April 2019.

External links[edit]