Clapham Junction railway station (/ˈklæpəm/[3]) is a major railway station and transport hub near St John's Hill in south-west Battersea in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is 3 miles 74 chains (6.3 km) from London Waterloo and is situated between Queenstown Road and Earlsfield on the South Western main line, with numerous other routes and branch lines passing through or diverging from the main line at this station. Despite its name, Clapham Junction is not located in Clapham, a district situated approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) to the south-east.

Routes from London's south and south-west termini, Victoria and Waterloo funnel through the station, making it the busiest in Europe[4] 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.[5]


Before the railway came, the area was rural and specialised in growing lavender; the street Lavender Hill is east of the station. The coach road from London to Guildford ran slightly south of the future station site, past The Falcon public house at the crossroads in the valley between St. John's Hill and Lavender Hill.

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. That was the first railway through the area but it had no station at the present site.

Details of roof support columns

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. 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.[6]

When the station was built, much of Battersea was the site of heavy industry while Clapham, a mile south-east of this point, was fashionable. The railway companies, to attract a middle- and upper-class clientele, seized the unindustrial parish calculating that being upon the slopes of Clapham's plateau would only re-inforce this distinction, leading to a long-lasting misunderstanding that the station is in Clapham. The railway companies were not alone in eschewing the name of Battersea; from the 1880s until the 1950s the imposing private houses forming the streets of the district were commonly recorded by property-owning residents as 'Clapham Common N. Side, London' and 'Clapham Common W. Side, London' despite being well away from those park-side streets.[7][8]

Additional station buildings were erected in 1874 and 1876.

Whereas the station brought wealthy streets to Battersea its adjoining (entirely modernised) manual railway works and the large Battersea Power Station brought slums, the population of which rose from 6,000 in 1840 to 168,000 by 1910. Battersea's slums unfit for human habitation were entirely replaced with council and charitable housing between 1918 and 1975.

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

Discontinued proposals

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 Western 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.[9]

Incidents and accidents

Clapham rail disaster

On the morning of 12 December 1988 two collisions involving three commuter trains occurred slightly south-west of the station. Thirty-five people died and more than 100 were injured.[10]

Track bombing

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.[11]

The Junction

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

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

The station today

Railways around Clapham Junction
Waterloo London Underground London River Services
London Underground BSicon BUS.svg Victoria
Vauxhall London Underground London River Services
Linford curve
built for Eurostar
Stewarts Lane Junction
Battersea Park
London Overground limited service
Queenstown Road
Longhedge Junctions
by 1912 RCH map
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 about 2,000 trains, over half of them stopping, pass through the station, more than through any other station in Europe.[12] At peak times 180 trains per hour pass through of which 117 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.[13]

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 ft (4.6 m) wide, that connects to the eastern ends of all platforms.

The north entrance, which has restricted opening hours, leads from Grant Road to the same subway. 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, is of 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.[14]

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,[15] 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.

9 December 2012 saw the opening of a new platform for the East London Line, creating an orbital railway around inner London.[16]

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.


The subway at Clapham Junction during night.

The station has 17 platforms, 1 to 17:

Sidings leading into railway sheds at the west of the station are located between platforms 6 and 7.[17]

Clapham Junction platforms

Station announcements

Currently, the voices of Phil Sayer[18] and Celia Drummond[citation needed] are played at this station in automated station announcements.


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 East London Line services of London Overground have Clapham Junction as one of the termini.

The typical off-peak service of more than 120 trains an hour comprises:

During peak hours on weekdays express services on the South Western 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
South Western Main Line
West of England Main Line
  Woking or Basingstoke
  South Western Railway
Waterloo to Basingstoke
Alton Line
  Wimbledon or Surbiton
Vauxhall   South Western Railway
Waterloo to Woking
Mole Valley Line
Kingston Loop via Wimbledon
Shepperton Branch
Hampton Court Branch
New Guildford Line
London Waterloo
or Vauxhall
  South Western Railway
Waterloo to Reading
Vauxhall   South Western Railway
Waterloo to Reading
Queenstown Road
  South Western Railway
Kingston Loop via Richmond
Hounslow Loop
  Wandsworth Town
London Victoria   Southern
Brighton Main Line
  East Croydon
London Victoria   Southern
Oxted Line
  East Croydon
Imperial Wharf   Southern
West London Route
  Wandsworth Common
Battersea Park   Southern
London Victoria to London Bridge
  Wandsworth Common
Victoria to East Croydon
London Victoria to Sutton
via Crystal Palace
Overground roundel (no text).svg National Rail logo.svg London Overground
South London Line Terminus
Terminus West London Line
  Proposed Future Development  
Preceding station   Elizabeth line roundel.svg National Rail logo.svg Crossrail   Following station
Line 2
  Historical railways  
Terminus   West London Line   Battersea

Future proposals

In 2007 the alignment of one of the two variants of Crossrail 2, that via the station rather than Putney and Wimbledon, was safeguarded. The Department for Transport and Transport for London continue to discuss proposal for a Clapham Junction Northern Line extension and its London Underground alignment has been legally reserved through Battersea Park,[21] and would connect Clapham Junction to the London Underground for the first time.

Government and Network Rail funding for in the early 2010s of £50 million of improvements was granted.[22] This comprised an upgrade to the main interchange: new entrances and more retail.[23]

In a Network Rail study it is proposed that platform 0 could reopen for 8 car operations of the West London Line. [24]


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.[25][26]

Notes and references


  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 "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation.  Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. ^ Pronunciation given by Oxford Learners' Dictionaries
  4. ^ Great British Railway Journeys (Series 4, Episode 7): "Woking to Clapham Junction" BBC2, 15 January 2013
  5. ^ Office of Rail Regulation, Station Usage Estimates 2011–12
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Year's Art, published 1922, London, p. 500
  8. ^ Directory of British Architects, 1834–1914: Vol. 2 (L-Z) A. Brodie (ed), 2001, Continuum, London, p.12
  9. ^ "Heathrow Airtrack Waterloo rail link shelved by BAA". BBC News London. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "1988: 35 dead in Clapham rail collision". BBC On This Day. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  11. ^ http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1991-12-17/news/1991351034_1_london-ira-bomb-threats
  12. ^ "Great British Railway Journeys (Series 4, Episode 7): Woking to Clapham Junction" BBC2, UK TV Channel, 15/01/13
  13. ^ Delta Rail, 2008–09 station usage report, Office of the Rail Regulation website
  14. ^ Route Plans 2007 – Route 3 – South West Main line published by Network Rail, 2007 – See page 20
  15. ^ British Transport Police, London South Area
  16. ^ Outer London rail orbital opens for passengers
  17. ^ a b c d e f Detailed London transport map (track, depot, ...)
  18. ^ We are sorry to announce: Britain's most apologetic couple
  19. ^ Highbury & Islington to West Croydon/Clapham Junction timetable
  20. ^ Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford timetable Archived 13 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Clapham Junction next for Northern Line says London Assembly member Wandsworth Guardian
  22. ^ "£50m revamp for 'worst stations'". BBC News. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  23. ^ Chris Green & Sir Peter Hall, Better Rail Stations Archived 22 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine., November 2009
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ Clapham Junction Station – Bus Station 1
  26. ^ Clapham Junction Station – Bus Station 2

External links