The results of TfL’s 2019 public consultation about a proposed southern extension of the Bakerloo line have just been published, and, surprise, surprise, people are dead keen on it. The plan suggests continuing the red-brown Underground line from its current terminus at Elephant & Castle along the Old Kent Road to New Cross and a new end point at Lewisham. This would also connect it to the DLR network.
A massive 89 percent of those who participated in the consultation were in favour of the extension, which would effectively introduce a whole swathe of south-east London to the delights of tube travel for the first time. It doesn’t stop there, though. A bolder plan – supported by 82 percent of consultees – would see the Bakerloo continue on through Catford and Lower Sydenham to Beckenham Junction in leafy Zone 4. Okay, plenty of tube lines go out further than that, and have done for years, but speaking as a born-and-bred south Londoner, the idea of catching the tube in Beckenham is pretty flipping mind-blowing.
Of course, it’s not a done deal. The consultation happened before the pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on TfL’s finances. It seems unlikely that such a grand scheme will be seen as worth funding until fare revenues are back to normal. Even then, it will be years before the network throws off the financial legacy of Covid. Still, it’s a step nearer to realising the idea, and there will now be a more detailed planning proposal put together by TfL and the mayor.
If it’s something you feel passionately about – and don’t forget, for south-east London, this is akin to the discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel and the arrival of the cronut simultaneously – you can sign up as a supporter of the Bakerloo line extension. Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of infrastructure…