Station Name: WALWORTH ROAD

[Source: Nick Catford]
Date opened: 1.5.1863
Location: Between Dartford Street (formerly Arthur Street) & John Ruskin Street (formerly Beresford Street), SE17
Company on opening: London Chatham & Dover Railway
Date closed to passengers: 3.4.1916
Date closed completely: 3.4.1916
Company on closing: South Eastern & Chatham Railway
Present state: Nothing remains at road levelor at track level.
County: London
OS Grid Ref: TQ323778
Date of visit: October 1967, May 1968, March 1975, December 1984 &
6 July 2014.

Notes: The line opened on 6 October 1862 but Camberwell Gate, as the station was originally named, did not open until May 1863. It was renamed Walworth Road in January 1865. As built the station had two side platforms and an island but when the line was quadrupled in 1866 these were replaced with two new side platforms and a central island platform.

The station was built on a viaduct over three roads with an entrance under the Beresford Street from where stairs led up to the platforms at the south end of the station. The up local platform and the island were of similar lengths but the down main line (east side of the viaduct) was somewhat shorter. All three platforms had canopies. A tall signal box was built on the platform at the end of the canopy.

Initially the station was well used but passenger receipts dropped drastically following the introduction of electric trams in 1905. That year ticket sales brought in £6,300 but by 1912 this had dropped to £2,300. The service could clearly not be maintained and the station closed on 3 April 1916 with the withdrawal of the SEC's circuitous Metropolitan Extension service from Moorgate Street to Victoria. The LSW service from Ludgate Hill to Richmond had stopped calling at Walworth Road a few years earlier. A number of inner London stations closed at this time as an economy measure during WW1. At the time the closure was considered temporary but the station was never to reopen.

At street level the station was largely demolished by March 1924 although some sections of platform survived into the 1980s.

Additional source: London's Disused Stations Volume 3 - The London Chatham & Dover Railway. JE Connor. Connor & Butler 2002.

.BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LCDR's 'CITY LINE'
The Metropolitan Extensions Act of 1860 gave the London Chatham & Dover Railway access to the City, authorizing a 4.5 mile line from Herne Hill across the river to join the Metropolitan Railway at Farringdon Street.

The 'City Line' was far more than the Chatham could cope with financially, but the possibilities for through traffic were vast. To the north the G N R and the Midland could be reached and to the south were the L B S C R and L S W R at Clapham Junction from where the G W R and L N W R could be reached via the West London Line. All these companies were approached to partake financially and all eventually profited from the scheme gaining the right to work trains to their own goods and coal depots in South London.

The line from Herne Hill to the Elephant and Castle was opened on 6 October 1862 and on to Blackfriars Bridge on 1 June 1864. Intermediate stations were initially provided at Camberwell, Walworth Road and Borough Road and later at Loughborough Junction.

The Thames was eventually bridged and by 21 December 1864 a temporary station at Ludgate Hill was in use, a permanent station being opened on 1st June 1865. It had two narrow island platforms but the station was rebuilt in 1910 with a single broader island platform.

On 1st January 1866, L C D R passenger trains began running into the Metropolitan's Farringdon Street station and the connection was soon carrying a wide variety of passenger and freight services. Then, by an Act of 13 July 1871, the Chatham became committed to yet another project. A nominally independent Holborn Viaduct Station Company (for the bankrupt Chatham was not allowed to raise capital) was authorized to build a 292 yard branch from the Ludgate - Farringdon line to a new terminus, complete with hotel, fronting on the new thoroughfare of Holborn Viaduct. It was opened on 2nd March 1874.

On 1st August 1874 a low-level station, Snow Hill ('Holborn Viaduct Low Level' from 1912), was opened at the foot of the 1 in 39 incline.

Finally, on 10th May 1886 a parallel bridge across the Thames was opened with, at the northern end, yet another new station, St. Paul's, the original Blackfriars Bridge being closed. St. Paul's was renamed Blackfriars on 1st February 1937. The existing layout was completed when the South Eastern Railway opened the Union Street spur on 1st June 1878 creating a through route into Charing Cross.

The difficulties of inter-terminal transfer through the congested streets of mid-Victorian London assured considerable transfer traffic. All L C D R mainline trains, including continental ones, carried a City portion attached or detached at Herne Hill. Eventually however the development of the underground network led to the withdrawal of the through services and the demise in the importance of Holborn and Blackfriars with a dramatic reduction in off peak services. Holborn retained very heavy parcels traffic, including continental and three of its six platforms, too short for electric trains were utilised.

The first casualty on the line was Borough Road which closed on 1st April 1907 due to competition from the Northern Line. As an economy measure during WW1 through services from south of the Thames to Moorgate via the Smithfield Curve (opened 1.9.1871) were withdrawn on 1st April 1916 with Camberwell and Walworth Road stations closing two days later. Holborn Viaduct Low Level closed on 1st June 1916 and with it through passenger traffic on the City Line ceased.

Less than 700 yards separated Holborn Viaduct from Blackfriars. Ludgate Hill thus became increasingly redundant, especially after the through trains stopped. The intensive Ludgate Hill - Victoria services were withdrawn during the First World War. The Wimbledon trains were the last to call and with their electrification it was closed on 3 March 1929.

In 1902, 19.2 million passengers used Holborn, Ludgate and St. Paul's. Use declined with the loss of the cross London traffic until electrification. The growth of L.C.C. estates in S E London and Kent increased traffic but this was not maintained and in 1960 they were back to the 1902 level with 88% of the traffic arriving or departing during the rush hour. The 'City Line' was still a vital north-south freight link with some 90 trains a day in 1962, but all regular freight and parcels services were withdrawn in 1969. Although disused for many years the Snow Hill tunnel was finally abandoned in 1971 and the track was lifted.

The Snow Hill tunnel was reopened in 1988 as part of the new Thameslink network which came into service in May 1990, initially as part of British Rail but private since March 1997. To coincide with the opening of Thameslink, Holborn Viaduct Station was closed on 22nd January 1990. The line into Holborn Viaduct over Ludgate Hill was removed and a new line built that drops down steeply from Blackfriars station into a new station called City Thameslink (opened 29.5.1990) beneath the former Holborn Viaduct Station. The station was originally called St. Paul's Thameslink but was renamed in 1991 to avoid confusion from St. Paul's station on the Central line.

The northern part of the Thameslink network replaced the 'Bedpan' service from Bedford to St. Pancras and uses the existing Midland Main Line. In the south there are two branches. The main route runs through London Bridge to East Croydon and Brighton while the second branch initially ran into Guildford via West Croydon but has now been rerouted through Mitcham to terminate at Sutton.

Thameslink has become a significant commuter route serving the airports at Gatwick and Luton and carries around 40 million passenger journeys on the system annually.

Tickets from Michael Stewart & (1726) Jim Connor. Route map drawn by Alan Young.

Sources: A regional history of the railways of Great Britain - Volume 3 Greater London by H P White. David & Charles 1963 & 1971 ISBN 0 7153 5337 3
Other web sites: Abandoned Tube Stations - includes a cab ride from Farringdon - Blackfriars


To see the other stations on the L C D R's 'City Line' click on the station name: Loughborough Junction, Camberwell, Borough Road, Blackfriars Bridge, Blackfriars, Ludgate HillHolborn Viaduct,
Snow Hill/Holborn Viaduct Low Level & Farringdon


A Dawn class 2-4-0 running tender-first brings the City portion of the 2.45 pm ex-Ramsgate train past Walworth Road station on 30 July 1900. This view is looking south; the platform canopy is seen beyond the signal box.


1898 1:1,056 OS Town Plan. This shows the station spanning three roads. The entrance is in Beresford Street at the bottom; it then passes over Graham Street, Princes Street and Olney Street, stopping short of Sutherland Square to the north. The local lines are to the west with the main lines to the east. The down main line platform is noticeably shorter then the other platforms, stopping between Princes Street and Olney Street. The shaded area indicates the position of the canopies, that on the down main line platform being shorter than the others. There are external stairs on the side of the viaduct serving the outer platforms. The signal box is seen at the north end of the island canopy. Click here for a larger version of this map.

Beresford Street bridge in 1912. The entrance to the station is seen on the right between the bridge and the ‘Station Tavern’ which opened in 1881. The sign above the door reads ‘Hoare & Co - Stout & Ales’. Hoare and Co was an established London banking firm who also owned the Red Lion Brewery in Lower East Smithfield.
Copyright photo from Tony Harden collection

Looking south from the north end of Walworth Road station in 1962. Note the levers on the right for operating the detonator-placing machine (a mechanical means of putting detonators on the track) which is seen beside the track. Walworth Road signal box closed 31 December 1962.

A short section of Walworth station's island platform remained and is seen from a passing
train on the main down line in May 1968.
P
hoto by Nick Catford

The Empress Street (formerly Princes Street) bridge seen from the Dartford Street flats in March 1975. This is about the middle of the station; the remaining section of platform is visible on the viaduct. The signal box was to the right.
Photo by Nick Catford

Looking south along the local lines in December 1984. A short section of the island platform is still in place at this time.
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Looking north from the Dartford Street flats in July 2014. The short section of platform seen in the pictures above appears to have gone.
P
hoto by Nick Catford

The site of Walworth Road station entrance on John Ruskin Street (formerly Beresford Street) in July 2014. The entrance is where the blue gate is now seen. The block of flats on the right has replaced the ‘Station Tavern’ which closed in 1992.
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Looking north at the site of Walworth Road station. The widening of the tracks to accommodate the island platform is clearly visible.

Looking east at the site of Walworth Road station.
 

1967

1984

July 2014

July 2014

Click on thumbnail to enlarge
[Source: Nick Catford]

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