Balham is an interchange station formed of a range of underground entrances for the London Underground ('tube') and a shared entrance with its National Rail station component. The station is in central Balham in the London Borough of Wandsworth, south London, England. The tube can be accessed on both sides of the Balham High Road (A24); National Rail on the south side of the road leading east, where the track is on a mixture of light-brick high viaduct and earth embankment, quadruple track and on a brief east-west axis.
Balham station east building including shared entrance
|Local authority||London Borough of Wandsworth|
|Number of platforms||4 (National Rail)|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|– interchange||0.353 million|
|– interchange||0.372 million|
|– interchange||0.451 million|
|– interchange||0.401 million|
|– interchange||0.393 million|
|Original company||London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (National Rail)|
City and South London Railway (London Underground)
|Pre-grouping||London, Brighton and South Coast Railway|
|1856||first station opened as Balham Hill|
|1863||present station opened (LB&SCR)|
|1940||Closed for repairs (Underground)|
|Listing grade||II (Underground station)|
|Added to list||16 June 1987|
|London transport portal|
On the National Rail network it is 4 miles 52 chains (7.5 km) measured from London Victoria.
National Rail stationEdit
The National Rail station is on the Brighton Main Line, four stops from London Victoria. On a north-south route, the tracks pass through Balham on an approximate east-west axis, with Victoria towards the west. The station is managed by Southern. The platforms are on embankment between bridges over Balham High Road and Bedford Hill. Access to the platforms is via an underpass beneath them. There are four tracks and four platforms, although platforms 3 and 4 are used only in emergencies. The station is between Wandsworth Common and either Streatham Hill, Streatham Common or Mitcham Eastfields.
The West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway opened a station named Balham Hill on 1 December 1856, at which time the line ran between Crystal Palace and Wandsworth Common. From the outset the line was worked by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, which purchased the line in 1859 after it had been extended to Pimlico.
The original station was on the west side of Balham High Road; it was re-sited by the LB&SCR in 1863 as part of works to widen the line, and improve the route between East Croydon and Victoria. Further remodelling of the line was undertaken in 1890 and 1897 to increase capacity. It was named Balham then renamed Balham and Upper Tooting on 9 March 1927, reverting to Balham on 6 October 1969.
The lines through the station to Crystal Palace were electrified in 1911, by means of the LB&SCR 'Elevated Electric' overhead system. Work on electrifying the remaining services through the station had begun in 1913 but was interrupted by the First World War and not completed until 1925. By this time the LB&SCR had been absorbed into the Southern Railway following the 1921 Railways Act. In 1925 the Southern Railway decided to adopt a third rail electrification system and the lines through the station were converted between June 1928 and September 1929.
When sectorisation was introduced in the 1980s, the national rail lines were served by Network SouthEast until the privatisation of the British Railways in the 1990s to the Connex South Central franchise, replaced by the current operator in 2000.
The station has a high brick wall along Balham Station Road on which are four cold cast bronze reliefs, "Impressions of Balham". These depict local residents and everyday scenes. They were conceived and constructed by Christine Thomas and Julia Barton and installed in 1991 by Wandsworth Borough Council.
London Underground stationEdit
The station opened on 6 December 1926 as part of the Morden extension of the City & South London Railway south from Clapham Common. The line and other stations on the extension had opened earlier, on 13 September 1926. The station is between Clapham South and Tooting Bec stations.
Along with the other stations on the Morden extension, the building was designed by architect Charles Holden. They were Holden's first major project for the Underground. He was selected by Frank Pick, general manager of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL), to design the stations after he was dissatisfied with designs produced by the UERL's own architect, Stanley Heaps. The Underground station buildings are listed Grade II.
The station has entrances on the east and west sides of Balham High Road linked by a pedestrian subway. The modernist designs of each building take the form of double-height screens clad in white Portland stone with three-part glazed screens in the centres of the façades divided by columns of which the capitals are three-dimensional versions of the Underground roundel. The central panel of the screens contain a large version of the roundel. Balham is the only station on the Morden branch of the Northern Line conjoined to a National Rail station.
Second World WarEdit
During the Second World War, Balham was one of many deep tube stations designated for use as a civilian air raid shelter. At 20:02 on 14 October 1940, a 1400 kg semi-armour piercing fragmentation bomb fell on the road above the northern end of the platform tunnels, creating a large crater into which a bus then crashed. The northbound platform tunnel partially collapsed and was filled with earth and water from the fractured water mains and sewers above, which also flowed through the cross-passages into the southbound platform tunnel, with the flooding and debris reaching to within 100 yards (91 m) of Clapham South. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), sixty-six people in the station were killed – although some sources report 64 shelterers and 4 railway staff were killed and more than seventy injured. The damage at track level closed the line to traffic between Tooting Bec and Clapham Common, but was quickly repaired, with the closed section and station being reopened on 12 January 1941.
In October 2000 a memorial plaque commemorating this event was placed in the station's ticket hall. It stated that 64 lives were lost, which differed from the CWGC register at the time, and other sources. On 14 October 2010 this was replaced with a new commemorative plaque which does not state the number of fatalities. This second plaque was again replaced with an official memorial stone in Welsh slate commissioned by London Underground and that was unveiled on 14 October 2016.  The second removed plaque was again deposited with the London Transport Museum.
The bombing of the station during the war is briefly mentioned in Ian McEwan's novel Atonement, while the film based on the book depicts the station's flooding, where a main character is killed. Both the novel and the film date the event incorrectly, with the novel placing it in September 1940, and the film dating it as 15 October rather than the previous day. The film also refers to the fracturing of gas mains, as well as water. The bombing of the station is also featured in the children's novel Billy's Blitz by Barbara Mitchelhill when Billy and his family are sheltering in the tube station on the night of 14 October 1940.
The typical off-peak main line service from this station is:
- 10tph (trains per hour) to London Victoria
- 2tph to London Bridge via Crystal Palace
- 6tph to Sutton
- 6tph to West Croydon
- 2tph to Epsom via Mitcham Eastfields
- 2tph to Epsom Downs
- 1tph to Milton Keynes Central
- 1tph to East Croydon
Additional services to/from Milton Keynes Central also terminate and start at Balham.
- "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLSX). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. January 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
- Historic England. "Balham Station (London Regional Transport) (Including Above Ground Buildings and Sub Surface Platforms and Passages (1225887)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "Balham Station Map". National Rail Enquires. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
- Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 23. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
- Turner, John Howard (1978). The London Brighton and South Coast Railway 2 Establishment and Growth. Batsford. pp. 126–129, 238–9. ISBN 0-7134-1198-8.
- Turner, John Howard (1978). The London Brighton and South Coast Railway 3 Completion and Maturity. Batsford. pp. 81–4, 141–9. ISBN 0-7134-1389-1.
- Southern Electric by G.T.Moody
- Moody, G.T. (1968). Southern Electric 1909-1968=Ian Allan. pp. 7, 23.
- Moody, (1968) p.25.
- Rose, Douglas (1999). The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History. Douglas Rose/Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-219-4.
- Martin, Andrew (2013) . Underground Overground. Profile Books. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-84668-478-4.
- Orsini, Fiona (2010). Underground Journeys: Charles Holden's designs for London Transport (PDF). V&A + RIBA Architecture Partnership. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- "Casualty List for Balham". cwgcuser.org.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
- Croome; Jackson (2003). Rails Through the Clay. Capital. p. 275.
- "Northern Line, Dates". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Archived from the original on 16 January 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
- "War Memorial: Balham Underground Railway Station Air Raid (1) (WMR-52421)". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/timetabling/electronic-national-rail-timetable/ (Timetable Nos. 170, 171, 172, 173, 176, and 180 May 2018)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Balham railway station.|
- Train times and station information for Balham station from National Rail
- London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
London Victoria to London Bridge via Crystal Palace
London Victoria to West Croydon via Crystal Palace
Brighton Main Line and Sutton & Mole Valley Line (Epsom Downs Branch) and West London Route
|Streatham Common or|
Sutton & Mole Valley Line (Horsham Branch)
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
|Proposed Future Development|
|Preceding station||Crossrail||Following station|