Balham station

Balham National Rail London Underground
Location of Balham in Greater London
Location Balham
Local authority Wandsworth
Managed by Southern
London Underground
Owner Network Rail
London Underground
Station code BAL
DfT category C2
Number of platforms 4 (National Rail)
2 (Underground)
Fare zone 3
London Underground annual entry and exit
2012 Increase 11.90 million[1]
2013 Increase 12.05 million[1]
2014 Increase 13.47 million[1]
2015 Increase 14.18 million[1]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2010–11 Increase 5.935 million[2]
– interchange  Increase 0.368 million[2]
2011–12 Increase 6.464 million[2]
– interchange  Increase 0.384 million[2]
2012–13 Increase 6.785 million[2]
– interchange  Decrease 0.360 million[2]
2013–14 Increase 6.916 million[2]
– interchange  Decrease 0.353 million[2]
2014–15 Increase 7.644 million[2]
– interchange  Increase 0.372 million[2]
Railway companies
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
Post-grouping Southern Railway
Key dates
1856 first station opened as Balham Hill
1863 present station opened (LB&SCR)
1926 Opened (C&SLR)
1940 Closed for repairs (Underground)
1941 Reopened (Underground)
Listed status
Listing grade II (Underground station)
Entry number 1225887[3]
Added to list 16 June 1987
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
WGS84 51°26′33″N 0°09′07″W / 51.4426°N 0.152°W / 51.4426; -0.152Coordinates: 51°26′33″N 0°09′07″W / 51.4426°N 0.152°W / 51.4426; -0.152
London Transport portal
UK Railways portal

Balham is an interchange station consisting of adjacent London Underground and National Rail stations in Balham in the London Borough of Wandsworth, south London, England. The station is at the junction of Balham High Road (A24), Chestnut Grove and Balham Station Road. It is in Travelcard Zone 3. The two stations are connected, though owned and operated separately with separate ticket-issuing facilities and gatelines.

National Rail station

Platforms looking west towards Wandsworth Common

The National Rail station is on the Brighton Main Line, four stops from London Victoria. Although on a north-south route, the tracks pass through Balham on an approximately east-west axis, with Victoria towards the west. The station is managed by Southern. The platforms are on an 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.[4] 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,[5] 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.

Original location, 1862
Rebuilt location, 1895
Balham station

The original station was on the west side of Balham High Road. It was resited by the LB&SCR to its present location in 1863 as part of works to widen the line, and improve the route between East Croydon and Victoria.[6] The new station was named Balham.[5] Further remodelling of the line was undertaken in 1890 and 1897 to increase capacity.[7] It was renamed Balham and Upper Tooting on 9 March 1927, reverting to Balham on 6 October 1969.[5]

The lines through the station to Crystal Palace were electrified in 1911,[8] by means of the LB&SCR 'Elevated Electric' overhead system. Work on electrifing the remaining services through the station had begun in 1913 but was interrupted by the First World War and not completed until 1925.[9] 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.[10]

When sectorisation was introduced in the 1980s, the national rail lines were served by Network SouthEast until the privatisation of the British Railways. Upon privatisation in the 1990s, the national rail lines came under the Connex South Central franchise, which was replaced by the current operator in 2000.

London Underground station

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 had and other stations on the extension had opened earlier, on 13 September 1926.[11] The station is between Clapham South and Tooting Bec stations.

East building
West building
Underground station

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.[12] 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.[13] The Underground station buildings are listed Grade II.[3]

The station has entrances on the east and west sides of Balham High Road linked by a pedestrian subway beneath the road. 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 directly adjacent to a National Rail station.

Second World War

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[14] – although some sources report 64 shelterers and 4 railway staff were killed[15] 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.[16]

The memorial plaque in the entrance hall

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.[17]

Accidents and Incidents

The bombing of the station during World War II 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:[18]

Additional services to/from Milton Keynes Central also terminate and start at Balham.


London Buses routes 155, 249, 255, 315, 355 and N155 serve the station.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. 1 2 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.
  4. "Balham Station Map". National Rail Enquires. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 23. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Southern Electric by G.T.Moody
  9. Moody, G.T. (1968). Southern Electric 1909-1968=Ian Allan. pp. 7, 23.
  10. Moody, (1968) p.25.
  11. Rose, Douglas (1999). The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History. Douglas Rose/Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-219-4.
  12. Martin, Andrew (2013) [2012]. Underground Overground. Profile Books. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-84668-478-4.
  13. Orsini, Fiona (2010). Underground Journeys: Charles Holden's designs for London Transport (PDF). V&A + RIBA Architecture Partnership. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  14. "Casualty List for Balham". Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  15. Croome; Jackson (2003). Rails Through the Clay. Capital. p. 275.
  16. "Northern Line, Dates". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Archived from the original on 16 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  18. GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Tables 170-172, 176 & 181 (Network Rail)

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Balham railway station.
Preceding station National Rail Following station
Wandsworth Common   Southern
London Victoria to London Bridge via Crystal Palace
London Victoria to Sutton via Crystal Palace
  Streatham Hill
Brighton Main Line and Sutton & Mole Valley Line (Epsom Branch) and West London Route
  Streatham Common or
Sutton & Mole Valley Line (Horsham Branch)
  Mitcham Eastfields
Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
towards Morden
Northern line
  Proposed Future Development  
Preceding station   Crossrail   Following station
Line 2
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