Balham station

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Balham National Rail London Underground
Balham Underground Station - - 662533.jpg
Balham station east building including shared entrance
Balham is located in Greater London
Location of Balham in Greater London
Location Balham
Local authority London Borough of 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
2013 Increase 12.05 million[1]
2014 Increase 13.47 million[1]
2015 Increase 14.18 million[1]
2016 Increase 14.64 million[1]
2017 Decrease 14.31 million[1]
National Rail annual entry and exit
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]
2015–16 Increase 10.115 million[2]
– interchange  Increase 0.451 million[2]
2016–17 Decrease 8.751 million[2]
– interchange  Decrease 0.401 million[2]
2017–18 Decrease 8.463 million[2]
– interchange  Decrease 0.393 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
  • TfL station info page
  • Departures
  • Layout
  • Facilities
  • Buses
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
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transport portal
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

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.

On the National Rail network it is 4 miles 52 chains (7.5 km) measured from London Victoria.

It is in Travelcard Zone 3. The conjoined stations are owned and operated separately with different ticket machines 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. 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.[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 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.[6] Further remodelling of the line was undertaken in 1890 and 1897 to increase capacity.[7] It was named Balham then 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 electrifying 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 in the 1990s to the Connex South Central franchise, replaced by the current operator in 2000.

One of four Panels
Impressions of Balham

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 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 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. 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 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]

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:[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. ^ a b c d e "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLSX). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. January 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Casualty List for Balham". Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  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 21 January 2008.
  17. ^ "War Memorial: Balham Underground Railway Station Air Raid (1) (WMR-52421)". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  18. ^ (Timetable Nos. 170, 171, 172, 173, 176, and 180 May 2018)

External links

  • Train times and station information for Balham station from National Rail
  • London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
    • Balham station (east building), 1926
    • Balham station (west building), 1927
    • Ticket hall, 1934
    • Bomb crater
    • Damage on station platform

Impressions of Balham PMSA

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Wandsworth Common   Southern
London Victoria to London Bridge via Crystal Palace
London Victoria to West Croydon via Crystal Palace
  Streatham Hill
Brighton Main Line and Sutton & Mole Valley Line (Epsom Downs Branch) and West London Route
  Streatham Common or
Sutton & Mole Valley Line (Horsham Branch)
  Mitcham Eastfields
Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
towards Morden
Northern line
  Proposed Future Development  
Preceding station   Elizabeth line roundel.svg National Rail logo.svg Crossrail   Following station
Line 2
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