Passengers using Clapham Junction station were treated to a host of commemorative celebrations this week as South West Trains teamed up with Wandsworth Council to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this world-famous station.
A hundred and fifty years ago Clapham Junction, which is located in the heart of Battersea, opened its doors to its first rail passengers.
Since then, the famous station has become the busiest interchange station in Europe serving 40 million people a year, with over 20 million using the station to connect in with other services.
Today, passengers at the station were invited to go back in time and look at some of the history of this famous station. Copies of The Times newspaper from 2 March 1963, the opening day of the station, were given away to passengers by newspaper agents dressed in traditional Victorian costume. Members of staff also gave away complimentary vintage Oyster card wallets created in partnership with Wandsworth Council.
An exhibition of archive images provided by Wandsworth Council exploring the historical significance of trains and train travel at Clapham Junction, from station to railway was unveiled to the public at the Brighton Yard entrance.
Members of customer service staff from the station – with over 150 years of combined service to the railway - took part in a photocall next to giant ‘150’ figures in recognition of the station reaching this grand age.
Jake Kelly, Customer Service Director for the South West Trains – Network Rail Alliance, said: “It’s not easy to last 150 years; Clapham Junction has had to constantly reinvent itself to meet the needs of modern passengers. In recent years, we have focused on key improvements to make the station accessible to all, and have opened a new entrance to ease the flow of passengers and make it easier for passengers to move around the station.”
Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said: “As the railway network has grown over the last 150 years Clapham Junction has benefitted from more and more connections, with new routes fanning out across London and the south of England. At Wandsworth Council we believe the station has even greater potential and we are working with the rail authorities to see that it’s achieved.”
From a rural feel with lavender fields nearby in 1863, the station quickly took its place as the major local transport hub it has become today. In recent times, the station has been transformed and gained a third entrance and extra staffed ticket offices, cycle parking and a taxi rank. All platforms have been equipped with lifts, making it easier for all passengers to access the station.