New Cross Station, London

New Cross is a major transport hub in London fare zone 2. It’s also home to Goldsmiths, part of the University of London, which hosts a thriving (if rough-around-the-edges) cultural scene.

The railway boom of the early Victorian era saw two companies drive lines through here. The London and Croydon Railway built a station on the New Cross Road close to Hatcham in 1839.


As far as London goes, New Cross has a rich and diverse history. The area first saw substantial growth when the canals were drained to allow railway construction. During the Industrial Revolution, the area exploded with factories and houses being constructed to house the workforce. By the 1860s the district had grown to over 17,000 residents.

During England’s railway boom of the 1830s two competing railway companies began driving lines through the area. The London and Croydon Railway Company established a station at New Cross Road near Hatcham in 1839 while the South Eastern Railway (SER) opened another on 30 July 1849 at North Kent Junction which connected Strood with London Bridge via Lewisham. Both stations were called New Cross.

When the SER’s North Kent line merged with the Tonbridge Cut-Off route west of Lewisham, New Cross became an extremely busy station with four parallel running tracks serving trains to and from London Bridge. This situation remained until the London Bridge area re-signalling of 1972 to 1978 when New Cross station was reduced in size and its platforms were merged into one unified face.

The station was the focus of a massive protest in 1981 following the New Cross fire which killed 13 black people. The protest led to the formation of the League of Coloured Peoples which was the precursor to Black Lives Matter. Today the station houses one of London’s busiest stations and is home to the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.


One of the topics regularly discussed here on Carto Metro is the need for many of London’s railway stations to be able to handle modern passenger volumes. Although this issue was once largely the preserve of London Underground and, until recently, Network Rail, there are now increasing numbers of reports indicating that the system is reaching its limits.

New Cross Gate station certainly falls into this category – with passenger numbers doubling since the arrival of the East London Line in 2010, entry and exit levels at the station now exceed 4million per annum. This is far higher than the capacity of the mainline through the station and it is understandable that this is leading to a great deal of frustration amongst passengers.

The original layout at the station saw four tracks serving two island platforms with a pair of side platforms at each end. This was an arrangement typical of the period before the London and Croydon and the Brighton Railway companies merged to form the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1846. Similar set-ups can still be seen today at Yeovil Pen Mill and Sevenoaks Tubs Hill on the Tonbridge Cut-Off line for example.

The ‘down’ island platform extended for about 530-feet while the ‘up’ platform was somewhat shorter at 480-feet. Both islands were host to platform canopies that were about 185-feet long and all of the platforms were linked together by a 145-foot-long enclosed glazed footbridge that backed onto a smart station building straddling the track at the southern end.


Some railway stations never seem to change and others are forever re-invented. New Cross Gate is the latter and it seems that it will remain so for some time to come.

In the old days this was a substantial station with multiple platforms serving each running line on the approaches to London. The new overbridge and platform arrangements do little to diminish this status but even if there was a will to allow some fast trains to stop there would be very few opportunities to make it work on the current track layout.

There are good railway operational reasons not to allow these trains to stop at New Cross Gate and it is unlikely that this will change if the Thameslink Programme continues as planned. The draft Sussex Area Route Study seems to confirm this.

It would be possible to create a space for these trains on platform 5 (the up slow platform) but this is likely to require the removal of some track and it is something that Network Rail usually avoids if at all possible as it tends to reduce capacity. An alternative arrangement might involve creating a second platform on the west side but this would also need bridge reconstruction which is another thing that Network Rail tends to avoid if at all possible.


New Cross Gate is served by a number of trains each day, connecting the city centre to the south east. The fastest trains make the journey in around five minutes and cover a distance of around seven kilometres. On weekdays, the first train to leave New Cross departs around 05:31 and the last service leaves at about 00:40.

Tickets cost from around PS5 for a standard single to London Bridge, depending on the time of travel. Train prices tend to be higher on weekends and holidays. Buying advance tickets as early as possible is the best way to save on a train ticket from New Cross Gate. Railcards are also available to help you save on your trip. They’re ideal for those who frequently travel to and from New Cross Gate or plan to do so in the future. They’re available for 16-25, Family and Friends, and Disabled Persons railcard holders.

If you are travelling by car to New Cross Gate, Moovit makes it easy and convenient to find parking near the station. You can save your favourite spots, or choose to be alerted when there’s a space free. You can also book your parking in advance, so you don’t have to worry about finding a spot on the day. Championing parking convenience, JustPark is a leading choice amongst 13 million UK drivers.

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