Tunnelling Works Contract for Elephant and Castle Station

Procurement for tunnelling works contract on stage one of the Elephant & Castle station capacity upgrade has kicked off. The new station box is due to be finished in 2022 and will provide safeguarding for the planned Bakerloo line extension.

Fifteen fire engines and 100 firefighters tackled a huge blaze in railway arches near the station this afternoon. The blaze shut down rail services at the busy transit hub.


Elephant and Castle has two linked London Underground stations, on the Northern and Bakerloo lines, plus a National Rail station serving local services to Mitcham, Sutton and Wimbledon and Thameslink suburban loop line services to Kentish Town and St Albans via Catford. The area is also served by a bus interchange.

The railway station is within walking distance of the historic Southwark Cathedral and the ruins of the old Roman Temple of Mithridates, and the main shopping areas of Newington Butts and Hayles Street. The local pub, The Elephant and Castle, was featured in a series of photographs taken by Bert Hardy in the 1940s and published in Picture Post magazine, and the music video for the 1982 hit Come on Eileen by the Dexys Midnight Runners was shot around the junction and the surrounding streets.

The Elephant and Castle roundabout is notorious as one of Britain’s worst cycling casualty hotspots, prompting TfL to remove the northern roundabout island and turn it into a traffic-free public space. The southern section of Cycleway 6 terminates here and continues northwards through the Elephant and Castle district to Blackfriars, Farringdon and Bloomsbury. In addition, the busy A3 road passes through the area.


London is home to 272 underground stations, with names ranging from Angel to Burnt Oak, but Elephant & Castle stands out as perhaps one of the most bizarre. The name, of course, derives from an area that has long been a major junction in the city’s road network. It is thought that the junction is at the convergence of two roads that were once part of a Roman route into Londinium. These were later replaced by the Old Kent Road and Newington Causeway. The area began life as a pair of villages, Walworth and Newington, set among market gardens, fields and open marshland.

In 1765, a blacksmiths was converted into an inn which took the name Elephant and Castle. It is thought that this was a reference to the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, which had a coat of arms showing an elephant with a castle. The elephant’s tusks symbolised the ivory handles used by the trade and the castle illustrated their large size.

As the century progressed, the area became a vibrant centre for business and entertainment. Residents lived in everything from modest almshouses to traditional terraces. Theatres opened and commerce boomed with grand new department stores opening up. Transport improved too with the first overland rail link in 1829, the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (Bakerloo) reaching Elephant & Castle in 1890 followed by trams in 1903 and motor buses in 1904. It was a bustling area that was dubbed the ‘Piccadilly of South London’.


For those traveling to Elephant & Castle station, there are a number of options for onward travel. The station is located on the London Underground, and services operate throughout the day. There are also a number of National Rail services that stop at the station, with a variety of connections to other areas across the south east of England.

The station is undergoing an upgrade and will eventually offer new entrances for the Northern and Bakerloo lines, with an integrated ticket hall. It’s been described by TfL and architect HawkinsBrown as “a key project to make south-east London a better place to live and work.”

TfL has launched the procurement process for the construction of tunnels that will connect the new station box built by Delancey with the existing Northern line platforms. The project is split into two stages, with stage one covering early enabling works and civil construction, while phase two will involve the fit-out of the station itself.

A Bakerloo line extension south to Camberwell has long been planned, though it remains unclear when, and if, this will ever be built. The proposal is backed by a number of groups, including London Councils, which represents the capital’s boroughs. A consultation on the proposed extension was held in 2014. The station is also served by buses, including night-time services operated by London Buses and Croydon Buses.


A lot of work has been put into the area. The Elephant Park development is more than half way through and has already delivered more than 2,300 apartments, 8600 sqm of retail, a two acre park and new commercial offices. It’s one of London’s largest regeneration efforts and aims to be climate positive when complete in 2025.

The station itself is being revamped as part of the wider regeneration. TfL is building a new entrance on the site of the former shopping centre, and have entered into an agreement with the developer that they will pay for and build the underground box before TfL fit it out for public use (a similar approach has been taken at Bank and Waterloo stations).

But the regeneration of Elephant and Castle doesn’t come without its critics. Locals worry that the smart, gentrified new town is being built at the expense of the old community. In particular they fear that small businesses are being pushed out by landlords looking to take advantage of the redevelopment and that there is not enough affordable housing being built. A group of residents formed the Elephant and Castle Community Benefit Society to campaign against the plans. The organisation recently published a report warning of a ‘land grab’ by developers and called on Southwark council to do more to protect the community interests of local traders.

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