East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Poor transport links: any one else thinking of fleeing East Dulwich?

Is any one else thinking of fleeing East Dulwich because they're fed up with poor transport links? Sometimes I get the impression we live in zone 20, not in zone 2! Have you considered any alternatives? Is there any particular area you'd recommend?

It is hard to get any kind of reliable advice, because it seems that most people are dedicated to convincing themselves and others that wherever they bought is the best location, and that they don't live more centrally because Nowheresville is nicer, not because it's cheaper. I have heard phrases like "we moved to Peckham because it's cooler than South Ken" or "we used to live in Notting Hill but don't miss it now that we're in Catford" or "it only takes 10 minutes from Bromley to Victoria" (no, it does not, unless you fly by helicopter!). Honestly, it's ridiculous!

When we bought our current property in East Dulwich, about 5 years ago (after living in the area for a few years), we knew public transport wasn't great, but that was the reason why East Dulwich was so much cheaper than many other zone 2 areas south of the river. Of course we knew there was no tube, but decent train links to London Bridge, and (via Denmark Hill/Peckham Rye) to the overground, Victoria and the City made us think the area provided good value for money. In fact, commuting to London Bridge or Canary Wharf was faster from here than from, say, posh High Street Kensington.

Over the last few years, the train service has become the shambles we all know about, roads have become way more congested (possibly because of roadworks and because of the idiotic segregated cycle lanes, which have reduced road space for everyone, including buses), but it seems that property prices have risen more in East Dulwich than in other, better connected SE areas, e.g. Clapham or Balham.

Any thoughts?
Yes - instead of moaning about "idiotic" cycle lanes, use them.
Clapham is better connected I'd reckon.

You could try Greenwich etc and see if you can find anything that has a descent transport link.

Me and my missus have been looking at properties on Oval. I've been in ED for many years but the past 2 years have been dreadful due to the commute. That and the lack of policing around ED on top makes ED a less desirable place to live.
What is idiotic is giving priority to a private form of transport, which can only be used by a minority of the population, over public transport (like busses), which can be used by everyone. All the more so because cycle lanes are used much less in the winter, when it rains, and outside of the 8-9am / 5-6.30pm commuting times: outside of those times, I see semi-empty cycle lanes, and incredibly congested public roads. Bus lanes have been removed all over London to make way for these cycle lanes; getting by bus to Vauxhall now takes forever thanks to this enlightened decision, because busses no longer have their own lane for a significant part of the journey.

I do not cycle because I consider pushbikes more dangerous than motorcycles in a city like London: cyclists wear no protective gear (bicycle helmets are like pasta drainers, covering only a tiny portion of the head, and, of course, wearing any kind of impact protection the way motorcyclists do would make the ride very unconformable), are harder to spot, are basically silent (a loud motorcycle is noticed more easily by other motorists), go slower than the rest of the traffic, which has an incentive in overtaking them (which is dangerous), etc etc. Most accidents happen in congested urban areas, so it's not true that protection is only needed by motorcyclists doing 160 mph on a track day (if anything, a track is safer than central London). What else? In many years in London I have never seen a single cyclist with mirrors installed; oh, and am I allowed to mention that most cyclists seem to show no awareness of the most basic road safety rules, not to mention common sense? Ever wondered why the stickers on trucks say "cyclists stay back" rather than "motorcyclists stay back"?

Anyway, these are all moot points because the question was not on the merit of cycling!
Yes. Getting into work on time is becoming more and more difficult / unpredictable for lot's of people.
It is a fact that cycle lanes have slowed traffic. Buses are taking longer than ever and less and less people are using them, which means more people are using cars....

It's not a good state of affairs.

I think cycling is still too dangerous with no restrictions on heavier traffic / delivery lorries.

I can't really see it improving either as there are no plans I'm aware of
geobz Wrote:

Clapham is better connected I'd reckon.

You could try Greenwich etc and see if you can
find anything that has a descent transport link.


I have heard good things about Blackheath; the high street is much smaller than ED, and I guess there are fewer schools, but of course you can't have everything.

I'd like Clapham or Balham a lot; they are still more expensive than ED, but I get the impression the difference is smaller than it was when we bought in ED. The Balham to Victoria line is Southern Rail (aargh!) but there's the Northern line, and Crossrail 2 will probably get there eventually.
I don't know much about Tooting.

I know people who moved to Bromley, but Bromley South is served by Southern Rail, so that's a big no-no!
Have you ever tried to get on a tube from Clapham between 8 and 9 in the morning?
Only a minority of the population can ride a bicycle? Rather undermines your argument to say something which is demonstrably untrue in your first sentence.

Cars are a private form of transport to which almost 50% of London's population have no access, and there are nearly three times as many cyclists as car drivers in central London (180,000 vs 64,000), so why don't we ban private cars to make way for buses? Perhaps that would help prevent the 9,000 premature deaths motor vehicles cause each year.

Odd that on the one hand you think cycling on the road is incredibly dangerous but on the other don't want any segregated cycle lanes. No bikes at all would seem your ideal city.
Seems to be a common complaint but I'm not sure it holds much water. Southern trains have actually been running pretty reliably recently, just fine this morning despite the strike. Overground from Denmark Hill / Peckham Rye was opened in the last few years and has actually added a new and very useful connection. Buses have never been the quickest round here but there are new cleaner quieter more efficient models, and the number of services has definitely gone up.

Basically for anyone who moved here in the last 10 years, whatever price or rent you paid is dependent on the area (nice high street, nice period housing, relatively quiet/traffic free, decent schools etc) and the transport links are just one part of it. If you want to find something at a similar price with better transport links you're going to have to compromise on something else. That's how it works.

At the end of the day I'd say we're pretty lucky here, we have a nice area and it's really only 20 mins into London Bridge from ED station, or 15 mins round to Canada Water/12 mins into Victoria from Denmark Hill.

Sure we don't have the tube running every 3 mins and sometimes we have to stand/squash ourselves onto trains at busy times, but mostly you should have known that when you moved here, it hasn't really changed much, and at the end of the day you still get where you want to go, even if there's a 5-10 minute delay which might feel like hours to an impatient soul...
Abe_froeman Wrote:

Have you ever tried to get on a tube from Clapham
between 8 and 9 in the morning?

No, which is why I am asking for thoughts and opinions. I'd like to think it cannot be much worse than trying to take a train from East Dulwich to London Bridge this summer, since for most of the summer there was only one train per hour (7.30am, 8.30am, 9.30am, if I'm not mistaken).

Many moons ago, when you didn't need to be a trillionaire to live in zone 1, I lived in Victoria and remember that taking the tube there was an absolute nightmare. The journey from Victoria to Blackfriars was faster and easier by bus.

Seriously, what is the northern line from Balham or Clapham like in the morning? How many trains does one typically have to wait? How long can a commute from, say, Balham to London bridge take in the morning, realistically (ie taking into account all the trains which are too packed for you to board)?
One of the reasons I moved to ED was because there was no tube.

I think however we're very connected- better so than lots of places with the tube.

Within easy reach we have:

East Dulwich Station (mainline to London Bridge in ten mins)
Peckham Rye Station (mainline to London Bridge in nine, Victoria in less than 15, Overground to Shoreditch in 19, Dalston in 25)
Denmark Hill Station (as above)
Honor Oak Park Station (overground)

I have never (not once) failed to get a seat on a mainline train into the city on my commute (getting either the 7.30am or 7.50am trains into London Bridge). Oftentimes getting four seats to myself.


Endless reliable bus services into the City (40,42,78), the West End (12, 176), Victoria (185) and others.

Lots of buses that get to Elephant & Castle pretty quickly, where you can jump onto the Northern and Bakerloo lines.


I think we've excellent connections personally and as a personal preference I hate the tube at busy times so am quite glad to live without it.

I work with people that live in Balham and Clapham who despise their morning commute into the City.
Clapham and Balham aren't in SE London, they are both SW. They both have better transport links than ED and are correspondingly more expensive to rent/buy. There's no conundrum there.

I grew up in Bromley and there used to be a train that took about 12 mins to Victoria, I think the fastest one now is about 16 minutes. So if you live near Bromley South Stn and work somewhere near or well-connected to Victoria, you would have a fairly easy commute.
d.b Wrote:

Seems to be a common complaint but I'm not sure it
holds much water.

Well, my main form of commuting became my motorcycle about 2 years ago, when the service to/from London Bridge started to become too unreliable. This was because my commute, which used to be a reliable and bearable 40-45-minute journey door-to-door, started to take from 1 to 1.5 hours. I am not talking about the odd, occasional delay: I am talking about months and months when it would take me from 1 to 1.5 hours because trains were constantly cancelled for no reason.
I still rely on the train occasionally, and I do witness substantially more delays and cancellations now than when I moved to ED 5 years ago. It got to the point that I have to take into account that at least 1 or 2 trains might be cancelled: the few times I didn't I ended up being very late!

> Southern trains have actually
> been running pretty reliably recently, just fine
> this morning despite the strike.

How about the prolonged period over the summer, when there was basically one train per hour in the morning?

> Sure we don't have the tube running every 3 mins
> and sometimes we have to stand/squash ourselves
> onto trains at busy times, but mostly you should
> have known that when you moved here, it hasn't
> really changed much,

I beg to differ: it has changed substantially. Sure, there can always be the odd delay, the occasional cancellation, the unexpected problem... but they seem to have become way more frequent over the last 2 years or so!

> and at the end of the day you
> still get where you want to go, even if there's a
> 5-10 minute delay which might feel like hours to
> an impatient soul...

5-10 minutes? Wow, our experiences have been radically different, then!
DuncanW Wrote:

I grew up in Bromley

What do you think of Bromley vs ED? Cheaper but there's less of a high street?
The tube was so packed in Clapham in the mornings, I took to cycling and motorcycling.
Jules-and-Boo Wrote:

It is a fact that cycle lanes have slowed traffic.
Buses are taking longer than ever and less and
less people are using them, which means more
people are using cars....

I'm not so sure about more people using cars, at least not in the morning commute into zone 1: between congestion charge and the cost of parking in zone 1, driving to work in zone 1 is prohibitively expensive. I do see lots of minicabs, white vans and delivery vans. I do wonder if London doesn't have too many minicabs, and if something can/should be done to incentivise white vans, delivery vans and trucks to enter the congestion charge zone after, say, 9am. It would be useful to see if TFL publishes statistics on the type and number of vehicles entering the congestion charge zone by time.


rendelharris Wrote:

Only a minority of the population can ride a
bicycle? Rather undermines your argument to say
something which is demonstrably untrue in your
first sentence.

I didn't say a minority of the population is capable of riding a pushbike. What I mean is that only a minority of the population can and/or is willing to ride a bicycle for their daily commute. How about all those:
who live too far for cycling to be feasible?
who don't want to arrive at the office drenched in sweat and stinking?
who don't have shower facilities at the office, or who do have them but are always busy so it takes them forever to become presentable?
who need to arrive dressed smart and cannot get changed (eg meeting clients/business partners/etc)?
who are not fit enough?
who find it too dangerous? I have met more than one self-employed telling me they don't cycle to work because, unlike employees, if they have an accident they would get no pay for the period they are out of work.

> Cars are a private form of transport to which
> almost 50% of London's population have no access,
> and there are nearly three times as many cyclists
> as car drivers in central London (180,000 vs
> 64,000), so why don't we ban private cars to make
> way for buses?

As I wrote above, I'd be very surprised if the few cars I see in my daily commute into zone 1 are of people who actually drive their car to work, since that would be incredibly expensive, and rightly so.

> Odd that on the one hand you think cycling on the
> road is incredibly dangerous but on the other
> don't want any segregated cycle lanes. No bikes
> at all would seem your ideal city.

No, not odd at all, not in the slightest.
A city the size of London is not and cannot ever be cycle-friendly like Cambridge or Amsterdam.
Road space is a very scarce resource. It should not be allocated to a minority of users, to the detriment of the rest of the population (those whose bus journeys now take forever because bus lanes have bee removed). What is the capacity of a double decker bus? 80-90 people? How much road space would 80 to 90 bikes occupy, compared to that of a bus?
I have lived in the area a long time and commuting is getting more difficult in my opinion. The number of people using public transport has increased massively and capacity hasn't kept pace.
If you're happy in the area... remember that much of ED is walkable to Peckham Rye. Where you also have Thameslink and Overground trains in addition to Southern.

If you want the tube without necessarily higher house prices, go East. Look at places on the Central or Victoria line. Wanstead for a quieter area with lots of families. Walthamstow for somewhere more edgy/"up-and-coming". The Central line is good as it's quick and goes through both the City and the West End.

Clapham is quite a bit more expensive than ED, and you'll find it very hard to get on a train at peak time. Balham is OK I guess.. lots of junior bankers and rugby boys though. Greenwich and Blackheath (the good bits at least) are quite pricey... but nice places to live..
I think busses do take longer than say a couple of years ago – my 63 from Herne Tavern to the other side of Blackfriars used to be a reasonably consistent 45 minutes or so. Since the road works this has extended – at times considerably.
I took the decision to try cycling in January 2016 and have not looked back – you realise how central we are when it takes c30 minutes door to office door, no matter what the traffic, weather or who is on strike. Most workplaces have changing rooms/showers and its pretty flat all the way so you don't need to be fit.
Very little of the route I take is in competition with cars too – so not exactly the death trap some talk of. So I would advise people in ED to cycle in where possible.
DulwichLondoner Wrote:
Seriously, what is the northern line from Balham
or Clapham like in the morning? How many trains
does one typically have to wait? How long can a
commute from, say, Balham to London bridge take in
the morning, realistically (ie taking into account
all the trains which are too packed for you to
board)?

It massively depends on the time you want to board of course. But at Balham you stand a much better chance of getting on during busy periods due to the fact some people will be getting off to catch an overground train. Clapham South/Common is where things get really tough. My record was letting 6 trains go before managing to squeeze on one - 2-3 was more common. This would be at peak time of around 8.15. And no delayed trains contribute to that, it was one going though roughly every 90 seconds.

The journey to London Bridge will take around 20 mins from Balham if you factor in a small wait for your train.

Now, trains from ED have been awful in terms of regularity of late BUT they have stabilised a bit now and you can get a seat, even when we were down to 1 an hour it was still possible. And of course it is almost always possible on the return journey. So the question is how much do you value that space you get on the train? Do packed tube trains stress you out? If so you might not be so happy with a switch. Go and try it if you're seriously considering it (and not on a half-term/school holiday) because some people really can't handle being squished or in someone's armpit 30 mins of every day. More often than not you won't even have space to read a paper.

Outside of those peak times is when having the tube is ace: getting home from a night out, getting into town for the shops etc. if you can handle the daily squeeze for your commute then it can't be beaten.
I lived in Tooting(Bec)for years and would wait on average for 3-4 tubes to go past before being able to squeeze on. Once it got to Balham it was impossible and I knew people who would get the tube down to Tooting Broadway so they had a better chance of getting on. When I moved to Clapham Common I gave up completely and got the bus to Vauxhall.
The other day I had to get the tube from Oval (at around 7.30) and waited for 15 minutes before I could get on not complaining though, that's the reality of travelling in rush hour.
ED is brilliantly served for London Bridge (when the trains run) and I'd much prefer getting the bus to work. Yes it takes a while but I'm generally more relaxed, get a seat most days and can hop off and walk if the traffic is shit. I do agree that the cycle lanes around Vauxhall have seriously slowed bus travel and the cycle lanes are not widely used but that's life. Would rather be stuck on a bus than tube any day.
That's good advice from Jeremy. I'm hoping that the trains will start to settle down soon (to some extent this has started to happen). Longer term it would be great if it were transferred over to TFL. Peckham Rye is quite well served, but if you live to the South of ED, it's a pretty long way.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit was march 13, 01:54pm by rahrahrah.

Mmm, I see - thanks. Does anyone have any experience about the trains from Balham to Victoria? Do they tend to be so packed that sometimes people cannot get on board, or are they more reasonable? The train from Balham to Victoria + bus may be a decent alternative to the tube. Now I often take the train from Denmark Hill to Victoria + bus.
Motorcycling for me to Old Street, no worries at all. Get half decent gear and it's not even far enough to get cold.
Occasional train or overground in from Forest Hill.
What about Brixton?
d.b Wrote:

Seems to be a common complaint but I'm not sure it
holds much water. Southern trains have actually
been running pretty reliably recently, just fine
this morning despite the strike. Overground from
Denmark Hill / Peckham Rye was opened in the last
few years and has actually added a new and very
useful connection. Buses have never been the
quickest round here but there are new cleaner
quieter more efficient models, and the number of
services has definitely gone up.

Basically for anyone who moved here in the last 10
years, whatever price or rent you paid is
dependent on the area (nice high street, nice
period housing, relatively quiet/traffic free,
decent schools etc) and the transport links are
just one part of it. If you want to find something
at a similar price with better transport links
you're going to have to compromise on something
else. That's how it works.

At the end of the day I'd say we're pretty lucky
here, we have a nice area and it's really only 20
mins into London Bridge from ED station, or 15
mins round to Canada Water/12 mins into Victoria
from Denmark Hill.

Sure we don't have the tube running every 3 mins
and sometimes we have to stand/squash ourselves
onto trains at busy times, but mostly you should
have known that when you moved here, it hasn't
really changed much, and at the end of the day you
still get where you want to go, even if there's a
5-10 minute delay which might feel like hours to
an impatient soul...

Southern rail has been running perfectly fine lately? You sir must be living in another planet.

They have delays and cancellations all over the place, the fact that the specific train you've been using is there doesn't mean the rest of them are running properly. Also check your commute times, you'll find out that your trains are always delayed by 5-10 minutes reaching their destination.
"Pretty reliably" is not the same as "perfectly fine". I'm with d.b. on this one.
Me too. Public transport has definitely worsened, and traffic congestion has also worsened, in my opinion.
rahrahrah Wrote:

What about Brixton?

I think if you want a good location, it's going to be quite expensive (i.e. more than ED)

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