We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

Which London hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Canada
Level Contributor
116 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

Hi folks,

My wife and I are planning our London trip in May. When we leave London, we were hoping to catch a Southern Railways train to Gatwick Airport, changing at Clapham Junction. We'll each have a medium-to-large sized suitcase on wheels, plus a backpack each--we're both in pretty decent shape, but wouldn't want to lug everything up multiple flights of stairs at once if possible.

1. Will there be any issues taking that much luggage on what is, if I understand it, essentially a commuter train? Is there any place to park the luggage on the train next to, or near, our seats?

2. How difficult is it to navigate the platform transfer (if any) at Clapham Junction? Bear in mind that I read maps for fun, and am perfectly adept at following signs in railway stations; so as long as everything's clearly laid out, I should be fine...but are there any issues that might make this an undesirable plan to get to Gatwick? I've read some people on TripAdvisor warning people that the Clapham Jct transfer can be dicey.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
54,396 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

Most Southern services don't require a change of train at Clapham Junction, at least not those starting from London Victoria. If your departure point is London Bridge you may be able to find a through train as well, no need to change at CJ.

Trains from London towards Gatwick will be heaving with commuters between about 1630 - 1900. If you're not travelling at those times you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a place for you and your bags. There are bag storage areas in the carriages and between the seats but they're not massive. There is a bit more room near the doors of the carriages.

Clapham Junction, given that it's a very busy station, is underenhanced with lifts. Stairs are often the order of the day: down from one platform, a walk through the subway then back upstairs to another platform. Meh.

What will be your start point in central London and on what day of the week and time of day do you need to travel to LGW?

Canada
Level Contributor
116 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

hey there, thanks for the almost immediate reply :)

We'll be leaving from West Brompton, which as far as I know does require a change at Clapham Jct. Our flight leaves at around 3:30pm on Thursday, June 2, so I'm guessing we'll need to catch a train at WB at around 12pm or so.

Edited: 31 January 2011, 06:04
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
54,396 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

You're welcome.

Ah, so you'd like to take the Overground from West Brompton to Clapham Junction, a journey of about ten minutes. The alternate would be to take the Underground to Victoria and start from there; the Tube journey would take about 15 minutes (with an easy change at Earl's Court) but with some stairs to climb at Victoria.

If memory serves, the Overground arrives at a low numbered platform at CJ with departures to LGW from platforms 13 and 14. I don't think there are lifts from or two either of those platforms, so it would be a matter of your tolerance for schlepping.

The advantage of starting the journey at Victoria would mean that you would board the train at its start and find room for your bags with a bit of breathing space rather than having to board a train with pax in situ.

Canada
Level Contributor
116 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

Yeah, I thought about doing the Tube to Victoria start (actually our hotel is just as close to Earls Court as it is to W. Brompton), but I was leery because of the work notices and warnings posted on TfL's website regarding Victoria, which will be in effect through January 2012 (!). They make it sound like it will be best to just use other stations if at all possible, and I figured I'd heed their advice.

As long as the stairs aren't too daunting at Clapham we'll be okay to attempt it. A simple flight would be fine--several flights would not be :)

Totally get what you're saying about boarding at beginning of journey rather than with pax in situ. That does give me pause. Hmmmm.....

Is it indeed the "Overground" from W. Brompton to CJ? I was under the impression that there was an Overground train AND a Southern Railways train that both make the journey, but that they are different entities. My understanding is that "Overground" refers to a specific part of the TfL network separate and distinct from other companies such as Southern and First Capital and so on, and does not just generically refer to "any train that does not travel underground" :) Am I correct in that, or am I misunderstanding the nomenclature?

London, UK
Level Contributor
7,040 posts
209 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

It is as TP mentions. The London Overground trains come into platform 2 (platform 1 does not exist) at Clapham Junction. This is at the northern side of the station. There is a single flight of stairs down to the underpass which you use to get to the other platforms. London Overground is under the control of Transport for Lndon but in other respects operates like other train companies. I think that once an hour there is a Southern Train that stops at West Brompton and goes to East Croydon - the connection there between platforms is easier with luggage because there are ramps down to the underpass..

UK
Level Contributor
49,561 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

<<I was leery because of the work notices and warnings posted on TfL's website regarding Victoria, which will be in effect through January 2012 (!). They make it sound like it will be best to just use other stations if at all possible,>>

That doesn't affect you, its for access via tube, you were considering taxi?

There are no issues getting overground trains from Victoria, especially at the time of day you are going, well clear of commuters, treat yourself and get a taxi there.

FWIR its a lottery changing trains at CJ, they are putting in lifts, but very very slowly, they seem to have been doing it for the past 18 months, and still lots of mess with no sign of completion, if there is no lift you have to drag your luggage up and down about 25-30 steps each way

Nice, France
Destination Expert
for London, Brighton
Level Contributor
6,106 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

It looks as though the West Brompton - East Croydon service also requires a change at Clapham Junction these days.

I have to admit, I'm not fond of changing platforms at Clapham Junction with anything other than a small suitcase. I'd be tempted to follow TP's advice and start your journey from London Victoria. The TFL warning is for the evening rush hour, from 1600 - 2000.

Cotswolds
Level Contributor
11,381 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

The difficulties at CJ are:

crowds. You can avoid these by just waiting a few minutes for them to disperse

stairs - either up to the footbridge or down to the underpass. Nothing that horrendous but not ideal with luggage

The Southern service from West Brompton DOES normally go through to East Croydon. It won't show up on the standard journey planner because it's slightly quicker to change at CJ on a through journey to Gatwick

Edited: 31 January 2011, 11:31
london
Destination Expert
for Nile River Valley
Level Contributor
11,929 posts
219 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

Yes, you have to carry your luggage up/down one flight of steps. along an underpass or overpass to the relevant platform, then back down/up again. There may be people streaming all round you.

It's a bore but so long as you can pick up your case it takes max 5 minutes. I am a small female in middle age and find it no problem. There are notices in the under/overpass telling you which platform you need.

Stirling, United...
Destination Expert
for Stirling
Level Contributor
13,480 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: how hard is it to xfer at Clapham Jct with luggage?

At Clapham Jn, there are flights of between 28 and 40 steps up to every platform from the underpass at the station.

There's a detailed plan at

nationalrail.co.uk/stations/sjp/CLJ/plan.html

which shows that the flights of stairs are broken into sections of about 15.