Clapham Junction railway station is a major railway station and transport hub near St John's Hill in the south-west of Battersea in the London Borough of Wandsworth. Although it is in Battersea, the area around the station is commonly identified as Clapham Junction.
Routes from London's south and south-west termini, and , funnel through the station making it one of the busiest in Europe by number of trains using it, 100-180 per hour save for the five hours after midnight. The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services.
Before the railway came the area was rural and specialised in growing lavender; the street Lavender Hill is east of the station. The coach road from London to Guildford ran slightly south of the future station site, past The Falcon public house at the crossroads in the valley between St. John's Hill and Lavender Hill.
On 21 May 1838 the London and Southampton Railway, which became the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) that day, opened its line from as far as Woking. That was the first railway through the area but it had no station at the present site.
When the station was built much of Battersea was treated as and cast as a heavy industry district while Clapham a mile south-east of this point was fashionable. The railway companies, to attract a middle- and upper-class clientele, seized the unindustrial parish calculating being upon the slopes of Clapham's plateau would only re-inforce this distinction, leading to a long-lasting misunderstanding that the station is in Clapham. The railway companies were not alone in eschewing Battersea, from the 1880s until the 1950s the imposing private houses forming the streets of the district were commonly recorded by property-owning residents as 'Clapham Common N. Side, London' and 'Clapham Common W. Side, London' quite apart from those park-side streets. An action group, Love Battersea, was formed in 2005 to reduce the use of unofficial Clapham-dropping into addresses and conversation and re-acquaint streets nearest to Battersea's amenties with its amenities, working with local businesses and Wandsworth Borough Council to attract more tourists and visitors to Clapham Junction's 'café culture' high street, Battersea's traditional and historic high street and grand riverside green space, Battersea Park which annually hosts international charity events and professional circus and theatrical productions.
Additional station buildings were erected in 1874 and 1876.
A £39.5 million planning application from Metro Shopping Fund was withdrawn before governmental planning committee consideration on 20 May 2009.
A 'Heathrow Airtrack' to reduce the 95 minute journey by tube and Gatwick Express to Gatwick and unite the Great Western Main Line with Heathrow, Gatwick and the South Western Main Line was cancelled in 2011 following improvements to the 2005-built Heathrow Connect track from Hayes and Harlington and practical impediments, such as pressure for continued high frequency services on the three deemed 'entrenched' semi-fast and slow services between Clapham Junction and Staines. Overground, the change would have been at Clapham Junction.
Incidents and Accidents
Clapham rail disaster
On the morning of 12 December 1988 two collisions involving three commuter trains occurred slightly south-west of the station. Thirty-five people died and more than 100 were injured.