Arts & Culture  Features

New connections: Arch 42

The Victorian railway Arch 42 in Nine Elms

Published on
March 16, 2023


The Nine Elms neighbourhood is known for its railway lines and roads connecting the area with other parts of London.

Arch 42 is a new railway arch connection between communities on each side of the tracks, creating a new public walking route between the new Northern line Tube stations, Wandsworth Road, New Covent Garden Market, Nine Elms Lane and the River Thames. It’s part of a package of infrastructure and public realm improvements being made by Wandsworth Council, TfL and local partners as the Nine Elms area grows.

This old railway arch forms a section of the Victorian railway viaduct which carries the South Western main line into Waterloo station. 

The route through the archway will be distinguished by attractive gateways chosen through a competition run by Wandsworth Council in partnership with London Festival of Architecture (LFA). The gateways have been designed by Projects Office and will be installed in 2023.

Quick link: the new pedestrian route through Arch 42 before the gateways are installed

Where is it?

Arch 42 runs under the railway lines connecting Ponton Road, SW11 and New Covent Garden Market.

Arch 42 location on a map

The chosen design

The design was judged to show the best balance between innovation and artistic merit as well as showing deliverability and practicality for long term maintenance.

With a nod to Nine Elms’ railway heritage, Projects Office have worked with local schoolchildren, residents and traders to reimagine traditional railway station ‘daggerboards’ and develop Tunnel Visions.

The proposals include an archway highlighting the tunnel’s southern entrance with integrated seating and lighting, a decorative arch to the north, a ‘community totem’ which glows at night and plentiful planting.


Daggerboards – video workshop

Do you know what a ‘daggerboard’ is? The name refers to the decorative wooden pieces hanging from railways station canopies built between the late 1850s and 1930s, which helped to remove water from the canopy.

Download a handy DIY guide to make your own daggerboard

Or roll up your sleeves and follow a short video workshop with Megan from Projects Office to design your own daggerboard with paper, scissors and glue.


  • November 2020, an expert judging panel shortlisted six design teams and asked them to propose designs for the gateways.
  • The design teams came up with six proposed designs to transform the railway arch and in December 2020 a public consultation gathered views from across the community. Nearly 700 members of the public took part and sent in their comments on the shortlisted designs to inform the judging panel.
  • In January 2021, the winning design was selected by the panel, including David Bickle (partner, Hawkins\Brown), Louise Dransfield (Former London editor, Estates Gazette), Yinka Ilori (artist and designer), Christopher Mansfield (chartered engineer, Network Rail), Alex Rinsler (Nine Elms strategic lead for culture, Wandsworth Council) and Tamsie Thomson (Managing Director, New London Architecture).
  • In February 2021the council and LFA revealed that Projects Office won the competition with their original design Tunnel Visions.
  • September 2021, Arch 42 was opened up by Wandsworth Council and TfL working together with Network Rail and New Covent Garden Market Authority to create a new pedestrian route.
  • Summer 2023, Projects Office Tunnel Visions design will be installed.

Also in the area

Merchants Way is a vibrant new walking route open to the public which runs through New Covent Garden Market, linking the Nine Elms Northern line Tube station with Arch 42.

Merchants Way creates a guided walkway through the busy New Covent Garden Market vehicle parking area

Gateways photo gallery

Arch 42 is just the latest gateway to be re-designed or improved in Nine Elms. See pictures of more key gateways around the area in our online photography gallery created for LFA2021.

Related Stories