This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 10/07/2017.
How adding extra platforms at East Croydon station could help create 1,000 new jobs
Revamping East Croydon station could create 1,000 extra jobs in the borough, a report has revealed.
The first images have been released with the report showing what the station could look like if the major improvements go ahead.
The revamp would involve two new platforms being built and new bridges being constructed to the north of the station so that trains wouldn’t have to wait outside the station to safely cross other railway lines.
This bottleneck, known as Windmill Bridge, is the busiest junction of its kind in the country with around 1,600 train movements every weekday.
A report published today (Monday) which was commissioned by Gatwick Airport’s Growth Board states that the plans “urgently need progressing”.
It is hoped the improvements would mean more trains can run on the Brighton Main Line as a whole – and make it easier for Gatwick employees who live in Croydon to get to the airport.
The report says: “The main priority identified by the study [which looked at ways to improve Gatwick’s transport links] is to upgrade the capacity of the Brighton Main Line.
“The main bottleneck on the route is at East Croydon station and the layout of the important Windmill Junction where the [soon-to-be] Thameslink route to London Bridge and the [Southern Rail and Gatwick Express] routes to London Victoria diverge.
“Network Rail’s analysis shows that [by] removing this constraint [it] could deliver between six to eight more trains per hour on the route.
“This would remove the need to split and join trains from the south coast, reducing journey times and enabling more trains to operate to Reigate – both are current key connectivity gaps for the airport.
“If this was supported by some more modest changes to the railway track layout at Gatwick Airport station, then this would enable more trains to call there.
“The significant upgrade requires two additional platforms at East Croydon station and separating tracks using bridges at nearby flat junctions to remove conflicts at Windmill Junction.
“This is an urgent project since the required land at East Croydon station may be lost in the significant developments planned by the London Borough of Croydon.”
While the study’s main aim was to look at ways of making Gatwick more accessible, the report points out that these rail improvements could act as a boost to Croydon’s economy – as they could lead to the creation of more than 1,000 jobs in the borough.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: “The report recommends that East Croydon station is redesigned to create two new platforms – and that flyovers are used to untangle Windmill Junction where routes to London Bridge and London Victoria divide.
“Without these changes, both bottlenecks will prevent the full capacity on the Brighton Main Line being realised and will continue to affect the performance of existing services.
“The report also highlights the urgency of securing this project as the land required could be lost to the significant developments planned as part of the major regeneration of Croydon.”
Another recommendation outlined as a “priority” in the report suggests improvements to the M23 by providing an extra lane at peak times between Junctions 8 and 10.
This latest report comes after another study was published earlier this year, which identified a number of Network Rail’s “core” projects it intends to put forward to help increase capacity on the Brighton Main Line and reduce congestion.
If approved by the Government and funding is secured these schemes will be implemented between 2019 and 2024.