This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 18/10/2018.
Major plans for East Croydon station to get extra platforms move step closer
New homes and offices could be built above and around the train station if the plans are approved.
Major plans to create two extra platforms at East Croydon station and build new homes above and around the station have moved a step closer.
There is a desperate need to improve train services through Croydon as it is the most congested part of Britain’s rail network, with 30% more passengers and trains passing through the area each day than London Euston and King’s Cross stations combined.
Network Rail has Government funding to improve the rail network for the 300,0000 passengers who travel between Croydon and central London or towards Brighton every day.
As well as increasing the number of platforms at East Croydon from six to eight, the plan is make the station bigger with a new concourse offering better access to platforms and also out to the town centre
Key to the upgrade, if approved, is the plan to create a series of new railway flyovers to solve the ‘bottleneck’ problems at Windmill Junction, the major interchange at Selhurst. By replacing the existing flat junctions, it means fewer trains would have to wait at red signals.
According to Network Rail, the changes at East Croydon station would mean a “bigger concourse with improved facilities for passengers”.
It would also help the ongoing regeneration of Croydon town centre, it claims, with potential for new homes and offices to be built above and around the station.
As part of the plans step-free access would be added to Norwood Junction station for the first time.
John Halsall, Network Rail route managing director for the South East, said: “A reliable railway is absolutely critical to Croydon’s economic future and our proposal to remove the bottleneck will mean significant investment for the benefit of local people, regardless of whether or not they travel by rail.
“For too long, train performance on the lines through Croydon have been below the level that passengers expect and deserve.
“While a number of factors have contributed to these issues in recent years, the basic layout of our railway through the Croydon area and the bottleneck it creates means reliability won’t ever improve to acceptable levels without significant changes.”
Comparing trains per day
|Location||Total weekday trains|
|London Kings Cross||590|
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of Croydon Council, said: “Croydon Council has long been campaigning for more reliable rail services connecting Croydon with central London, the south coast and Gatwick Airport.
“These proposals are a ‘must have’ to help us in our ambition to be London’s biggest growth borough.
“We’re well aware of the impact delays and cancellations can have on people living and working in our borough, as well as those visiting.”
What’s wrong with Croydon’s rail service?
The infamous Croydon bottleneck is the most congested part of Britain’s rail network – and it’s not even close.
About 300,000 passengers travel to and through Croydon on the Brighton Main Line and its branches each day.
That’s 30 per cent more passengers every day than Euston and King’s Cross combined.
What’s even worse is train punctuality on the Brighton Main Line is the lowest of any major route as the bottleneck is extra sensitive to even a minor incident.
What is the Croydon bottleneck?
Passenger numbers have doubled since 2000 on the Brighton Main Line and this part of the network is a regular on the lists of the country’s most crowded services.
Train punctuality on the Brighton Main Line is the lowest of any major route as the bottleneck magnifies the impact of even the most minor incident or delay.
But there isn’t any room for more trains to cope with the increasing demand on the line because of the Croydon bottleneck.
Network Rail warns this will lead to even more overcrowding if nothing is done.
The tracks to the north split into routes to Victoria and London Bridge, creating what’s known as the Selhurst triangle – or Croydon bottleneck.
Around 75 million train passengers go through Croydon each year, which is up from 45 million in 2005 and expected to rise to 90 million by the early 2030s.
As part of a £300m government-funded programme to tackle hotspots and boost rail reliability in the South East, Network Rail is already carrying out a major project to upgrade tracks and signalling on the southern end of the Brighton Main Line.
Work is taking place at weekends as well as during a nine-day block in February 2019. Other ongoing improvements to the line include power supply upgrades across Sussex to allow longer and more frequent trains to run in the future.
Network Rail is going to host a six-week public consultation on the East Croydon plans through November and December.
From November 5 to December 17, passengers, businesses and members of the public will be able to take part in an online consultation by visiting networkrail.co.uk/croydon
Network Rail will also host drop-in events from November 6-22 November so people can talk to members of the project team in person.
To find out more, click here .