Have your say on rail industry plans for growth in South London and Sussex

Published on : Saturday, October 18, 2014

Network-Rail-300x150 (2)Plans to make sure the railway in south London, Surrey and Sussex can continue to accommodate the huge growth in passenger journeys have been published by Network Rail – and members of the public are being encouraged to have their say as part of a 90-day consultation period.

The company’s Sussex Route Study, put together with the help of Transport for London (TfL), the Department for Transport (DfT) and the train operating companies covers lines from London Victoria and London Bridge to Brighton via Gatwick Airport, and including suburban services in south and south east London.
This includes some of the busiest sections of railway in Britain, around London Bridge, Clapham Junction and East Croydon.


Within a decade, demand for rail travel into London Bridge is forecast to grow by 64 per cent. By tackling the bottlenecks in and around the capital, improvements can be made to the number and reliability of services along the entire route.


The study looks at how to build upon improvements already planned for the coming years, including the massive Thameslink programme transforming London Bridge and north-south travel through London.


Steve Knight, Network Rail area director for Sussex, said: “This part of our network already brings more than 60,000 passengers into central London every hour at peak times and that number is only going to grow.


“Over the last twenty years the industry has been able to significantly increase the capacity on the railway, but we’re fast approaching the point where there simply isn’t any more space for more trains on the busiest parts of the network. So we have to look at ways of increasing the capacity of our network further.


“The plans we are proposing would provide the capacity for an additional 9,000 passengers every peak hour on the Brighton Main Line on top of the additional capacity that the Thameslink Programme will already deliver into London Bridge in 2018. In addition, we and Transport for London are planning for growth on our suburban routes in south and south east London, which also need provision for longer, more frequent trains.


“We are also looking at what kind of improvements we can offer in reliability and frequency by introducing new technology which will allow us to squeeze even more out of the existing network.
“It’s fantastic that more and more people want to travel by train and we want to provide the railway to take them where they are going.”


Among the potential options for the Brighton Main Line identified by the route study are:

Grade separation of two key junctions at Windmill Bridge, where trains to London Bridge and Victoria from the Brighton Main line currently cross each other on flat junctions.

New platforms at East Croydon
Investigation of further introduction of cab based signalling and automatic train operation on key sections of the route – building on the first roll out of that technology already planned for 2018 between London Bridge and St Pancras
Improvements to junctions north of Gatwick Airport
Grade separation of Stoats Nest junction at Coulsdon where slow and fast lines converge
Other potential improvements include:

Improvements to passenger capacity at Clapham Junction, East Croydon and Tulse Hill stations in London.
Longer, more frequent trains on suburban lines on the West London Line and East London Line.


Those options should provide enough capacity to cope with the expected growth from 2024 up to 2043 – the limit of the report. They have also been chosen to provide the best use of investment for the maximum number of passengers on the route.


The report notes that the Lewes-Uckfield trackbed should be protected. It finds that the best use of investment to improve the journeys of the maximum number of passengers is to tackle capacity constraints on the existing line – and it does not find there to be a case for building a new railway within this timescale.


* Cab signalling and automatic train operation allow trains to run closer together, increasing capacity and safety.




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