Fares, rail policy and DfT news

02.04.19

Network Rail buys up old Croydon sites in plans to fix Britain’s busiest railway bottleneck

Network Rail has bought two old Royal Mail depots and Volkswagen sites next to East Croydon Station as part of its plans to “unblock the London-Brighton railway bottleneck at Croydon.”

The purchase of the old Royal Mail building site opens the way for two new platforms to be built at the busy commuter station, and for new railway flyovers to be built to solve the ‘bottleneck’ problems at Windmill Junction.

Network Rail said the railway through Croydon is the busiest and most congested in Britain, with 1,700 trains travelling through it every weekday.

Due to the complex layout of the railway there, even minor incidents are magnified and can cause significant delays across the Brighton Main Line and beyond.

Network Rail is proposing to rebuild East Croydon station with two extra tracks and a large concourse, and remodel the railway through the Selhurst triangle by adding extra track, flyovers and diveunders.

It says the changes will lead to more reliable services and less delays, with the former Royal Mail and Volkswagen sites “key to making the upgrade possible.”

The old sorting office buildings have been empty for over five years and have held planning permission for other developments, including 200 flats, since 2015 – but the schemes have all fallen through.

The details of Network Rail’s proposals are still being developed and are subject to ongoing consultations with passengers, residents and business.

But John Halsall, Network Rail route managing director for the South East route, said that “by securing these important sites we have taken another step towards making the proposals a reality.”

“For too long passengers travelling on the Brighton Main Line have had to put up with an unreliable service.

“Unblocking the Croydon bottleneck is the only practical way to improve punctuality to a level passengers deserve and provide the extra capacity needed to accommodate rising passenger numbers.”

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