Surbiton station will benefit from a major £6.7m upgrade thanks to Department for Transport and Network Rail.
With passenger levels steadily growing as the nation recovers from Covid-19, the upgrades will improve passenger safety and journey times and should be finished by the end of May 2022.
Surbiton is the eighth busiest station on Network Rail’s Wessex route, with almost 9.5 million passengers passing through it during 2019-2020.
The work is intended to speed up exits from the station, whilst stopping passengers needing to queue on a single set of stairs, a common trigger for delays for South Western Railway (SWR) trains heading to Guildford, Hampton Court and Woking.
The construction of new staircases, a footbridge extension and ticket gates for platforms 3 and 4 have already begun, with work on the project set to see the number of ticket gates increase from 8 to 16.
Alan Penlington, SWR’s Customer Experience Director, said “the work Network Rail is carrying out will see a welcome reduction in congestion at Surbiton station during the evening peak which will help customers exit the station more easily and reduce delays.”
“The addition of a new staircase will mean platforms can clear more quickly allowing our teams to safely dispatch trains and keep services running on time.”
He added, “there will be some disruption whilst the works take place as routes around the station and the car park change. I’d like to thank customers for their patience and understanding whilst these essential works are carried out.”
Having been rebuilt in 1937, the station structure is an iconic local landmark thanks to its art deco style and was designed by the Chief Architect of the Southern Railway, James Robb Scott.
It was determined a Grade II listed structure by Historic England in October 1983, marking it as an ‘important building of special interest’.
Acknowledging the need to preserve the station’s rich heritage, the improvements have been developed by Network Rail architects in partnership with The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames, Historic England, The Railway Heritage Trust, The Design Council and The Twentieth Century Society.
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex Route Director, said “Surbiton station is one of the busiest on our route and its modernist façade is a famous local landmark, however it has just one staircase to the footbridge from platforms three and four.”
“Currently passengers have to use very narrow parts of the platforms to exit which can lead to congestion on the platforms and prevent trains from being dispatched on time.”
The Route Director continued, “the improvements will respect the station’s rich heritage and will improve safety and keep trains running on time by making it easier to exit.”
With preparatory works having already kickstarted, the main works are set to get underway later in the month.
Engineers will begin by removing part of the station building on platforms 3 and 4, alongside the southern staircase to the public footbridge.
The public will have full access across the footbridge throughout these developments, with lifts remaining open as usual.
Between Wednesday 27 October and Sunday 14 November, and on the weekends of January 22/23 and 29/30, members of the public will be redirected via the passenger side of the footbridge.