Railway bottleneck at East Croydon could be removed by 2024

A Southern service passes through the Selhurst triangle, where routes from London Bridge and Victoria converge north of East Croydon station.

A plan to remodel the UK’s most operationally challenging railway junction is nearing the end of its public consultation.

The flat railway junctions, located to the north of East Croydon station, regularly cause delays to the 1,700 trains that pass through the area each weekday as they often need to stop to allow others to pass in front of them. This creates a bottleneck that amplifies delays on the Brighton main line, its branches and the wider network.

The tracks to the north split into routes to Victoria (left) and London Bridge (right) creating what’s known as the Selhurst triangle (or Croydon bottleneck)

Network Rail is proposing to replace the flat junctions with new viaducts, bridges and dive-unders to separate the tracks, creating clear routes for trains and removing the current need for trains to wait at red signals for others to pass.

The proposals also include plans for an expanded and enhanced East Croydon station, including two new platforms to ensure incoming trains no longer have to queue outside the station for a platform to become available. The upgraded station would also include new escalators and lifts to improve accessibility.

East Croydon station is among the busiest outside central London.

Access to the reconstructed station would be available from the tram and bus stations, from Caithness Walk and from Cherry Orchard Road. A new northern concourse with an improved entrance will be created, accessible from Lansdowne Road.

John Halsall, Network Rail.

The expansion of the railway to allow the new platforms at East Croydon station also means that Windmill Bridge (north of the station) would need to be rebuilt to increase its span to provide space for three additional tracks underneath.

John Halsall, managing director of Network Rail’s southern region, said: “I’m really pleased to see we’ve already had a strong response to the public consultation.

“We know these proposals are critical as they are the only way to deliver a combination of more reliable, more frequent and faster services for passengers on the Brighton main line and its branches.”

Chris Philp MP.

Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South, said: “Fixing the Croydon bottleneck is an incredibly important project that will not just benefit the people of Croydon, but will impact a significant part of the Brighton main line.

“It’s so important that the views of residents are heard on this crucial project and I urge as many people as possible to take part.”

If approved, major railway works could begin as early as 2023/2024, with plans for the scheme to be constructed in stages to avoid major disruptions for passengers and allow benefits to be realised earlier.

Steve White, GTR.

Steve White, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Southern and Thameslink trains through the station, said: “This is one of the busiest stretches of railway in the country and a huge constraint on the services we can operate.

“We welcome this planned investment which will make a positive difference to our passengers by improving performance and boosting capacity. There is one month left so I would urge people to take part in the consultation and support this scheme.”

The public consultation will close at 23:59 on Sunday 20 September.

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