Refurbishment and safety upgrades costing £2.6 million at Balham station in south London have been completed.
Network Rail has reduced the gap between trains and platforms, while the platforms have also been refurbished with new surfaces, drainage and platform canopies repaired and repainted. Seven new benches have been added to the platforms.
To reduce the gap between trains and platforms, wasn’t just a case of revamping the platforms, as they had to realign the tracks as well. Apart from passenger comfort and safety, the smaller gap helps people get on and off trains faster, so the trains run less risk of spending longer than planned in the station, and that reduces delays along the line.
The station first opened in 1856 as Balham Hill and was actually situated on the west side of Balham High Road. It was re-sited in 1863 to its present location as part of works to widen the line and improve the route between East Croydon and London Victoria station.
Further remodelling of the line was undertaken in 1890 and 1897 to increase capacity and after several name changes, reverted to Balham in 1969. Since then, the station has been developed throughout the years.
Balham may also be one of the stations on the future Crossrail 2, if it’s ever funded, and that would be likely to trigger a much larger rebuild of the mainline station in the future.