London Victoria station is going to become easier to use as a £30 million upgrade starts work on tidying up the ticket barriers and clusters of shops.
London Victoria station was not designed for the number of passengers using it today, and even now, with slightly fewer people travelling currently, Network Rail says that narrow gate lines and poor passenger flow around the station and on the platforms causes congestion at busy times.
To improve things, some of the shops next to ticket barriers on platforms 2-7 and at platforms 8-13 will be removed to make space for more ticket barriers. They will also be moving the Gatwick Express ticket office from its current location in front of the platforms to the existing Southern ticket office, so that the full width of the space at platforms 8-13 can be turned into ticket barriers.
All told that will increase the number of ticket barriers in the station from 86 to 111, including adding 8 more wide (accessible) gates.
They will also be opening up and expanding the station concourse area that serves platforms 15-19, and creating a new thoroughfare between platform 14 and the existing escalators to the Victoria Place Shopping Centre.
Although the changes at Victoria station means the loss of food outlets next to the ticket barriers, new outlets will be constructed on platform level elsewhere, so people don’t have to go up to the shopping centre to get that ever essential cup of coffee in the day, or greasy burger for the journey home after the pubs closed.
The aim of the £30 million project is to help people get on and off trains by creating extra space for the ticket barriers. They expect that to improve train punctuality as well, particularly in peak hours. Arguably, it’s also going to be clearer for passengers not used to the station to see where the trains are from the waiting area as they’re not hidden behind a fast food outlet.
Work on the project is set to get underway in September with the relocation of the Gatwick Express ticket office. Network Rail says that it will then start work on the Kent concourse gate lines (platforms 1 to 7) which serves Southeastern trains in November 2022 and the Sussex concourse gate lines concourse (platforms 8-19) which serves Southern and Gatwick Express later in the year.
To minimise disruption to passengers, the work has been timed with the Victoria resignalling project, a major programme of signalling upgrades on the south London lines into London Victoria. This means the most disruptive work will happen when there are fewer or no passenger services running at the station, as lines will be closed.
The station upgrade is scheduled to finish in late 2023.