An ambition to double the number of trains on the railway between Sutton and Belmont stations in south London is progressing after Sutton Council allocated funding to Network Rail to design the upgrade.

Track layout over Google Map

At present, the Belmont area is serviced only by a half-hourly train service and a limited bus service, and the narrow roads restrict the options to increase the bus service. Although not ideal at the moment, the service will get busier in the future thanks to the large London Cancer Hub opening about a 10-minute walk from the station, so Sutton council put in a bid to improve the railway.

Apart from needing capacity for the London Cancer Hub, in terms of levelling up, the nearby Shanklin housing estate is in the top 20% of deprived areas in the country. The lack of reliable public transport is a known factor in making it harder for people to commute to work and hence lift their own income levels.

Although the council’s initial scheme was rejected, a smaller scheme was approved earlier this year.

The railway is single-track for most of its length south of Sutton, and the upgrade will add a turnback siding just to the south of Belmont station. That delivers enough space along the line to be able to handle four trains per hour between Belmont and Sutton, and into central London.

To cover the cost of the upgrade, Sutton Council received £14.1 million from the Levelling Up Fund, and is adding £1.5 million of its own funds to the project, from a mix of local funds and the London Cancer Hub Strategic Investment Pot funding.

Since it was awarded the funding earlier this year, the council has been working with the Department for Transport (DfT), Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway to develop the plans.

Although the specifics of the upgrade are still at an early stage, Govia Thameslink Railway has developed a cost-neutral plan to extend the existing service using existing rolling stock and operate the additional two London Victoria to Belmont services.

A meeting of Sutton Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee last Monday has now approved a request for £3 million for Network Rail to design the plans for the railway upgrade.

The intention is that the plans will be approved by the planning committee by March 2024, with construction work starting in April 2024.

Along with the railway track upgrade and turnback siding, Belmont station, which has just one platform, will also get some modest improvements to ensure it can offer step-free access from the street, and maybe fix a perennial flooding problem caused by being at the bottom of a slight slope.

There’s also funding to improve walking and cycling routes between Belmont Station and the London Cancer Hub. That’s needed as while the two are about 10 minutes walk from each other, the route is unclear and uneven so needs some work to make it easier to follow.

Assuming that construction starts next April as planned, then the upgraded railway should be completed in March 2026 and the four trains per hour service introduced during the timetable change that will come into effect in May 2026.

The committee meeting can be watched here – the pertinent section starts at 1 hour 20 minutes into the meeting.


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with: ,

This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

  1. Keith says:

    Hopefully the plans will allow provisions for the double-track to be (relatively) easily extended down to Epson Downs in the future if desired. Probably not enough demand at present to justify the cost, however always preferable to build the potential into the design.

  2. 100andthirty says:

    I travelled through Sutton to Epsom Downs every weekday until July 1969. I don’t know when the line was singled but it wasn’t more than 54 years ago. The trackbed is still there, so it shouldn’t be hard to reinstate it. Generally, the best and cheapest way of doing things like this is to get on with it as fast as possible. I hope that’s what they do!

    Extending to Epsom Downs might be more of a problem as the former large station hase been built over.

  3. Paul Harrison says:

    Who are we kidding ? Network Rail are certain to at least double the cost of the upgrade, at which point it will be cancelled.

    • ianVisits says:

      You can read the detailed papers if you think that will happen, and see that there’s a considerably contingency in the budget to allow for unexpected problems.

  4. Steve says:

    Epsom Downs is a rather peculiar station; at the end of a peculiar little cul de sac, completely cut off from the suburb nex to it.

  5. NG says:

    It certainly used to be double-track, all the way to the old Epsom Downs station … I remember going there, when my mother was undergoing (unsuccessful) cancer treatment in the 1960’s
    The grotty cul-de-sac for the station is because the old land was sold off for short-term profit & stuff the convenience of the railway users

  6. Andrew says:

    “At present, the Belmont area is serviced only by a half-hourly train service and a limited bus service” – er.. there are 2 very frequent buses along Brighton Road from Sutton to Belmont (280 and 80). You don’t normally wait more than 10 mins.

    I’ve never understood the rationale for this scheme.

  7. Bernard says:

    When the old Southern Railway electrified the branch in 1928, they saw it as competing with the new Northern Line Morden route for traffic, and so they ran a train every ten minutes, an astonishing service level which persisted until the fifties.
    The branch then steadily declined, with commentators doubting whether it had a long-term future, until the off-peak service level was hourly on weekdays only.
    Under the new Southern Railway things have improved greatly, with half-hourly, comfortable, air conditioned trains and a Sunday service for the first time since 1961 with further improvements planned.
    One project previously contemplated from time to time (the Network South-East planners considered it, I’m told) was linking the branch to the Tattenham Corner line. This naturally would have created many journey possibilities in the area, but the regrettable truncation of the line, with the terminus buried in a housing estate, makes this idea much more difficult to realise.

  8. Ann says:

    I live close to here, and to me, it is not so great an idea. Whoever thought that folk with cancer can walk 10-15 minutes uphill to get to a hospital from here? Some treatments require daily visits so that investment should be on doubling the car park for those unfortunate patients, and reducing the cost of parking which is scandalous. Also, no mention of the second hospital they want to bring here. Badly planned improvements will not solve a substantial issue, consider the disabled properly perhaps?

    • ianVisits says:

      The two issues are totally unrelated – there’s no reason why a public transport upgrade, funded by the transport orgs would prevent a hospital from building a car park.

    • c says:

      For every 1 actual patient (with cancer, no less) – there are probably 10-20 members of staff and support. Who travel there regularly.

      Visitors too. It’s far broader reaching.

  9. Steve says:

    The cancer hub and estate have been there for decades.
    The “narrow” road is the main road to the M25 from Sutton.
    This station has limited scope for growth and is one of the quietest stations in London.
    Its easier to goto the hospital direct to the hospital door from Sutton station by bus, than walk up hill from Belmont station (or wait for the same bus after a longish walk to the Belmont bus stop).

    this smacks of a convienient end point for Thameslink on the Sutton loop, so that they can grab the Wimbledon line for trams.
    Whatever it is, what is isnt is a benefit for passengers.

    If demand is that great, why not put that siding into the old UP platform instead ?.. afterall its street level, no steps and better entry/exit potential than the down platform.

    • ianVisits says:

      You’ll also know that the cancer hub is being massively expanded, along with other upgrades to the hospital as well — improving public transport is a good thing.

      That the government, the council and Network Rail all agree with the submission for the upgrade, it would be useful for you to explain what details they got wrong, otherwise how can anyone take what you say as factual?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Home >> News >> Transport News