East Croydon station could be moving to a new location if plans for a major railway upgrade in the area are approved, and funding found.

Concept image of new station entrance (c) Network Rail

It’s all part of a plan to fix what is known as the Croydon Bottleneck, a section of the railway between the station and Selhurst junction to the north which is a major connection of several railways.

As anyone who travels through Croydon knows, there are often delays here as trains cross over tracks to get between different lines, and the main aim of the whole project is to build a number of flyovers and flyunders so that trains are no longer held up waiting for crossing traffic.

That then staggers the problem slightly to the south where East Croydon station is, and it also acts as another bottleneck. Network Rail has been working on plans to add two extra railway tracks and the junction upgrade so that the bottleneck is relaxed and delays reduced.

But they hit a problem.

It became apparent when more investigations were carried out following an earlier consultation that they needed to be even more ambitious. Not two more tracks but three, and the only way to fit all that in, is to move East Croydon station itself.

At the moment, East Croydon station has six platforms, with long ramps leading up to the ticket hall above. They need to build two more platforms so that there’s enough capacity to allow trains to stop at the station instead of waiting for platform space and clogging up the railway tracks to the north of the station.

The difficulty of the site is that as wide as it is, it’s not wide enough, with buildings on either side, so they’ve come up with a totally new plan. Move the station.

Ian’s guestimate of the new station location – overlay on Google Maps

The proposal will see the station move around 100 metres northwards and a totally new station built there instead. At the same time, all the platforms will be rebuilt, one at a time, and all the modern expectations of lifts and accessible access provided – and the horrible long ramps will be replaced with escalators.

Suggestive view of new platforms (c) Network Rail

What is currently a footbridge linking the platforms to the northern end of the station would become part of the new southern entrance.

The downside is that people using the bus and trams who currently arrive right next to the station will now have a short walk, probably across a new plaza over the railway, but the upside is that the station can now have a much larger northern ticket hall as well as the replacement southern ticket hall.

The proposals would keep the existing station open during the works, although they will need to reduce 6 platforms down to 5 during construction works to create space for the additional two platforms they want to add.

Platform rebuilding plans (c) Network Rail

They will also add three more railway tracks — originally going to be two — and to do that they need to demolish and rebuild a major road bridge that crosses the railway.

A bit further to the north of the new station is Selhurst Junction, which has the tangled appearance of a pair of headphone cables after they’ve been left in a trouser pocket for 10 seconds.

To untangle the mess, they propose replacing a number of flat junctions with flyovers, so that trains won’t have to wait when passing each other. In total six new viaducts will be required to achieve “grade separation” of the key routes.

Rebuilt Selhust Junction (c) Network Rail

The long term aim is to remove the bottleneck so that trains from London Bridge and Victoria through East Croydon don’t keep spending time waiting outside the station to get through it.

If they get planning and funding, then due to the staggered nature of the works while maintaining a running railway, it’ll take a decade from start to finish to complete.

There had also been some talk about building on top of the station to help fund the upgrade, but Network Rail has ruled that out stating that the difficulties of doing it would not be justified.

A consultation opens on Monday about the plans – details here.

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24 comments on “Plans announced to demolish and move East Croydon station
  1. Geoffrey Algernon Brabant Demprunt says:

    I’m sorry I can’t be of any help on this one.

  2. Maurice Reed says:

    Going to be heck of a job.

  3. David Kerr says:

    The point is that this could have been sorted out years ago before all the railway lands surrounding the station plus the earlier through lines without platforms would still be in situ. The disruption is likely to be rather more than the article suggests!

  4. Maureen Paulin says:

    This won’t happen until 2050

  5. Nigel says:

    So the bottleneck then moves South to Purley or Redhill. Great idea.

    • John says:

      Every train stops at East Croydon (even Gatwick Express now?), so more platforms are needed. Gatwick itself is already being upgraded and Redhill was tweaked a couple of years ago.

  6. Bikesy says:

    Hopefully this has the added benefit of giving space at the front of the existing station for separate segregated cycle infrastructure too.
    With current road space taken up with a two way bus route, and three tram lines, there is no room for a cycle route into Croydon.

  7. John Smith says:

    It has to be done, it’s the best solution. Get it done asap.

  8. Too young to be this cynical says:

    Hopefully this (if it goes ahead) is planned with more thought than the Thameslink project, that saw train delays and interruptions for years.

    Then again, I don’t have it in me to go through that again so I may be one of several people leaving London if WFH becomes the new norm. In which case projects like this may not be required….

  9. Roger says:

    The problems are predominantly for commuter trains at peak times. In a post covid world, how many of those commuters will still be heading into London to work? May simply be solving a problem that may not exist by the time it’s solved.

    • ianvisits says:

      That’s a bit like saying “in the post-Spanish flu world, how many people will be commuting” — you really can’t make a decision about an infrastructure project that will have a century, or more, impact on the railways on a couple of years of economic downturn.

  10. Mitch Mitchell says:

    What a load of bollocks we have waited 12 years for the Croydon town centre development to begin. Another idea giving false hope to the Borough

  11. Michael r smith says:

    There was already flyovers and dive unders at Gloucester road junction plus 2 lines climbing up from west Croydon to the fast lines at Selhurst until BR rebuilt this junction in the 1970,s to supposedly sort out the problem of conflicting movements , like so many so called improvements back then (cutting the capacity at Victoria for example) it hasn’t worked

  12. Michael says:

    Whilst I fully support this proposal, it is also worth bearing in mind other proposals that would take trains away from East Croydon all together, such as BML2 which would provide a new Crossrail-style service from Croydon to Stratford via Canary Wharf and Lewisham.

    East Croydon and the whole Brighton Main Line needs capacity improvements but it would be nice if Network Rail would consider more radical proposals such as this.

  13. Railmaster London says:

    An obvious i still think is that hs2 should run under london, Euston to Victoria then to East Croydon Redhill Gatwick Three Bridges Brighton

    • ianvisits says:

      Seems a huge amount of money to just replicate the service already offered by the Victoria line (and Crossrail 2 eventually) and Thameslink.

  14. Duncan Martin says:

    It’s a bit misleading to say that it’s moving to a new location. They’re taking 100m (ca the length of 4 carriages) off the south end and adding it to the north, where there is more width for extra platforms.

  15. John Ward says:

    Sounds like an interesting proposal for East Croydon. Given the cost overruns on other major railway projects in the UK, its questionable that this investment is worthwhile to save a few minutes of time for some train journeys. I don’t recall major waits and hold ups at the station, though its been many years since I used this rail line regularly.

    Perhaps costs could be mitigated and the project improved if new developments were integrated into the project in the same way as was done at London Bridge Station. A new “Shard” type landmark tower adjoing the station rather than over the top of it could be good for East Croydon.

  16. Jim says:

    The whole area around East Croydon station needs reviewing, not just rebuilding the station. For example, the access to and from the station via car is a mess, with a lack of space to drop/ pick up, plus having to cross tram lines and bus lanes to get out. No wonder taxis and cars are queuing down Cherry Orchard Road waiting to get in.

  17. Julian says:

    I’ve wondered in the past whether a tunnel starting just outside Victoria and linking up with the Quarry Line south of Coulsdon would be viable – rather like HS1 out of St Pancras. This could take fast trains to and from Gatwick Airport, Brighton and The South Coast and free up capacity in the London area. East Croydon would continue to be served by services to and from London Bridge, and by a dedicated regular-interval fast shuttle to and from Victoria calling at Clapham Junction – a limited number of these could come from further south.

  18. Lisa Classics says:

    Why not demolish the building built on the railway land that should have been kept and used for railway expansion? We already have a bridge to nowhere amongst them and the railway land should never have been built on – so buy the land back via compulsory purchase demolish the hideous block of flats and expand the railway as first planned.

  19. John Ashdown says:

    I think Network rail might be aware that if this all goes ahead, they will turn that part of the world into a hell hole for years. I say this because it’s interesting to note that in a diverse, inclusive world, Network Rail are currently repairing and renovating old footbridges over a 30 years disused derelict, fly tipped and severed railway line (that originally bypassed EC into London from Selsdon) when instead they should replace them with accessible-to-all crossings, as the line is non operational! So well see if anything further develops there, expect a residential backing and a massive fight with TFL over displacement of tram-link if so……

    • ianvisits says:

      Maybe the local people will be intelligent enough to know that all building works involves some disruption, but that it’s worth it for the improvements they result in – and wont be as nimbyish as you think.

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