The small overcrowded entrance to Denmark Hill station in South London is to be significantly easier to use, following a £7.5 million upgrade to the station.
The station had a grand entrance building when it first opened in 1866, with narrow staircases up to the ticket hall. The ticket hall fell into disrepair and was nearly demolished in the 1980s, only to be saved, and a pub took over most of the ticket hall, with passengers relegated to a side room.
In 2011-13 a major revamp of the station saw another bank of staircases and lifts added, and a new dedicated ticket sales “shed” built on the southern side of the station.
However, even then, it seemed too small for the number of passengers using the station, and now Network Rail is to construct a second entrance on the northern side of the station.
This will not just double the capacity of the entrances, but also when a currently closed access route through the edge of the Maudsley Hospital reopens in 2023, then the new entrance will make journeys a few minutes quicker as around 60% of passengers come from the north side of the station and currently have to walk all the way around to the southern entrance.
The new entrance will come with four standard ticket barriers, and two wide barriers. As the new entrance is higher than the walkway leading to the platforms, there will be steps down, and a long ramp for those who need it. Although it looks like a fairly modest structure, being built over a slope means it has quite substantial foundations to secure the slope to support the building.
In addition, new canopies on the platforms should encourage people to move further down the platform in adverse weather.
There will also be a new 85-space cycle storage facility for the station, and will be free to use.
And finally, a photovoltaic film will be applied to the new station roof, the rain cover over the accessible ramp and all-new canopies, which should generate enough electricity to make the new station development ‘Carbon Positive’.
Network Rail estimates that the new entrance will be enough to cope with demand until at least 2038, and construction work is due to start in the next few weeks.