A single-track railway in southwest London could be doubled if plans by Sutton Council get the go-ahead.
The line, which runs between Sutton town centre and Epsom Downs opened in 1865 as a doubled-tracked line, but was cut back to a single track in the early 1980s.
It was built with double-tracks as at the time it opened, it was the closest station to Epsom racecourse, so was very busy on race days. Epsom Downs station at the end of the line was once so busy that it had nine platforms, but then the much more convenient station at Tattenham Corner opened and rail traffic declined.
Single tracked along most of the line in the 1980s, it serves Epsom Downs, Banstead, Belmont and has a side platform at Sutton with a two trains per hour service in each direction.
Belmont station is however likely to see a lot more use in the future if the line can be upgraded, as it is a short walk from the London Cancer Hub, a major expansion of the existing hospital at Royal Marsden.
Sutton Council has now submitted a bid to the government’s Levelling Up Fund for a £32 million upgrade of the railway to twin-track the line between Sutton and Belmont station, increasing current services from 2 trains to 4-6 trains per hour.
The Levelling Up Fund was announced earlier this year and sets aside £4.8 billion to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.
The Council has highlighted that Sutton is one of the worst-served boroughs in London for public transport and has received the lowest amount of transport investment of all of London’s boroughs since 2016 – just £16 million or £73 per Sutton resident over the past five years.
There is also an unrelated plan to extend tram services to Sutton, and potentially further south to Belmont, but at the moment, TfL doesn’t have any money to pay for the first stage, let alone the extension.