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.

Track layout over Google Map

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.

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15 comments
  1. Brian Butterworth says:

    Not that I guess it matter so much anymore, what with the whole of the trains in England being back in public hands, but is this going to be an Overground service (extended from West Croydon) or something with a green Southern sicker on it?

    • ianVisits says:

      It’s likely to be the same operator as is running the line at the moment, just with more trains. There’s no indication that they plan to, or have a reason to change that.

  2. Thomas says:

    There are two platforms at Sutton for the line, and currently many of the Southern trains turn back in one of the platforms, so they would merely extend those services, presumably.

    • Robert says:

      Yes – I wonder if they would terminate at Belmont (last station within Greater London) instead?

    • Peter Greenwood says:

      It would make more sense to keep a single track with station passing loops and extend it to Tattenham Corner to allow through trains back to Croydon

    • ianVisits says:

      I think the people living in the houses you would have to demolish will disagree with you.

  3. Westville13 says:

    Ah the long waits on Platform 3 at Sutton in the late 50’s with the little signal cabin to look at, and the coo of hampers of racing pigeons under the road bridge arches. The trains were a through service to Victoria then of course. A pity that they are not proposing to extend the Overground service from West Croydon…

  4. 100andthirty says:

    it was over 50 years ago but I commuted to Epsom Downs and it was double track then. Given the right of way is there, the amount needed to restore the double track seems rather high.

    • ianVisits says:

      Plus restoring the second platform, footbridge and lift at Belmont plus the additional trains?

    • Nick L says:

      They might get away without needing to add a footbridge or lift at Belmont. There’s already level access to the western side without any buildings in the way and a step free route via the road bridge.

  5. Nicholas Lewis says:

    Its barely a mile from the double to single track lead to Belmont station and they want £32m for that.

    • ianVisits says:

      Rather than just a complaint, why not show us how much it would cost you to do the job and why you think the council’s figures are wrong?

  6. Matt HB says:

    If the Sutton tramlink ever gets the go ahead this line really should be transferred over to the tram as a southern extension of that route. You remove a 1 seat ride to London but you gain 2 terminal platforms at Sutton and a more frequent local service into Sutton from its surrounds.

  7. Sean McGrath says:

    While they are at it, please can they change the number of pointless trains. Sutton trains seem all over the place and highly wasteful.

    If they reduce the number of stopping trains to London Bridge (via West Croydon) and Blackfriars, they could probably put in place some fast trains instead to pass by stations that do not get regular passengers. For example does Carshalton Beeaches really need 4 trains an hour in each direction? No one ever gets on it! They use to have a fast train from Sutton to West Croydon as it is easy to schedule and avoids stopping at empty stations.

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