East to go North – Network Rail wants to move a whole station

Platform alteration: Network Rail’s plans, released this week, will move East Croydon Station 100m away from George Street and give it eight platforms

Network Rail want to make the earth move for commuters.

Or, at least, they want to move East Croydon Station.

The railway infrastructure body this week released the latest version of its plans for what they call the Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme – or CARS. These include some impressive engineering proposals to unblock the bottleneck on the Brighton mainline at the Selhurst Triangle.

But what the revised proposals also reveal is not just an “expansion” of East Croydon Station, but its complete rebuilding, moving the main concourse 100metres north of where the current station is positioned on George Street.

The proposals show a modern railway station, recognisably similar to London Bridge or Blackfriars, which have both undergone multi-million-pound rebuilds over the last decade or so.

A sketch of the new concourse, accessed from Caithness Walk and Ruskin Square, and Cherry Orchard Road

With the railway through Croydon being the busiest and most congested in Britain, with 1,700 trains and 300,000 passengers travelling through it on a normal, pre-covid weekday, Network Rail have taken the far-sighted decision to start all over again, as they seek to add two additional platforms to the station.

By moving the station north – roughly starting from where the Bridge To Nowhere stands today – they will be able to widen the station on to land to the east (the light industrial buildings, marked as a Volkswagen building), which they bought just over a year ago for the purpose.

Gone would be the slippery-when-wet, too-steep ramps to the platforms, to be replaced with better accessibility through stairways, escalators and lifts.

“Accessibility at the station is limited as the existing access ramps are steep and congested, the small concourse regularly becomes overcrowded and passenger facilities are limited,” Network Rail note.

“We propose to reconstruct East Croydon station in phases, while trains continue to run, increasing the number of platforms from six to eight, four to serve northbound services and four to serve southbound services.

“Since the first consultation, our design development has identified that it is not possible to just add two additional platforms into the tight railway corridor, which is constrained by high-rise buildings on both sides. Instead it is proposed that the redeveloped station will move north by approximately 100metres and be fully reconstructed.”

Network Rail states that “the recently constructed footbridge”, meaning the Bridge to Nowhere, built just seven years ago at a cost of £22million and never yet finished and connected to the Cherry Orchard Road side of the station, “will be retained and repurposed to form the new gateline into the station”.

The addition of escalators is part of a more modern station

The consultation document states, “Access to this main entrance would be available from the tram and bus stations, from Caithness Walk and from Cherry Orchard Road. A new northern concourse with an improved entrance will be created, accessible from Lansdowne Road.”

According to a Network Rail spokesperson today, “The current station concourse which is constructed on George Street Bridge would be transformed into an open public area to create more space to interchange with the trams.” Much of the area would be given over to an expanded “grab and go” retail area, for coffee shops, fast food and newsagents (the buildings in blue on the image at the top of this page).

But here’s the crunch: the whole scheme is as yet unfunded.

The other crunch is that it might all take until 2033 to be completed – and that’s without major spanners in the works, such as coronavirus.

“We are in the process of submitting an outline business case to the Department for Transport, making the case for the scheme and setting out the anticipated costs and benefits,” the spokesperson said.

The view of the platform roofs offers a further idea of the extent of the changes proposed. The tram stop is to the far right of this chart

“The scheme’s business case, along with an associated funding request to continue developing the scheme, will be assessed by government over the remainder of 2020, before a decision is made on how to proceed.

“We have developed the schemed so that the benefits will be delivered in tranches from 2028 onwards, rather than having to wait until the end.

“In terms of timescales – we are aiming to submit the Transport and Works Act Order to the Secretary of State in 2021 to seek powers to progress with the scheme.

“There is likely to be a public inquiry given the scale of the scheme but we would hope for a decision in 2023 so we can commence works in 2024. Indicative completion of the whole scheme is circa 2033.”

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Commuting, Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme, East Croydon, Tramlink, Transport and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to East to go North – Network Rail wants to move a whole station

  1. Mike Buckley says:

    HAve I missed something, but how long ago was it that East Croydon was remodelled? (And now we have to go through all that again but much worse, so it seems) May be now we know why the stairs face north on the new bridge and all the work in modernising the old parts of the station was never intended to last more than a few years. (The Victorians had different ideas, but there again they probably built it to last longer, by design)
    Who allowed those high rise buildings on the old goods yard? May be BR could not measure up properly, but we were then told it would allow for two more platforms – now we are told it wont!
    Never mind many of us will not be around to see it finalised, ever if this is the last plan, and it probably isnt. 2050, perhaps?
    No wonder the fares have to increase to help pay for all this..

  2. davidmogo says:

    … but on the plus side, at least it looks like it will be rebuilt before Westfield get their final plans approved and Fairfield Halls get their seats renewed!

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  4. sebastian tillinger says:

    Is there a way we can set up a Commission that would effectively take away all the important planning decisions that surround this project from Cllr Paul Scott, Tony Newman and Jo Negrini?

    Can we also set up a design review panel that specifically oversees this evolving project. A panel not made up of shoe designers and urban gardeners.

    • As our report states, there will be a public inquiry.

      The council will have very little part to play in any development of this national scale, however much Newman tries to claim credit for it.

      • David White says:

        There’s an argument for saying the Council (and TfL) should be closely involved with this project. This is because the whole area around East Croydon station is terribly congested at present. Movement of the station northwards presents the opportunity to release land to help reduce delays to buses, and make the environment more pleasant for pedestrians, cyclists and others.

        • Between them, Croydon and TfL have had 25 years to sort out the tram, bus and road junctions, and the station still doesn’t have a properly functioning taxi rank or queue, while the lights sequencing on George Street is a mess.
          You clearly have more confidence in TfL and the council – both partly responsible for the Bridge to Nowhere – than they deserve.

  5. Lewis White says:

    I will not grieve one iota the loss of the current station building and its open, draughty lobby, where staff must feeze half to death in winter (in common with gate staff on most stations).

    The artist’s impression of the new structure looks to create a far better building, into which the sunshine should flood and warm the commuter and staff experience at this, the rail gateway to Croydon. I really hope that the designers of this new station building improve the daily working conditions for staff, as well as provide passenegers with a better environment , a really well-placed, legible BIG departures and arrivals board, a real ticket office (with real staff), very good signage, and easy access to the platforms.

    I hope that the designers–whether architects or engineers– are sent on a course to teach them that as well as falling vertically, rain more often comes down at an angle, even close to parallel to the ground, when borne on storm winds on open locations like that of the bridge mentioned in Inside Croydon as the “Bridge to Nowhere” (BtN).

    Then, equipped with this knowledge, they are given lots of funding to modify the said bridge, and are briefed to extend the canopy and alter the sides, to eliminate the current issues of flooding on the bridge deck and slip accidents on both the deck and stairs, while making sure to avoid “bird strike” problems associated with glass sides. (OK, there would be a sad resulting loss –the redundancy of the little multi-lingual yellow cones advising of dangerous slip hazards in Spanish, Portuguese and English)

    Secondy, that a Computer graphic display designer is appointed who understands that the key need of passengers is to be able to see where and when their train is coming in, and that tiny type faces and constantly churning information on multiple TV screens (a feature of the current East Croydon) , along with inaudible annnouncements, is a source of stress and frustration to all passengers.

    Will the lemming-like tides of commuters changing platforms when at a minute’s notice their train is routed to another platform become a thing of the past ? Perhaps not something a new building will be able to stop, but at least good communications can be built in.

    Older loyal readers of Inside Croydon will recall (perhaps with a nostalgic tear) that the transit time from platform to platform down the ramps and under the tracks and up the next ramp in the old -pre BtN days was about half of the time needed to climb one flight of the current stairs and go over the tracks and down the next flight, to do the same. But anyone who has slipped or fallen on the daft and initailly, dangerous stairs (which for over a year had no central handrail!!) will wonder how on earth the designers of the BtN failed so abysmally in their design of the current bridge.

    But maybe (?) , too perfect a design for the new station would deprive future loyal readers of the huge joy of hitting “Post comment” after perfecting a well-crafted piece of electronic invective rage, ire, irony or sarcasm, so, as a current contributor, perhaps I should hold my counsel now, my current points of just criticism having been made with penetrating accuracy and I trust, sufficent ascerbic observation to keep up the IC standard that so many readers cherish.

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