Rail chiefs said that they were about to start a four-year project to upgrade old track and signals on lines into London Victoria station.
Network Rail said yesterday (Monday 8 February) that work would begin this month on replacing 1980s infrastructure between London Victoria and Clapham Junction.
The overhaul is part of a £160 million project to modernise one of the busiest parts of Britain’s rail network and one normally used by tens of thousands of passengers between Brighton and Hove and the capital.
The track operator said: “The upgrades will improve reliability on the network, helping even more passenger and freight trains arrive at their destinations on time.
“This phase of work, to take place at weekends between London Victoria, Clapham Junction and Balham, and the west London Lines from Clapham to Shepherds Bush, will get fully under way this month and will continue until after Christmas 2022.”
Network Rail’s Sussex route director Shaun King said: “It’s vital that we continue to modernise the rail network so that we can build back better, stronger and more reliable than ever before for passengers and freight users.
“Much of the track and signalling in south London is more than 40 years old and it’s also some of the most intensively used in the country.
“The work we are doing on the lines into Victoria over the next few years will keep passengers moving safely and reliably long into the future.”
Train operator Southern’s customer services director Chris Fowler said: “The route to Victoria is one of our busiest and a signal failure or track fault here creates delays across the south east.
“That’s why we welcome Network Rail’s initiative and will support them by altering our train service and arranging alternative transport each weekend their engineers are working.”
Network Rail said that passengers travelling on affected routes were advised to check before travelling at weekends and bank holidays.
On the following dates, no trains will run between Victoria and East Croydon, with most trains diverted to London Bridge
- Saturday 13 February and Sunday 14 February
- Saturday 20 February and Sunday 21 February
- Saturday 1 May to Monday 3 May (bank holiday weekend)
- Saturday 8 May and Sunday 9 May
- Saturday 15 May and Sunday 16 May
- Saturday 22 May and Sunday 23 May
- Saturday 29 May to Monday 31 May (bank holiday weekend)
Network Rail said that no trains would run between Balham and Victoria on Sunday 6 June.
On all the dates above, Network Rail added, a limited rail replacement bus service will run between East Croydon and Clapham Junction for local journeys.
Rail tickets will be accepted on London Underground services between London Victoria and London Bridge and Balham and on London Buses between Balham and Streatham Hill.
Tickets will also be valid on South Western Railway services between Clapham Junction and London Waterloo.
Network Rail also said: “Additional weekend working will be required to support the work. Further dates to follow when confirmed.”
Already work has been scheduled for next Christmas and Christmas next year – with nine-day closures from Saturday 25 December 2021 to Sunday 2 January 2022 and from Sunday 25 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023.
During the first phase of works between Clapham Junction and Victoria and on the West London lines from Clapham Junction to Shepherds Bush, Network Rail said there would be
- A multimillion-pound investment in signalling, track, civils, power systems and telecoms
- 93 new modern LED signals
- 17 signal gantries replaced with new easier maintained structures
- 3 new power supply points for the signalling and points heating equipment
- 186 new axle counters (train detection equipment)
- 125 miles (200km) of new signalling, telecoms and power supply cables
- 8 key junctions and 50 points renewed to achieve greater track reliability and minimise disruption
In addition, control of the routes will switch from the 1970s Victoria Area Signalling Centre to the £21 million Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre which opened seven years ago in January 2014.
Network Rail said that upgrades between Tulse Hill, Peckham Rye and Crystal Palace and between Nunhead, Herne Hill and the Battersea area will start next year and should be completed in 2025.
For more information, visit networkrail.co.uk/Victoriaresignalling.
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