The Network Rail representative explained that he would focus his presentation on plans for the upgrade of the Brighton Main Line.
He stated that the key problems that the upgrade would seek to tackle were:
- too many trains and not enough infrastructure
- strategic issues around the day to day management of services
Panel members heard that growth in demand was projected to affect the Brighton Main Line and the South West Main Line more than any other lines coming out of the capital, although capacity on the South-West Main Line was projected to be released through the Crossrail 2 project.
The Network Rail representative stated that Network Rail and Croydon Council had been working very closely to draw up plans to resolve overcrowding on the Brighton Main Line. Proposals would involve the reconfiguration of the area south of Selhurst and north of central Croydon, which would involve multiple bridges and flyovers. The geometry of platforms at East Croydon station was due to be changed significantly, with considerable improvements to accessibility.
Panel members requested that platforms be numbered from 1 to 8, and that names such as "platform -1" should be avoided for the sake of clarity.
Panel members also requested that Network Rail should minimise the need for bus replacement services during works. The representative of Network Rail agreed with this approach.
Changes in Norwood Junction were discussed. Panel members were informed that current proposals do not affect the station, only the tracks. However, it was explained that platform 7 would be brought back into use.
It was explained that platforms at this station were very narrow, which would make it difficult to put in a lift. A similar problem affected accessibility at South Croydon station. Council officers remarked that a solution had been found and implemented at Denmark Hill station. One approach suggested at the meeting was to have stopping services alighting at the wide platforms and fast services running through the narrow platforms.
Panel members asked when works at Norwood Junction and Selhurst would start impacting on local roads and were advised that there was not likely to be a major impact on the roads in the Norwood area, whereas the roads in the Selhurst area might have significant traffic congestion as a result of the works.
Panel members enquired whether the proposals took Gatwick expansion into account and were advised that peaks in commuter passenger numbers were infinitely higher than those of passengers travelling to and from Gatwick airport. .
The Chair concluded that:
- the detail of these proposals needed to be worked up to minimise possible disruption on the railways and on the roads.
- lack of accessibility at Norwood Junction, which was a long-standing issue, would need to be included in proposed plans