We show below some snippets of transport news about, or relevant to, Croydon. The articles on Gatwick Airport and unblocking the rail lines north of Croydon come from a recent newsletter from Chris Philp, MP, and the piece on electric car charging points from Croydon Council.
Gatwick: A second Runway
The Government announced a little while ago that the extra runway in the south east should be at Heathrow – the (in)famous Heathrow third runway. This implied that Gatwick would not get Government support to expand.
But Gatwick has developed a plan to get a second runway operational without needing to be the “official” extra runway in the south east – and the extra Gatwick runway is likely to be operational long before Heathrow’s third runway.
It turns out Gatwick has an existing “standby” runway that runs parallel to the current main runway. They had pledged not to use it for the first 40 years of Gatwick’s lifetime – but that expires later this year. The plan is to bring this standby runway into operation. The airport could then provide for up to 70 million passengers per year, an increase of around 50% from current levels.
The amount of work needed is not significant – some more taxi routes are needed around the edge of the current runway, and the standby runway needs to be extended by 12 metres to the north to meet international aviation standards. All of this can happen within the current boundaries of Gatwick airport.
The airport would remain a two-terminal operation, and noise levels would remain about the same. The cost would be entirely paid for privately by the airport owner – no public money is needed. The cost of the second Gatwick runaway, at around £500m, is around 1/30th the cost of the Heathrow third runway in any case.
Major Upgrade Opportunity – Brighton Mainline
The Brighton Mainline, running from London to Brighton through our neighbourhood, is one of the busiest in the country carrying over 300,000 passengers each day. Some time ago, I led a delegation of MPs to see the Prime Minister which led to a £300m programme of works to upgrade the infrastructure (for example, fixing points and signals). This work is now happening, and should ensure there are fewer delays and cancellations once completed.
But the line is nonetheless running at 99% capacity, which means any small problem creates wider disruption and rush-hour trains are often over-crowded. We need to create more capacity.
The bottleneck for the whole network is around East Croydon station – Network Rail describe it “the most challenging bottleneck on Britain’s Railway Network.” Services converge from across Surrey, Sussex and parts of Hampshire through East Croydon, before diverging to Victoria, London Bridge and Blackfriars. The Windmill Junction, near Selhurst, is also a bottleneck. You will have noticed southbound trains often pause for a few minutes near Selhurst while they wait for this junction to clear.
I have therefore been campaigning for the Government to provide around £2 billion to fix this bottleneck. This project would entail expanding East Croydon from 6 to 8 platforms and widening other areas of track in the vicinity. It would also involve grade separating Windmill junction. Not only would this prevent a lot of delays, but it would allow for more services to run, increasing capacity by 30%.
This project is being taken forward by Network Rail, and there are some more basic details on this page:
The funding still needs to be finally signed off, but I will be pressing hard to make sure that this happens. This would be one be one of the biggest rail infrastructure upgrade projects in the country. I will keep you updated.
Work begins to install more vehicle charging points in Croydon
New public charging points for electric vehicles are currently being installed across Croydon.
In total eight new charging points will be installed across three different locations in the borough.
The sites were chosen after residents approached the council to ask for charging infrastructure and are some of the 400 charging points Croydon will install across the borough by 2022.
Two new chargers are being installed on Colson Road and Edridge Road with two more active chargers installed on Tavistock Road alongside the infrastructure so two further charging points can be added at a later date.
Council Stuart King, cabinet lead for environment and transport, said: “We are installing these charging points at locations where we know there is demand, and as part of ambitious plans to promote wider use of electric vehicles.
“We are determined to make sustainable journeys across Croydon easier than ever before and a key part of that is expanding our green infrastructure to meet growing demand for it.
“We are committed to working with communities to tackle air pollution.”
Specific locations are chosen following approaches by residents or businesses and are designed to help deliver a borough-wide network of charging points as well as support zero and low emission transport initiatives.