Improvements for passengers who use Denmark Hill station moved a step closer this week with confirmation that Network Rail has secured Department for Transport funding to continue with design work.
Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will now draw up detailed proposals for enhancements at Denmark Hill, including a new station entrance on Windsor Walk, on the north side of the station.
The proposals aim to reduce congestion and provide easier access for patients and staff to Kings College Hospital and Maudsley Hospital, as well supporting the growth of both the Denmark Hill and Camberwell areas.
Paul Harwood, director of investment for Network Rail’s Southern region, said: “Investing in Denmark Hill station provides a great opportunity to improve the journey experience for passengers, by reducing crowding, making the station safer and providing extra capacity for continued long-term growth.
“We’re delighted to have secured funding for the next stage of design work and look forward to working with London Borough of Southwark and local stakeholders, including the hospitals, to move the project forward.”
Councillor Richard Livingstone, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport Management and the Climate Emergency at Southwark Council, said: “This is one of the busiest stations in Southwark, particularly as it serves the patients, visitors and staff at two major hospitals serving the borough.
“Getting the station to a condition where it is better able to cope with the demand placed on it has been a subject close to the hearts of many local people and ward councillors for many years and we are very pleased to see Network Rail taking another step forward to making sure this essential work happens.”
Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell and Peckham, added: “People using Denmark Hill station face almost daily dangerous overcrowding and delays to their journey. For years local residents, the SE5 Forum, Southwark Council, Florence Eshalomi AM, Helen Hayes MP and I have pressed the Government and Network Rail to make the station safe and fit to serve staff, patients and visitors to the two world-leading hospitals nearby, King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley.
“So it is very welcome that Network Rail has secured government funding to move forward with their plans to increase capacity and is working with Southwark Council and our local hospitals towards the desperately needed second entrance on Windsor Walk. We look forward to finding out when this long overdue work will start and when it will be completed.”
The proposals also include investment in rearranging the furniture on platforms 2 and 3 to create more space, extending the canopy cover and adding more information screens to encourage passengers to spread out and use more of the platforms in comfort.
Passenger numbers at Denmark Hill station have increased by more than 5.4m in the last 15 years, with another 33% increase expected over the next 20 years. The station is now one of the busiest stations in south London and ranks busier than several major national hubs such as Milton Keynes Central, Leicester, Birmingham Moor Street, Southampton Central, and Bath Spa.
The station is not designed for the number of passengers using it today, which regularly leads to overcrowding and congestion at the entrance and on the platforms. This makes the station unpleasant to use and can also cause delays due to the length of time it takes for passengers to get on and off trains.
Thameslink project manager Paul Best said: “Our station at Denmark Hill is a key part of the community and has become much busier since the introduction of London Overground services.
“We have put in a one-way system to manage the congestion as best we can but the station is desperately in need of a second entrance. This project would make it much easier for everyone, in particular workers and visitors from the nearby Maudsley and Kings College hospitals.”
The proposed redevelopment will make the station fit for the future, able to cope with predicted increases in both passenger numbers and rail services. Passenger experience and accessibility for all will be significantly enhanced, but most importantly for those who use Denmark Hill to visit the two local hospitals.