Improvements for passengers who use Peckham Rye station have moved a step closer this week with Network Rail receiving £1m from the Department for Transport to develop designs for a more accessible station with more capacity and better facilities for passengers.

Currently, Peckham Rye is the busiest interchange station in the entire country without step free access to platforms or accessible facilities for passengers.

Network Rail proposals aim to provide new lifts at the station, making all platforms accessible for parents with buggies, people with shopping and those with mobility issues. Accessible toilets are also part of the scope.

To allow for future growth in passengers, access to each of the platforms will be improved and the amount of space on each platform increased.

The project will consider how the station integrates with the surrounding public realm, particularly the new Station Square, providing better access into the station and a much larger gateline to ease passenger flow.

Andrew Wood, Lead Development Manager, Network Rail, said: “Peckham Rye station is the busiest interchange station in the country without lifts, making it difficult for some passengers to use the station. Passenger numbers today have outgrown the original design, platforms and passageways being too narrow, leading to overcrowding at peaks times.

“We want to make the station accessible to all passengers, improve the overall journey experience, make the station safer and provide capacity for long-term growth.

“We are committed to working closely with train operators, rail passengers, Southwark Council, the Arch Company and the local community to take these proposals forward. Over the next 15 months we will be holding online workshops to involve interested parties in crafting the designs.”

Paul Best, Govia Thameslink Railway’s Senior Project Manager, said: “Having worked with Network Rail and the local community for over a year since Peckham Rye was designated a priority station for capacity, accessibility and safety improvements, we are delighted that the funding to design a development scheme has been signed off.

“The transformation envisaged will make this important station fit for 21st century travel, with huge benefits for everyone who uses it, and especially our passengers with mobility difficulties.”

Southeastern’s Passenger Services Director David Wornham said: “We’re always wanting to do more for our passengers and work with Network Rail to improve the facilities at our stations and make them as accessible as possible. Peckham Rye will become much easier to use for all of our passengers as a result of this work.”

Cllr Johnson Situ, Cabinet Member for Growth, Development and Planning, said: “As work begins on the Peckham Station Square, it is good to know that this will be complemented by these much-needed improvements to the station. Together the works will create a welcoming new gateway to the town, which is already becoming a popular destination for people looking for its fantastic cultural and social offers.”

Cllr Richard Livingstone, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and the Climate Emergency, said: “This is great news for Peckham. These improvements have been desperately needed for many years and so it is good to hear Network Rail is now committing funding to this busy station, especially as we continue to look at more sustainable transport to improve air quality across the borough.”