Rail reliability boost for passengers in Wimbledon, Sutton and Mitcham as £45m railway upgrade gets under way: The team working on the Victoria resignalling phase 2

Monday 13 Mar 2017

Rail reliability boost for passengers in Wimbledon, Sutton and Mitcham as £45m railway upgrade gets under way

South East

Rail passengers in the Sutton to Wimbledon and Mitcham corridor can look forward to better, more reliable journeys as a £45m railway upgrade gets under way.

Network Rail has started work to modernise old signalling equipment in the area, which is served by Southern services to London Bridge and London Victoria as well as Thameslink services to central London, Luton and St Albans.

The work is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan and will see state-of-the-art computer-based technology installed along the busy commuter line by 2018. Signalling – the railway’s equivalent of traffic lights – will then be controlled from the most advanced signalling centre in the UK, Network Rail’s Route Operating Centre at Three Bridges in West Sussex, helping reduce delays, increase network capacity in the long term and provide more timely and accurate information to passengers.

When complete, the project will cover 37 miles of track, upgrade five railway junctions and 70 signals, and replace over 100 track circuits - which provide information about the location of trains - with more modern and reliable technology.  These improvements will also contribute to better train punctuality by reducing infrastructure faults and the risk of train delays. Mitcham Eastfields CCTV level crossing will also be improved as part of the project.

Network Rail’s, chief operating officer, Andy Derbyshire, said: “As London’s railways get ever busier, it’s vital we continue investing in the latest technology to boost performance. 

“This project is a key part of our Railway Upgrade Plan in the south east and will mean a more reliable railway and better journeys for our passengers. I would like to thank lineside neighbours and passengers for their patience as we undertake this essential upgrade work.”

Network Rail’s, scheme project manager, Kristine Harris, said: “I would like to thank all of the team, our principal contractor Siemens and all the other contractors for their hard work and determination. We achieved our first major construction milestone at the end of February and have now moved into our new project depot meaning our teams can work much more effectively and efficiently. We have made an excellent start as we move toward commissioning in Easter 2018.”

Thameslink and Southern’s, infrastructure director Keith Jipps, of Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “We’re working closely with Network Rail to deliver major programmes of work like this, reducing delays and improving reliability.

“Inevitably the improvement work means we’ll have to suspend services occasionally at weekends but this will be well publicised along with alternative travel arrangements and the outcome will be well worthwhile.”

Work on the project will take place at night and over the weekends when the railway is at its quietest. Residents living next to these lines could experience disruption while work takes place, however Network Rail will be keeping residents informed and is committed to reducing the level of disruption as much as possible. 

In addition there will be some weekend closures of the line and passengers are encouraged check before they travel whie this work goes on.


  1. The works over the weekend of 25 and 26 February covered 25 track miles over a 52 hour possession with over 100 people on site.  More than 7,000metres of cabling was laid, six screw piles and six bases for signals installed and more than 260 tons building materials delivered for the next major phase of work over Easter 2017.
  2. On 9 March, the project moved to a new base at Imperial Way, Croydon. The depot is ideally located just a few minutes’ drive from key locations in Sutton, Wimbledon and Mitcham allowing Network Rail to better manage and store deliveries such as cable, signal heads and bases. It also means that structures can be pre-constructed, saving time and leaving as much room at railway access points as possible. The new depot will also have ancillary offices meaning that construction, signalling and testing teams can work really closely together.

Contact information

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About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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