South London’s railway set for major upgrades as 40-year-old track and signalling about to be replaced: Victoria station aerial view

Monday 8 Feb 2021

South London’s railway set for major upgrades as 40-year-old track and signalling about to be replaced

Region & Route:
Southern: Sussex
| Southern

Network Rail is about to begin a major four-year package of work to modernise 1980s track and signalling on the lines into London Victoria station.   

The upgrades will improve reliability on the network, helping even more passenger and freight trains arrive at their destinations on time.   

This phase of work, to take place at weekends between London Victoria, Clapham Junction and Balham, and the West London Lines from Clapham to Shepherds Bush, will get fully underway this month and will continue until after Christmas 2022.  

Upgrades between Tulse Hill, Peckham Rye and Crystal Palace, and between Nunhead, Herne Hill and the Battersea area will follow between 2022 and 2025. 

Shaun King, route director, Sussex said: “It’s vital that we continue to modernise the rail network so that we can build back better, stronger and more reliable than ever before for passengers and freight users.

“Much of the track and signalling in South London is more than 40 years old and it’s also some of the most intensively used in the country.

“The work we are doing on the lines into Victoria over the next few years will keep passengers moving safely and reliably long into the future.”

Southern Customer Services Director Chris Fowler said: “The route to Victoria is one of our busiest and a signal failure or track fault here creates delays across the south east. That’s why we welcome Network Rail’s initiative and will support them by altering our train service and arranging alternative transport each weekend their engineers are working.”

Keeping passengers moving

Passengers travelling on affected routes are advised to check before travelling at weekends and bank holidays.

On the following dates, no trains will run between Victoria-East Croydon. Most trains will be diverted to London Bridge. A limited rail replacement bus service will run between East Croydon and Clapham Junction for local journeys.

Rail tickets will be accepted on London Underground services between London Victoria and London Bridge and Balham and on London Buses between Balham and Streatham Hill. Tickets will also be valid on South Western Railway services between Clapham Junction and London Waterloo. 

  • Saturday 13 - Sunday 14 February
  • Saturday 20 - Sunday 21 February
  • Saturday 1 - Monday 3 May (Bank Holiday weekend)
  • Saturday 8 - Sunday 9 May
  • Saturday 15 - Sunday 16 May
  • Saturday 22 - Sunday 23 May
  • Saturday 29 - Monday 31 May (Bank Holiday weekend)
  • Sunday 6 June - no trains will run between Balham and Victoria

*Additional weekend working will be required to support the work. Further dates to follow when confirmed. 

Christmas works

  • Saturday 25 December - Sunday 2 January 2022 - 9-day closure
  • Sunday 25 December - Monday 2 January 2023 - 9-day closure

What’s being delivered in this phase of works - between London Victoria, Clapham Junction and Balham, and the West London Lines from Clapham to Shepherds Bush

  • Multimillion-pound investment in signalling, track, civils, power systems and telecoms
  • 93 new modern LED signals
  • 17 signal gantries replaced with new easier maintained structures
  • 3 new power supply points for the signalling and points heating equipment
  • 186 new axle counters (train detection equipment)
  • 200,000 metres of new signalling, telecoms and power supply cable
  • 8 key junctions and 50 points renewed to achieve greater track reliability and minimise disruption
  • Recontrol to the Clapham and Balham areas from the 1970s Victoria Area Signalling Centre to the state-of-the-art Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre

Learn more

You can learn more about the project at 

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Leonard Bennett

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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