Government force Network Rail to abandon the rebuild of East Croydon Station.

Addiscombe West councillors were disappointed to receive a letter from Network Rail. The letter confirms that the Govt’s Levelling Down Agenda for London has led to the indefinite pausing of their CARS plans to rebuild East Croydon & Norwood Junction Stations and the unravelling of the rail bottleneck at the Selhurst Triangle. Network Rail had previously told councillors that the project could only proceed if the Government is willing to give Network Rail the go-ahead to invest in schemes of this size. Unfortunately, the Government is not willing to do this.

Network Rail claims the pause is due to the effects of the pandemic and the drop in passenger numbers. However, the CARS programme aim was to improve the reliability and resilience of services, not just to increase passenger capacity. For example, during the Pandemic, when passenger numbers were low, the Brighton Main Line suffered frequent closures and delays due to the current lack of resilience in the current design, where a broken down train in the wrong place can shut down a major section of the line.

Network Rail’s CARS scheme for tackling the Croydon Bottleneck is economically vital for Croydon and other communities along the Brighton Main Line, including Brighton, Crawley, Redhill. However, pausing this scheme at a time when the economy is weak is short-sighted and damaging. The Government claims it has a levelling up agenda, but in Croydon and London, it is a clear case of a Levelling Down agenda.

July 2021 Letter from Network Rail sent to Addiscombe West Councillors.