Network Rail have invested £2.6m to reduce the gap between trains and platforms at Balham station, improving safety and reducing delays. Platforms have also been refurbished with new surfaces, drainage and platform canopies repaired and repainted.
Balham station serves as an interchange for train and tube services across South London and beyond and the improvements include:
- Track realignment works to reduce the stepping distance between trains and platforms
- New fencing at the London end of the platforms to help deter trespass, improving safety and helping to reduce delays associated with trespass
- Platform canopies – new sheeting installed to keep passengers dry
- Canopy gutter – new galvanised steel system which will reduce the risk of flooding
- New tactile paving on platforms to improve accessibility for visually impaired passengers
- Upgraded drainage system to prevent flooding
The station first opened in 1856 as Balham Hill and was actually situated on the west side of Balham High Road. It was re-sited in 1863 to its present location as part of works to widen the line and improve the route between East Croydon and London Victoria station.
Further remodelling of the line was undertaken in 1890 and 1897 to increase capacity and after several name changes, reverted to Balham in 1969. Since then, the station has been developed throughout the years, but these new upgrades will make it fit for the 21st Century.
Shaun King, route director for Sussex said:
“This is another fine example of what can be achieved by working in partnership with our industry colleagues. We have worked closely with Southern and other stakeholders throughout this project while maintaining station access during the works.
“The upgrades at Balham station are a real boost to commuters and rail passengers who are now able to enjoy vastly improved facilities which will make rail use safer for the public.”
Trains from Balham include regular services to London Victoria, Sutton, Epsom, Milton Keynes Central and South Croydon, and the station is also connected to the London Underground’s Northern Line.
Chris Fowler, Southern’s Customer Services Director, said:
“On behalf of our customers we welcome Network Rail’s wide-ranging comfort and safety improvements at Balham. As passengers return to the station, the new seats and platform shelter we’ve installed as part of our own network-wide, multimillion-pound station improvement programme will also enhance their travel experience. Customers told us they wanted more wooden seating, so we’ve put in seven new benches.”