New signalling in the Hither Green area of Lewisham, south-east London, is now in operation after Network Rail completed its two-year project with a nine-day closure of routes across South East London.
The old system, which controlled the movement of trains on the lines through Hither Green, had been in place since the 1970s. It had become unreliable, difficult to maintain, and spare parts were hard to find.
Signalling on the Sidcup, Grove Park and Bromley North lines through Hither Green is now controlled from a modern, state-of-the-art rail operating centre (ROC) at Three Bridges in Crawley. This will mean fewer faults, fewer delays and better journeys for passengers travelling between Kent, Hither Green, Lewisham and into Central London.
In total, the £81 million project has delivered:
- Turnback capability at Hither Green, Grove Park and Lee – this means that more trains can run when there are unplanned delays or engineering works;
- Signalling control of the area transferred to the to the Three Bridges ROC, helping to recover the service more quickly when there is an incident;
- Old track-circuit train detection system replaced by 254 axle counters;
- 92 new signal heads, 58 new signals and nine new signal gantries;
- 24km of new power cable and 19km of new fibre-optic cable;
- 86 set of points enhanced to improve reliability of junctions;
- Power supply upgraded and made more resilient;
- Better signalling at Grove Park station that will allow 12-car trains to stop at Platform 3 during unplanned disruption – making it easier to keep passengers moving;
- Deep cleaning, painting, platform and canopy repairs at Chislehurst, Elmstead Woods, Grove Park, Sundridge Park, Bromley North, Lee, Mottingham and New Eltham stations.
Work to improve Hither Green and Chislehurst stations will continue over the next few months, along with the removal of the old signalling kit.
In the wider area, Network Rail, in partnership with Southeastern, is investing a record £1.25 billion over the next few years to upgrade track, signalling, embankments, structures, stations and depots. This much needed investment in the Kent network replaces life-expired equipment with modern, reliable technology to improve train performance and keep people moving on time for decades to come.
£250 million of that investment, of which the Hither Green re-signalling project formed part, is being used to deliver more reliable journeys through South East London.