The Battersea interchange provides a desperately poor passenger experience and has been officially recognised as the second worst station in the country in an independent report for the Department for Transport (DfT).
The council has worked with Network Rail and the station’s rail operators to develop a £13.6million improvement package which would tackle some of the most serious failings. However, last month the Government announced it was withdrawing around £8million earmarked for the project as part of a national programme of spending cuts.
Council leader Edward Lister has now written to the new Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond stressing the need to bring forward the scheme at the earliest opportunity.
Cllr Lister said: “Clapham Junction is in an appalling state thanks to years of chronic underinvestment.
“While we appreciate the need to rein in public spending we feel this railway scheme is essential, and represents exceptional value to the taxpayer.
“As the busiest station in the country, these improvements would benefit more members of the travelling public than any other station project. More than 34 million people pass through Clapham Junction every year and they cannot be expected to suffer the appalling conditions indefinitely.
“The council has committed its own funding to a separate scheme to open up a new station entrance. This project is expected to be complete by the end of the year and will help relieve overcrowding at the existing ticket office, ticket barriers and in the subway.
“This is an important step forward but much more investment is required to tackle the major problems facing the station. We will continue to press the rail authorities to find saving in other areas and to treat Clapham Junction as a top priority.”
Last year’s DfT “Better Rail Stations” report ranked Clapham Junction as the second worst in the country with passengers complaining about overcrowding, the damp subway tunnel, large stepping distances from the platforms to the trains and poor waiting conditions.
There are also serious misgivings about the overall appearance of the station, the delivery of information and ease of access.
Earlier this year the council launched a new 10 Point Plan for Clapham Junction setting out a menu of investment options for the rail authorities.
To view the 10 Point Plan and to vote for your top priority visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/tenpointplan
Date posted: 5 July 2010