Work on a multi-million pound redevelopment of Surbiton station has started, Network Rail announced on Tuesday (October 5).

The £6.7 million project, which is being funded by the Department of Transport, will see new staircases, a footbridge extension and new ticket gates introduced at the station.

Network Rail said Tuesday that preparatory works had already begun with the main works due to begin later in the month. They also said they recognised the need to preserve the station's iconic heritage such as the art deco facade during the redevelopment.

"The Network Rail upgrades are designed to improve passenger safety and journey times as passenger levels grow post-Covid and should be completed by the end of May 2022. Work on the £6.7m DfT-funded project will see the number of ticket gates increase from eight to 16. Surbiton is the eighth busiest station on Network Rail’s Wessex route with nearly 9.5 million passengers passing through it during 2019-2020," a spokesperson for Network Rail said of the project.

They added that the works were designed to cut queueing times down at the station by adding exits that will speed up passengers leaving the station.

Surrey Comet:

Between October 27-November 14, and on the weekends of January 22/23 and 29/30, members of the public will be redirected via the passenger side of the footbridge, Network Rail added.

"Surbiton station is one of the busiest on our route and its modernist façade is a famous local landmark, however it has just one staircase to the footbridge from platforms three and four. Currently passengers have to use very narrow parts of the platforms to exit which can lead to congestion on the platforms and prevent trains from being dispatched on time," Network Rail’s Wessex route director Mark Killick said. "The improvements will respect the station’s rich heritage and will improve safety and keep trains running on time by making it easier to exit. I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out this essential work and we are working with colleagues at SWR to keep disruption to a minimum," he added.

Private rail operator SWR's Alan Penlington meanwhile described the expected impact of the works as a "welcome reduction in congestion at Surbiton station" that would "reduce delays".

The station building is a famous local landmark thanks to its art deco style, dating back to its rebuilding in 1937 using designs by the chief architect of the Southern Railway, James Robb Scott. In October 1983 it was made a Grade II listed structure by Historic England, marking it as an ‘important building of special interest’.

Network Rail said that architects assigned to the project were working with a number of advisory parties to preserve the station's heritage, including Historic England, The Railway Heritage and The Design Council.