A busy South London train station has an extended footbridge, new set of stairs and eight extra ticket gates in a long-awaited £6.7 million upgrade to tackle overcrowding.

The congestion relief works at Surbiton station have finally been completed by Network Rail, after beginning in October 2021, to make passenger journeys quicker and safer.

A new deck has been added to the existing footbridge at the end of platforms three and four at the station, along with eight more ticket gates to increase the total number to 16, all accessed by a new set of stairs.

Network Rail expects the upgrades, funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), to make passenger journeys at the station up to 31 per cent faster.

Surbiton is the fifth busiest station on Network Rail’s Wessex route with 6.61m entries and exits in 2022/23, according to data from the Office of Rail and Road.

The figures showed 434,021 passengers changed between services at the station in this period.

The high volume of passengers often caused congestion on platforms three and four, heading away from central London, at peak times in the evenings as they had to leave the station using only a single set of stairs before the upgrade.

This sometimes stopped trains leaving on time and delayed services to Guildford, Hampton Court and Woking.

Network Rail hopes the station upgrade will allow passengers to leave quicker and stop them having to queue on a single set of stairs. The new staircase and deck were officially opened on May 17.

The station stayed open during the works, which were mostly completed at night, and passengers had full access to the footbridge.

The station opened in 1838, before being rebuilt in Art Deco style in 1937. It was granted Grade II listed status in 1983.

Mark Goodall, Wessex route director at Network Rail, said the changes will ‘help passengers travel through the station more quickly and comfortably while also improving safety’. He said the works represented ‘three years of hard work that will help ease congestion for the six million passengers who use the station each year’.

Sir Ed Davey, Lib Dem MP for Kingston and Surbiton, said: “This investment by Network Rail into our community will make a significant difference to constituents and the millions of people who use Surbiton station, particularly during the busy evening peak times, which would see congestion on some platforms as a result of the large number of passengers simultaneously trying to exit the station via a single staircase.

“The introduction of a new deck, staircase and eight additional gate lines will help speed up the time it takes for all constituents and commuters to exit the station and improve the safety and overall experience for those using this historic and important station.”