Woolwich Arsenal station is set to see work to extend and rebuild the booking hall.
A Southeastern press release also states “new flooring and lighting will also be fitted” among improvements at other stations.
Many of those were long known such as rebuilding Hither Green station, which was covered on this site back in March 2022.
We know Network Rail had plans for Woolwich Arsenal given a report at a Greenwich Council Planning Board last year revealed they sought Section 106 funding for station improvement work.
Greenwich Council refused to help. It was the same meeting they ignored TfL’s request for funding support for active travel. The Transport Strategy in full flow then.
What we don’t yet know is whether the existing station will remain – though it seems likely given wording.
The existing Woolwich Arsenal station was built in the early 1990s under British Rail’s Network South East division. It’s amazing what was achieved given funding constraints at the time.
This 1992 video from the excellent Royal Arsenal History page shows the site after the former station was demolished.
It’s always been a bit of a landmark in Woolwich with it’s distinctive design at a prominent site facing General Gordon Square. The DLR opened offering a connection to rail services in 2009.
Southeastern’s press release contains few details on plans and there’s always the risk it could be hit by government cuts to rail.
The Department for Transport seek to close all ticket offices across the country which could be a factor in expanding the booking hall if removed. The station saw a week-long closure in 2019 for upgrade work.
Cramped areas around the entrance at Woolwich Arsenal are an issue hampering the smooth flow of passengers. Whether the rebuild sees sufficient staffing remains to be seen.
Today we again see dozens of unstaffed stations across the Southeastern network as government cuts hit staffing levels. At the time of writing 51 stations have issues with most being short staffed.
Network Rail plan to spend £4.4 million across a number of stations which won’t go far. Presumably Woolwich is not included in that figure or the modest sum will be stretched even further.
It’s also concerning the news doesn’t mention Plumstead station. Plans were approved there some time ago but work hasn’t begun.
It may seem curious that Woolwich Arsenal is being expanded shortly after the Elizabeth line opened.
Presumably in time passenger numbers at the station will still be healthy given it offers direct links to locations such as Greenwich, Lewisham (with a new cinema and shops now being built), London Bridge and the City. Thameslink from the station also heads directly to St Pancras and then north of London.
Many new housing developments are located closer to Woolwich Arsenal than Woolwich station. Granted, it’s only about a five minutes walk.
Those developments include Woolwich’s new leisure centre.
There’s also Woolwich Central with 712 homes.
In addition, Brookhill estate will be rebuilt. Plans to replace 80 homes with 254 were approved last month.
Then the island site on the opposite side of General Gordon Square awaits new plans.
And a smaller block is well underway seconds from the station.
Many other sites in Woolwich sit closer to the Elizabeth line though if future residents seek to reach London Bridge, for example, the National Rail station often remains the best option.
In the mid to long term all Woolwich stations should see strong rail usage given the sheer scale of housing locally.