The Anonymous Widower

Levelling Up Funding Will Double Train Services To Belmont In Surrey

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Advent.

This project is outlined in these three paragraphs in the article.

An award of £14.1 million to Sutton Council from the government’s Levelling Up Fund will unlock the full potential of the London Cancer Hub and allow the number of trains running to the village of Belmont in South London to be doubled.

The London Cancer Hub is a world-leading life sciences campus that is being developed at Belmont in Surrey, and which will create 13,000 jobs and £1.2 billion each year for the UK economy.

Until now, Belmont has been poorly served by public transport and the money will enable its train services to be doubled to four trains an hour, and extra direct services from Belmont to London Victoria.

This document from Sutton Council gives more details in this paragraph.

This bid will double train frequency between Belmont and London Victoria from 2 to 4 trains per hour by building a siding turnback south of Belmont Station. It will improve accessibility at the station and provide better routes for people walking and cycling to the station from the nearby area and The London Cancer Hub. As a result, public transport accessibility will improve and active travel will increase.

This map from CartoMetro shows the current track layout at Belmont station.


  1. The Epsom Downs branch used to be double track, with a second platform at Belmont station.
  2. There used to be a cross-over South of the station.

I suspect a length of the other track will be reinstated, with a cross-over the other way round to create the turnback siding.

This will allow two extra trains per hour to run between London and Belmont, that will turn back at Belmont.

In Could Third-Rail Tram-Trains Work The Epsom Downs Branch?, I walked up the hill to the Royal Marsden Hospital and it wasn’t an easy walk, as these pictures show.

Perhaps all trains should be met by a zero-carbon shuttle bus.

Going to a cancer hospital is not a pleasurable experience, especially for a child, so why not liven it up a bit with a ride in the best zero-carbon bus, that can be found?




January 19, 2023 - Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , ,


  1. That’s interesting. I grew up in Belmont, just around the corner from the Marsden, and remember the queen coming to officially open it (we had the afternoon off school).

    Sutton council was originally wanting to extend the trams, but reinstating the double track is presumably the cheaper option. I used it to commute to school, and it was 2-track/platform then.

    When I was young, there were sidings there, and a little steam shunter used to work there (mainly for coal, as I recall).

    Not sure why this counts as ‘levelling up’ though – it’s hardly an impoverished area.

    Comment by Peter Robins | January 19, 2023 | Reply

    • This is from Sutton’s bid document.

      Our bid seeks to transform public transport and active
      travel to Belmont and the London Cancer Hub – Europe’s
      leading oncology district.

      The scheme proposes a siding turnback south of Belmont
      Station to double the frequency of trains from 2 to 4 per
      hour, a more accessible station with improved routes for
      people walking and cycling, and wayfinding

      The London Cancer Hub is discovering new drugs to fight
      cancer. Further expansion offers the potential of c.£1.2bn
      GVA and c.13,000 jobs. The scheme will help to realise
      these benefits.

      It’s probably mainly to get the best researchers from around the world.

      Comment by AnonW | January 19, 2023 | Reply

  2. This morning I will be a world leading cancer hub. I have to there by 8.00 when the department opens – hence why I am up and online at 6.00 a.m. The on site research lab issuing rebuilt after a fire several years ago. At present the research is taking place at a different lab about 15 miles away. But the research staff still see and talk to patients on trials.

    Car Parking isn’t easy there and it isn’t on the tram system as far as I know. Neither does it have a nearby railway system – the nearest is either the city centre and or the one down in Didsbury. I have never seen trams there. Nor are there any at the large district general hospital down the road from the cancer centre – this hospital however does have a helipad for bringing in organs for transplant – it is on the the few heart transplant units in this part of England.

    But hey – neither of their MPs are PM!

    Sounds like I am being bitchy, but what I am saying is true. My understanding is that Marsden is the cancer hospital in the south and Christie in the north, with other hospitals having expertise in certain types of cancers.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 20, 2023 | Reply

    • If you look at the history of the Royal Marsden, it was on two cramped city centre sites and they acquired one of the old workhouse sites outside of London in the green-belt in the 1960s. So they can expand easily, leaving the city centre sites for teaching and patients in the centre. But the Surrey site, is as far away from the City Centre as Warrington is from Manchester.

      London’s two new big hospitals, the Royal London and UCL have been rebuilt on existing sites, which are also good transport hubs.

      Every hospital in the country should be on the step-free transport network. UCL is one of the best, where there is a bus stop outside the main entrance. I can get a bus there from within a hundred metres from where I live.

      Addenbrookes in Cambridge used to be cars only twenty years ago, now it’s a lot better. but if you live in the countryside it’s still difficult, as are all East Anglian hospitals.

      Comment by AnonW | January 20, 2023 | Reply

      • I don’t know a lot about the Marsden except that my cousin was in there. For reasons I am not putting on here, I was appalled at an bad instance of administrative incompetence. The research at Christie is on site – the lab is being rebuilt, but from what I saw today, it is nearly finished. But there were a lot of research staff around today. Christie has sites all over Manchester and North West – mostly a single clinic building on each of the sites. Most of them offer radiotherapy, particular for people with breast cancer. They will be seen by a consultant local to where they live, and then go to the nearest radiotherapy site. A friend of mine had a gynaecologist cancer and was treated at Preston most of the time, but had to have 2 short stays – about 36 hours each – in Christie for a particularly gruesome therapy. But it worked well and she is fine now.

        One thing about the Christie, they do have a selection of GF food including M&S sandwiches. And they sell Starbucks coffee as well.

        Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 20, 2023

  3. I grew up in North Cheam, not far from Belmont and would like to have seen the headlines about ‘levelling up in California’, the original name of the area before it was renamed.
    I have to say that compared to the West of Ireland, access to cancer care is a lot better here. My wife’s cousin faces a regular 65 miles journey to Limerick without any public transport and relies on volunteers to get to and from the hospital.

    Comment by fammorris | January 20, 2023 | Reply

  4. To me, the important thing with the Marsden isn’t the treatment but the research. The London Cancer Hub website highlights the development of world leading research. Most larger hospitals can administer treatment, but few have any research facilities. Southampton I know is one that does.

    When I needed treatment 12 years ago, I was fortunate that I needed chemo and my local hospital could provide that. If I had needed radiotherapy, I would have had to go to Clatterbridge, which would have been a pain to get to.

    Comment by Peter Robins | January 20, 2023 | Reply

    • When my late wife had breast cancer caused by a car air-bag going off in an accident, she needed to go to a specialist radiotherapy centre in Harley Street every day for several weeks. It did work though! We were living in West Suffolk at the time.

      Comment by AnonW | January 20, 2023 | Reply

    • I have cancer and I am a patient of The Christie, in Manchester. They do a huge amount of work, both with the University, and also onsite. The onsite research has been going on since not long after treatment at the site started, I don’t remember the dates, sorry. A research lab was built adjoining the hospital, and the research staff and research nurses were are still are very heavily involved with research, and with drug trials. Sadly, a fire destroyed the lab, a couple of years ago now. A new more up to date lab is now looking very nearly complete, and at least twice the size. Whilst it was being complete, the staff were based at some other research labs, a drug company already involved in the research, whose name I forget, not far from Jodrell Bank. But research staff – scientists, medical doctors and nurses – are all visible around The Christie – I was there yesterday. It was I think also the first hospital to get a Proton Beam device, which is really helping children and young people with brain tumours, and now trials are being carried to see if they can help women with breast cancer who are not able to have chemotherapy.

      Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 21, 2023 | Reply

      • Their website claims, presumably correctly, that they’re “the largest single site cancer centre in Europe”. According to the website their new lab should open in March. ‘Near Jodrell Bank’ presumably means Alderley Park, what used to be AstraZenica?

        It should be said that medical science is one area where GB genuinely is a world leader.

        Comment by Peter Robins | January 21, 2023

      • Yes, Christie is the largest single site cancer centre in Europe. Yes, it is Astra Zeneca – I just couldn’t remember the name. To me the place has a specialness that I can’t put a name too. And everyone smiles, – even when the staff were all masked up, they still smiles at everyone you could see it in their eyes. I use a mobility scooter, and staff open doors for you if they are passing etc – which I haven’t seen in my District General Hospital – although that is officially inadequate according CQC. Other places also think it is a great place – when new cancer centres are being opened abroad, they often invite staff from the Christie out there to advise and train new staff. And if you are old enough to remember the Pat Seed “one in a million” appeal to buy a CT scanner for the hospital – it is about 50 years ago and they only cost £1 million then, the department is still there, and there are now far more of those type of machines there. And it was the first cancer hospital in UK to have Proton Beam Therapy department.

        Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 22, 2023

      • Sorry, AstraZeneca.

        Comment by Peter Robins | January 21, 2023

  5. But it still doesn’t alter the fact, that the Christie and many other hospitals in the UK, still assume, that everybody will be coming by car or ambulance.

    I would have thought, that a world-leading hospital, must have good public transport, to enlarge the catchment area and to retain staff, who might defect to another hospital with free parking or better public transport.

    Fifteen years ago, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge had little parking and bad public transport. Staff told me that a lot left to get a better life. It’s all fixed now after great improvements to the buses and planning permission for a new station.

    Comment by AnonW | January 22, 2023 | Reply

    • Many patients can via patient transport, provided by various voluntary organisations – many of the volunteer drivers are retired ambulance drivers. Buses go past both the front and rear entrance to the hospitals, and people are available to push those who need to be pushed. There are also very local guest houses for relatives of very poorly patients to stay in, often at reduced rates. Various arrangements are in place for people having daily radiotherapy, but not sure what they currently are – it is a while since I have done that run with patients going there – I get asked because I used to work there and I am very comfortable being there. The catchment area is vast and many of the patients coming for specialised treatment come by car, a friend had to come for some particularly horrible treatment and had her husband not been able to drive her down arrangements for suitable transport would be made. Although if ladies tell people they have to go to Christie for this treatment – overnight stay on 2 consecutive weeks, people are falling over themselves to offer people lifts.

      Some years ago a research project carried out by geography students looked at the transport needs of patients, and at the arrangements for volunteer transport services all over the area – which includes the who of the lake district, much of Wales and down to the Midlands. The students were good, and worked hard – I supervised because they were looking at volunteer transport services mainly. The results meant that more people could travel in daily for radiotherapy rather than stay as inpatients during the week.

      But people within Manchester tend to use the trams to get most places, and there isn’t one past the Hospital. Or for that matter, in Stockport. If I am getting a tram I drive to East Didsbury park and ride and catch it there, and it isn’t far from there to Christie, and there are always lots of taxis around.

      Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 23, 2023 | Reply

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