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Victoria Station London is London’s central system of railways, and makes up the London Underground and the coach station in the City of Westminster. After the Waterloo, Victoria Station London is the 2nd busiest railway system in the UK and in London. Not surprisingly, it got its name from Queen Victoria.
There are, in effect, two separate operating stations:
eastern side which is located in Chatham and comprises platforms 1 through 8, is the terminus for those services that are provided to Kent on the Chatham Main Line and its branches.
The western side which is located in Bright on and comprises platforms 9 through 19, is the terminus for those services that are provided to Sussex and Surrey, including Brighton on the Main Line, Gatwick Airport, and also the East Grinstead Branch on the Oxted Line.
This eastern and western split is generally adhered to, since the track layout does not permit much in the way of swapping, with only a minimum number of flyover connections between the primary lines in the Battersea area with an additional connection of a single track immediately outside the station. Since the Brighton side is usually the busier of the two, the disruptions to that line will sometimes result in some of its suburban services being used on the eastern side. This is especially true of the Gatwick Express, which runs along the Brighton Main Line, and it will usually divert to the side tracks of the Chatham when engineering works are in progress in an effort to keep the same service levels.
Victoria Station London also serves as the London terminus for the Venice Simplon Orient Express, from Platform 2, which is the longest platform. There are ticket barriers on platforms 1 and through 12 to 19 with the exception of platforms 13 and 14 where there are no ticket barriers.
Victoria Station London is now the busiest on the London Underground system and serves nearly 80,000,000 passengers each year. Since the station was not built for this number of passengers, the result is severe overcrowding. Crowd control measures are in place at the busiest times in an effort to reduce the number of dangerous situations that may occur. This effectively means that all of the entrances to the underground platforms are closed and operated as an exit only station until such time as the overcrowding is relieved.
In an effort to provide a lasting solution to this problem, a major upgrade of the Victoria Station London is scheduled, including a new northern entrance/exit on the North West corner of Victoria Street by means of an additional ticket office that is located under Bressenden Place leading to both the District, Circle, and Victoria Line platforms. This upgrade is scheduled for completion by 2017. The work will also be increasing the size of the current Victoria Line ticket hall which serves the railway station, as well as adding a new bank of relief escalators. However, this aspect of the plan has been criticized as access to platforms from the new escalators will be indirect and very long when compared to the direct access by using the existing escalators.