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Drayton Park could open to stop station overcrowding on Arsenal matchdays after Sadiq Khan steps in

PUBLISHED: 14:54 04 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:54 04 July 2017

The northbound Victoria line platform 45 minutes before Arsenal played Bayern Munich in March. Picture: Isabelle Fraser

The northbound Victoria line platform 45 minutes before Arsenal played Bayern Munich in March. Picture: Isabelle Fraser

Archant

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of being at Highbury and Islington station when Arsenal are playing at home knows about the dangerous levels of overcrowding.

Overcrowding at Highbury and Islington station before an Arsenal game. Picture: Sam GelderOvercrowding at Highbury and Islington station before an Arsenal game. Picture: Sam Gelder

But it could become a thing of the past after new measures were proposed by Highbury East’s Cllr Caroline Russell, who quizzed Sadiq Khan about the problems in her role as a Green Party London Assembly member.

She asked the mayor if he had considered asking Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to look at opening Drayton Park station, which is 320 metres from The Emirates but is closed on matchdays.

Cllr Russell suggested the Northern City Line station could take some of the strain off Highbury and Islington if it had widened platforms and a good service, and Mr Khan has agreed to ask TfL to raise the issue with the operator.

“People contact me all the time about it and at ward partnership meetings you can usually guarantee someone is going to be in touch about overcrowding,” said Cllr Russell.

“Highbury and Islington is an incredibly busy station with the Overground now coming in. When you combine it with a matchday and rush hour it’s very busy. When you are down there it’s frightening and feels out of control.

“It is my local station and I have literally been in the front carriage of a Tube and the station is so full you can’t get off. You really have to push and force your way out.

“Holloway Road is closed on matchdays and there is just not enough thought being put into how people access and leave this massive stadium.

“There’s a need for better transport links and using Drayton Park they could take some of the strain if they widened the platforms and put on frequent trains.

“The mayor’s response is an excellent start. The important thing now is Thameslink apply some imagination to the situation.”

Sadiq Khan said in his reponse: “Service provision at Drayton Park station is an issue for the train operator GTR and the Department for Transport; any changes to infrastructure would be the responsibility of Network Rail.”

A spokesman for Arsenal told the Gazette the club could not comment on the situation at this early stage.

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