October marks an important day in the future of London’s public transport system, as phase two of the government funded Thameslink programme is launched at London Bridge station.
As well an ambitious redevelopment of London Bridge station, the scheme involves major surgery on miles of outdated track and signalling, with upgrades from Bedford to Brighton and on other rail routes that serve London Bridge and ultimately a fleet of new state-of-the-art trains.
Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations at Network Rail, said: “This will be the most ambitious redevelopment of any London station in a generation and one of the most technically demanding projects ever undertaken on our railway.
“It is only possible because of the partnership that we have built with the train operators, Transport for London and our suppliers. But ultimately its success will be defined by the passengers who use the station. The benefits will be massive, but we need their help and support to make it happen.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Passenger numbers have risen on an unprecendented scale in recent years and are now at their highest since the 1920s. It is absolutely essential that we keep pace with this growth, which is why the Government is funding a massive programme of investment in our railways.
“Train passengers will be the biggest winners from this investment as London Bridge station is transformed from one of the capital’s most congested stations into one of the most modern, accessible and passenger-friendly transport hubs in the UK.”
In a joint statement, train operators First Capital Connect, Southeastern and Southern commented: “This project will mean more trains and better journeys for passengers. A critical part of the plans is providing passengers with good information. That’s why we are looking to build on some of the best practice seen during London 2012, and launching a new campaign - supported by the whole industry - to promote awareness. We thank passengers for their understanding and patience whilst these essential improvement works are being delivered “
Network Rail will carry out the work to the station and track in distinct phases, each having a different impact on train services. This means a number of shorter periods of disruption rather than all passengers being impacted for the full duration of the project. The biggest changes include:
December 2012: The London Overground extension opens 9th December, benefiting passengers using Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye, coinciding with the withdrawal of Southern’s South London Line services between Victoria and London Bridge via Denmark Hill. The timing of many of Southern’s services to and from London Bridge will be changing from 9 December as a result of the station works. For more information passengers should visit www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk
May 2013: Platforms 14-16 are taken out of use to enable redevelopment work. Some services will be retimed and platform changes required.
December 2014 to 2018*: Thameslink route services to and from central London diverted away from London Bridge.
2015 to 2016*: Services to Charing Cross unable to call at London Bridge station.
2016 to late 2017*: Services to Cannon Street unable to call at London Bridge station.
(*Latter timings subject to ongoing planning)
The first wave involves meet the project sessions at 14 destinations across London and the south east for a two week period, 75,000 information leaflets being distributed and the relaunch of www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk, which will become a one stop shop for the latest information with regular news alerts being sent to those who sign up.
When fully complete in 2018, London Bridge will have the biggest concourse in the UK. Lifts or escalators will take passengers to every platform, whilst new entrances on Tooley Street and St Thomas Street will mean better access to cycling, walking and bus routes. Congestion on the Northern line at London Bridge Underground station will be reduced and the capacity for train services stopping at the station between 8am and 9am will increase from 70 to a maximum of 88.