Passengers are being advised of significant changes to train services in and out of London Bridge in August 2014 which will affect First Capital Connect, Southern and some Southeastern services.
The major change to services for nine days between 23 and 31 August 2014 will allow Network Rail to carry out vital track improvements on the approach to the station and is the first of a number of major line closures which will be needed in addition to the widely-advertised phased platform closures.
The redevelopment of London Bridge station is part of the £6bn Thameslink programme and is the biggest engineering challenge currently underway on the railway network. Once complete in 2018, it will help unlock the additional capacity which will see up to 24 trains per hour travelling through central London.
The changes in August 2014 will mean that no Southern services will call at London Bridge, some First Capital Connect services will be retimed and some Southeastern services may be altered. A year’s notice is being given to allow passengers to prepare or make alternative travel arrangements.
Dave Ward, Network Rail’s route managing director for London and the south east said: “Rebuilding London Bridge is the biggest engineering challenge taking place on the railway and one of the most important stages of the Thameslink project which will unlock capacity through central London and beyond.
“We have widely advertised the phased platform closures taking place but we also need a number of shorter, temporary closures to safely carry out extensive track work. The alternative to this would be significantly more periods of short closures over many weekends, which would cause much more disruption to passengers.
“We are working closely with the train operating companies and Transport for London to provide information as early as possible and passengers can be reassured that everything is being done to keep disruption to a minimum.”
Network Rail has worked with the train companies to plan for line closures to take place over bank holidays and times of the year when passenger numbers are traditionally lower. Underground and bus services will continue to operate as normal throughout the closures.
To publicise the changes to train services to passengers, an exhibition will take place at London Bridge during the week commencing 2 September 2013. The exhibition will also visit East Croydon station on 17-18 September and Brighton station on 22-25 September. Leafleting will also take place at stations affected by the work.
In a joint statement, train operators First Capital Connect, Southern and Southeastern said: “The September station exhibition is another opportunity for us to talk with passengers about the Thameslink Programme.
“We’re working together and with Network Rail and Transport for London to develop alternative travel arrangements for passengers and are committed to sharing this as far in advance as possible.
“The Thameslink website – www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk – is where passengers can keep up to date with the Thameslink Programme and sign up for email alerts about changes that matter to them.”
Another major service change is due to take place between 20 December 2014 and 4 January 2015 when no Southern or First Capital Connect services will call at London Bridge. More details on this, and other blockades, will be announced as soon as possible.
The longer, phased closures which will take place between late 2014 and early 2018 and have been widely advertised, include:
December 2014 to January 2018:
Thameslink route services between Bedford and Brighton through central London will not call at London Bridge.
January 2015 to August 2016:
Southeastern services to and from Charing Cross will not call at London Bridge. Southeastern services to and from Cannon Street will continue to call at London Bridge. Some diversions will take place between Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Blackfriars.
January 2015 onwards:
Southeastern Greenwich line, New Cross and St. John’s station services are diverted to Cannon Street from January 2015 onwards.
August 2016 to early 2018:
Southeastern services to and from Cannon Street will not call at London Bridge station. Southeastern services to and from Charing Cross will resume calling at London Bridge.
Network Rail is carrying out the work at London Bridge 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 duration of the project.
When the station redevelopment is complete in 2018, London Bridge will benefit from increased services with the number of trains between 8am and 9am increasing from 70 to a maximum of 88.
The station will have the biggest station concourse in the UK and be fully accessible with lifts or escalators taking passengers to every platform. The lighter and brighter station will have new entrances on Tooley Street and St Thomas Street with improved access to local cycling, walking and bus routes.