London Bridge, one of Britain’s busiest stations, is being completely rebuilt as part of the government’s multi-billion pound investment to transform rail services across London and the south east. When finished in 2018 the Thameslink Programme will enable passengers to use a bigger and brighter London Bridge station served by new spacious trains running every 2-3 minutes at peak times through central London. New robust tracks and signalling will give passengers more reliable journeys to more destinations on an expanded Thameslink network.
To minimise the impact on the 117m passengers who go directly to London Bridge or through it to Cannon Street, Charing Cross or Thameslink stations to the north and south every year, Network Rail is carrying out the hugely complex construction work in phases. The platforms are being completely demolished and rebuilt in a rolling programme which will increase the number of lines going through the station to central London from six to nine. Whilst this is taking place a concourse bigger than the pitch at Wembley is being created beneath passengers’ feet.
From Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 August, covering the August bank holiday weekend and four working days, a vast amount of track and signalling work will take place as platforms 12 and 13 are brought back into use and platforms 10 and 11 are closed for demolition and rebuilding. While the station is closed, a triple-span, three-track bridge on the approach to London Bridge will be replaced.
Owing to the scale of the work, no First Capital Connect or Southern services will stop at London Bridge from 23 to 31 August and London Overground will not operate to and from New Cross on weekdays. Passengers will need to use alternative routes. Southeastern services will continue to run but may be subject to some alteration and London Overground services to New Cross will be diverted to Crystal Palace to provide additional options for stations between Sydenham and Brockley.
London Underground services will continue to run as normal but are likely to be busier than usual for this time of year. London Bridge Underground station will continue to operate as normal. Certain services and stations on the London Overground and Southeastern networks are also likely to be busier than usual for this time of year.
Network Rail’s head of communications for London and the south east, Nicky Hughes, said: “London Bridge station sits at the heart of one of Britain’s busiest rail routes and rebuilding it piece by piece while keeping it open for passengers is a huge challenge. We do as much as we can behind the scenes so passengers aren’t affected, but there will be times when we have to change some services.
“For nine days at the end of August, some passengers will need to use alternative routes into London and to destinations like Luton and Gatwick airports and Brighton. Everyone can still get where they want to go, but please check before you travel to find your alternative route.”
Southern’s commercial director, Alex Foulds, said: “We are working with Network Rail and other train operators to ensure passengers have all the information they need to plan their journeys whilst the station is closed. We’re also recruiting additional staff to assist passengers during the disruption.”
Keith Jipps, customer service director for First Capital Connect, said: “We’ll still be running services between Bedford and Brighton on the Thameslink route but we won’t be able to serve London Bridge. Trains will also be extremely busy with passengers displaced from other routes so please, please plan ahead by visiting ThameslinkProgramme.co.uk.”
Gareth Powell, director of strategy & service development, London Rail and Underground, said: “As a result of changes to train timetables while Network Rail rebuild the station, we are expecting some London Overground and Underground services to be busier than usual for the time of year. We’re working closely with Network Rail and the train operators to make sure that all customers have the information they need to make their journeys.”