The first phase of the dramatic rebuild of London Bridge railway station is set to finish on schedule today when the first two new platforms will be brought into use and the next two are closed for redevelopment.
London Bridge is one of Britain’s busiest stations, serving 54 million passengers a year, and is getting busier.
The current layout of the station and the tracks surrounding it mean that currently no more trains can run during the morning or evening peak periods.
The station is being redeveloped as part of the government-sponsored £6.5 billion Thameslink Programme, which will transform north-south travel through London.
The investment will remove bottlenecks to enable new, more spacious trains to run with Tube-like frequency every two-to-three minutes at peak times through central London by 2018, reducing pressure on the Underground.
Better connections will offer passengers more travel options to new destinations while new track and modern trains will make journeys more reliable.
The overhaul of London Bridge - Britain’s biggest ever station redevelopment - will result in a bigger, brighter, station that is unrecognisable from today.
When complete the station will be longer than the Shard is tall, with a new single concourse larger than the pitch at Wembley at street level to provide more space and easier connections to other rail services and the Underground.
Improved links will join the two communities to the north and south of the station and help boost economic regeneration in the area.
The entire length of the new, longer platforms at London Bridge will be covered by strikingly-designed undulating canopies of steel and aluminium, allowing passengers to make full use of them during all weather conditions, making boarding trains more efficient.
Stunning ‘eyebrow’ arches over north-facing glass will let light flood the platform and the new concourse being built directly below.
Dave Ward, Network Rail route managing director, said: “This huge investment in rebuilding London Bridge station will transform rail travel in London for millions of people across London and the south east.
“By 2018, London Bridge will be the most modern station in Britain with more space, better connections and great facilities.
“Keeping London Bridge open for passengers while we rebuild it is a critical and challenging part of the Thameslink Programme.
“Construction goes on as much as possible behind the scenes without impacting passengers but there will be times each year between now and 2018 where services into the station will need to change.
“Wherever possible, we will schedule work that requires changes to train services at quieter times, such as summer holidays and Christmas, to minimise disruption as much as possible.”