Monday 20 Apr 2015
Ghost station uncovered as Thameslink team tackles Victorian viaduct in Bermondsey
The ghostly remains of a long-lost South London railway station – closed 100 years ago - have been uncovered by engineers constructing the Bermondsey Dive Under, as part of the Thameslink Programme.
Southwark Park station, perched on a viaduct above Rotherhithe New Road, only served passengers from 1902 to 1915 before it closed for good.
Now engineers working on a massive project to rebuild the railway in Bermondsey have rediscovered the former ticket hall and platforms.
Project Manager Greg Thornett said: ““The Bermondsey Dive Under is a key part of the Thameslink Programme, creating the railway necessary to provide a frequent and reliable service through London Bridge and make a huge difference to passengers’ journeys , cutting journey times and making the services more reliable.
“We uncovered the footings for the former platforms while we were preparing the top of the viaduct for new track and we are now working up in the roof space of the former ticket hall to fill in the old sky lights, ready to carry the final track alignment.
“Much of the existing stretch of viaduct will be replaced by the ramps into and out of the new dive under, but the arch that used to house the old booking hall will remain.”
The Government-sponsored £6.5bn Thameslink Programme is rebuilding much of the railway from New Cross Gate through London Bridge and on to Blackfriars and St Pancras. The Bermondsey Dive Under will see two Victorian viaducts partially-demolished and rebuilt to allow Charing Cross trains from South East London and Kent to dive down to almost street level, under a new route carrying Thameslink services from Croydon, and back up again.
In addition the same team, from Network Rail and contractor Skanska, are rebuilding 20 bridges between New Cross and Waterloo East to increase their strength.
Greg Thornett added: “Although the old viaducts will be replaced by modern structures, they are designed to remain in keeping with the older architecture. It’s exciting to see this transformation and it will be a real sense of achievement to see trains running on it.”
Southwark Park station was one of several in the area, including Spa Road, closed as a result of competition from trams and buses and the coming of the First World War.
The Bermondsey Dive Under is situated where the former Bricklayers Arms branch left the main line and a new access road follows the former trackbed under the remaining viaducts.
The site offices sit on the stub end of the trackbed leading towards the former locomotive shed.
The 20 bridges being replaced are of an old design where the rails are carried on timber baulks. These need replacing every 5-10 years so the newer structures will be stronger and last longer between maintenance.
About the Thameslink Programme
The £6.5bn Thameslink Programme will transform north-south travel through London. When complete in 2018 it will give passengers:
• New, spacious trains running every 2 to 3 minutes through central London in the peak
• Improved connections and better options to more destinations on an expanded Thameslink network including Cambridge and Peterborough
• Robust new track and signalling systems offer more reliable journeys
• A completely rebuilt London Bridge station with more space and great facilities
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.7 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.