Monday 22 Aug 2016
One week countdown at London Bridge as the Thameslink Programme prepares to open first section of new concourse
- South East
In less than one week’s time, rail passengers from south London, Surrey and Sussex will be able to use the first two-thirds of the brand new concourse at London Bridge station. There will also be major changes to train services over the bank holiday weekend, during the following week and until 2018.
After more than three years of work, the hoardings will come down on the rebuilt platforms 7 to 15 and passengers will experience for the first time what has been built beneath their feet. New stairs and escalators will link platforms to the concourse below and there will be new routes into and out of the station.
When completed in 2018, the concourse, which will be the largest in Britain and bigger than the pitch at Wembley Stadium, will link every platform at the station and will be served by more than 80 trains every hour.
Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme director, Simon Blanchflower, said: “This is a major milestone for passengers, who will be able to experience the brand new concourse and facilities for the first time. There is still work for us to do and I would like to thank passengers for their patience as we rebuild London Bridge as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan to deliver a modern, more reliable railway.”
Last weekend, volunteers and their families from Network Rail, Southern, Southeastern and the Department for Transport took part in the ‘London Bridge Challenge’ to test the station’s concourse, platforms and facilities before unveiling the improvements to passengers.
Tim Witcomb, a partnering manager at Network Rail who attended the event, said: “It was great to see how all of the hard work of the past three years has paid off. The concourse is very impressive; it’s spacious, easy to navigate and very modern but still keeps some of the character of the old London Bridge.”
Throughout construction work Network Rail has kept the station open for the 50 million passengers who use it every year, starting on the south side of the station and working in phases to build the new platforms and concourse below. Over the bank holiday weekend and the days that follow, the construction site will move away from the Southern and future Thameslink platforms and focus on the north of the station, where Southeastern trains to Cannon Street currently run.
This will mean major changes to services over the bank holiday, for the week after and until 2018.
- Over the August bank holiday weekend and for three working days afterwards (Tuesday 30 August to Thursday 1 September) no trains will run to or from Cannon Street. London Bridge station is expected to be busier during this time and queueing systems may be in place. Passengers are advised to check before they travel.
- Cannon Street trains will not call at London Bridge until January 2018.
- Charing Cross trains, via Waterloo East, will begin calling at London Bridge on Monday, 29 August for the first time since January 2015.
Passengers on Southeastern trains travelling from East Sussex on the Hastings line are advised that there will be changes to their services and to check before they travel.
Passengers heading for the Tube will have a variety of different routes open to them, including a peak-time route through the new concourse, the existing Southern concourse next to the Shard and also through the new entrances and exits onto St Thomas Street.
The complete station will open in January 2018.
About Thameslink Programme
The Government-sponsored Thameslink Programme is transforming north-south travel through London. When complete in 2018 it will give passengers:
- New longer and more 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
- More robust tracks and state-of-the art signalling to make journeys more reliable
- Completely rebuilt stations at Blackfriars and London Bridge.
London Bridge facts
- Over 120 million people a year go to London Bridge or through it to Cannon Street and Charing Cross – around 50 million start or end their at London Bridge itself
- The new concourse at London Bridge will be bigger than the pitch at Wembley, increasing passenger capacity by 65%
- London Bridge will be longer than the Shard is tall
- 179 years old – London Bridge is London’s oldest surviving rail terminus, first opened in Dec 1836
From 2018, more frequent services:
- Between Blackfriars and St Pancras - up to 24 trains per hour in each direction during the peak
- Between London Bridge and St Pancras - up to 18 Thameslink trains an hour in each direction, during the peak.
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.