Monday 29 Aug 2016
Two-thirds of new London Bridge station concourse opens
Two-thirds of a brand new concourse at Britain’s fourth-busiest railway station opened to passengers today (Monday, 29 August), in time for commuters returning to work from the late August bank holiday.
The concourse is part of a major redevelopment of London Bridge station which started four years ago. Once complete in 2018, the redevelopment will provide passengers with a bigger, better railway including a concourse the size of the pitch at Wembley.
Over 80 retail units will help to improve the local economy when the development is complete – including a number set aside for local start-up companies – and passengers will benefit from improved connections and better options to more destinations including Cambridge and Peterborough.
The redevelopment is part of Network Rail’s railway upgrade plan and the government-sponsored Thameslink programme which will transform north-south travel through London by 2018. The programme includes new track and modern trains to provide more reliable journeys for passengers. Network Rail is also untangling the track on the approaches to London Bridge station to reduce the time trains wait for platforms to clear and cut delays.
Mark Carne, Network Rail’s chief executive said, “This is a big step towards the bigger, better railway passengers deserve. The opening of two-thirds of the concourse marks a major milestone in the redevelopment of London Bridge and, while there is plenty still to do, I am pleased passengers can now see the benefits beginning to come through.
“We are essentially rebuilding Britain’s fourth busiest station – the tracks, the platforms and the infrastructure which enables trains to run – while keeping the station open and doing our best to keep passengers moving.”
Throughout the redevelopment Network Rail and construction partner Costain have worked with train operators Southern and Southeastern to keep the station open for the 56 million passengers who use it every year. The orange army started construction on the south side of the station and worked in phases to build the new platforms and concourse below.
Richard Dean, Train Services Director at Southeastern said: “We would like to thank passengers for bearing with us during this crucial stage of the London Bridge rebuild. We’re really pleased that you’ll now be able to start using the new station.
“There’s still work to be done, and in order for it to happen we’ve had to change some of our services. This means that many of our trains will be affected, especially on the working days, Tuesday 30 August – Thursday 1 September when we’ll be running fewer trains than normal. During this time please check before you travel, and where possible plan an alternative journey. Full details on the changes can be found at southeasternrailway.co.uk/august.”
Dyan Crowther, Govia Thameslink Railway Chief Operating Officer, said: "Our passengers are benefiting from the newly unveiled escalators, stairs and lifts and will be impressed by the new concourse. We're looking forward to the completion of the station in 2018, with its new track and signalling, allowing the return of a new and improved Thameslink service at London Bridge."
The complete station redevelopment will open in January 2018.
Notes to editor
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 more frequently 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 station 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
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.