With only four weeks to go until a 16-day part-closure of London Bridge railway station and the start of long-term service changes, passengers are being urged to plan their alternative routes.
Up to 750,000 journeys will be affected every day as Network Rail continues to rebuild London Bridge station as part of the £6.5bn government sponsored Thameslink Programme, which will allow more trains and better reliability on one of Europe’s busiest rail routes.
Simon Blanchflower, Thameslink programme director, said:
“In the long run our work here will improve the journeys of millions of passengers across the south, but we understand that until we’ve finished some people may have to change their journey to or from London.
“We’ve worked very hard to make sure there are alternative routes so please plan ahead and find one that works for you. Thank you again for your patience.”
From Saturday 20 December 2014 to Sunday 4 January 2015 inclusive, Southern and Thameslink trains will not call at London Bridge and cross-London Thameslink Bedford-Brighton trains won’t return until 2018. Also, from Monday 22 to Wednesday 24 December some Southeastern Charing Cross services will not call at London Bridge in the morning peak.
The changes will allow over 1,200 of Network Rail’s engineers to work safely around the clock, even on Christmas Day, to open two new platforms and modernise nearby track and signalling equipment that has been in use since the 1970s.
Then, on Monday 12 January, 2015, platforms 5 and 6, which are used by Thameslink and Southeastern services, will be taken out of use. This will allow engineers to start working on the new tracks and platforms which will eventually create space for more trains than ever before to run through central London.
Until August 2016, Southeastern Charing Cross services will not call at London Bridge and some trains will be diverted to alternative London terminals. Thameslink will be left with a reduced service at other platforms to and from Brighton.
Operators Southeastern, Southern and Thameslink said:
“We’re working hard together to make sure our passengers get the best travel advice and help during this massive project. We’ll have more staff out to help and lots of information – please check before you travel at ThameslinkProgramme.co.uk.”
For passengers affected between Saturday 20 December and Sunday 4 January, valid National Rail tickets will be accepted on certain routes on London Overground, Thameslink, Southern, Southeastern, South West Trains, London Underground, Tramlink, DLR and London Buses.
From January to the end of August 2016, National Rail tickets to and from London terminals issued by Southeastern, Thameslink, Southern and South West trains will be accepted at limited Underground stations in South London without extra charge.
London Bridge Underground station is not affected by the work.
Some season tickets which expire after 4 January 2015 will need to be reissued to allow them to be used at selected Transport for London ticket gates. Operators are contacting season ticket holders to advise them of the process.