Kent & SE London: One Week Countdown Begins at London Bridge
OREANDA-NEWS. After more than three years of work, the finishing touches are being made ahead of the August Bank Holiday when the hoardings come down and passengers will experience for the first time what has been built beneath their feet.
On Monday, 29 August the newly built platforms 7 – 15 will be open for use, new retail units will open for business and passengers will be able to make use of new exits from the station.
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.”
Richard Dean, Train Services Director at Southeastern said: “We’d like to thank our passengers for bearing with us during the rebuild. We’re really pleased that they’ll now be able to start using and enjoying the new London Bridge station. Our new timetable - and the temporary changes being put in place between Saturday 27 August and Thursday 1 September - will mean changes for some people, so we urge all of our passengers to check before they travel.”
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 ahead of 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.”
The concourse will be fitted with lifts, stairs and escalators to make it fully accessible for everyone, particularly wheelchair users and those with buggies or heavy luggage. Passengers will be able to use new exits and entrances from the station as well as new shops, cafes and retail facilities to enjoy while passing through. When it is completed in 2018, the concourse will be the largest in Britain and bigger than the pitch at Wembley stadium.
Throughout construction work, Network Rail has kept the station open for the 50 million passengers who use it every year. Building work will now move away from the Southern and future Thameslink platforms and focus on the north of the station, where trains to Cannon Street 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 services, via Waterloo East, will begin calling at London Bridge on Monday 29 August for the first time since January 2015.
Passengers heading for the Tube will have a variety of different route open to them, including a peak time route through the new concourse, the existing concourse under the Shard and also through the new entrances and exits onto St Thomas Street.
The complete station will open in January 2018.