Pictures taken from the Network Rail helicopter show the tracks and stations in the South East that will be the focus of major improvement work – and closures – this August.
The helicopter has been surveying the tracks between London Bridge, Cannon Street, Waterloo East and Blackfriars, to make sure that the railway is in a good condition ahead of engineering upgrade work this August.
Over the August Bank Holiday weekend and four working days afterwards there will be significantly fewer trains into London as Network Rail continues to rebuild London Bridge station and the surrounding railway, as part of the Thameslink Programme. This is part of a £133m programme of investment that Network Rail will spend on upgrading the rail network across Britain this August.
During these eight days, there will be no Southeastern services to or from Charing Cross, Waterloo East and London Bridge. There will be an amended timetable for this period and those trains that do run will be extremely busy and will be diverted to alternative London stations: Victoria, Blackfriars, Cannon Street or Waterloo.
On Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 August there will also be no Southeastern trains to or from Cannon Street and there will be a reduced Southern service to and from London Bridge. On Monday 28 September and Saturday 2 September there will be no Southeastern trains to or from Blackfriars.
By stopping trains from running on these lines for eight days, when the railway is significantly less busy than usual, Network Rail will be able to safely move the Charing Cross lines into their final position, routed through the newly constructed Bermondsey Dive Under and then into platforms 6 to 9 at London Bridge. This will mean that from January 2018, Southeastern and Southern services will be able to ‘dive under’ the new Thameslink lines, reducing delays and improving the experience for millions of passengers travelling to and through the landmark new station.
Simon Blanchflower, Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme director, said: “As these remarkable photographs show, we are making huge progress at and around London Bridge to transform the railway for passengers, as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. I would like to thank passengers for their patience as we work throughout the bank holiday and following week to deliver more regular, more reliable journeys to and through London. If you are travelling over this period, please do make sure to plan ahead and visit www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk/2017 for detailed travel advice.”
Ellie Burrows, train services director, Southeastern, said: “We realise that the forthcoming closures and reduced services will mean that journeys may take longer and trains will be busier for passengers. So we encourage all those affected to look at the impact on their journey and change their normal routine, such as travelling outside the busiest times, using alternative routes or working from home if possible. When it is completed, the Thameslink Programme will improve the passenger experience for all those using London Bridge from next year onwards”.
A Southern spokesman said: “Our trains will be much busier during this work, as they will during the Waterloo improvement work leading up to it, from 5-28 August. We would urge passengers to allow longer for their journeys and to check before they travel.”