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.