Thameslink Programme’s Railway Systems team undertook the complete track remodelling and re-signalling of all lines east and west of London Bridge station. Design and development started in January 2009, enabling works took place from April 2011 and construction was completed in January 2018. The remodelling and re-signalling works enable the route to provide 30% more capacity for train services.
The project took place at the same time as London Bridge station was being completely rebuilt in stages. It required integration with the civils team while maintaining almost the same level of train services throughout the 4.5-year construction phase.
This was the most complex mainline major re-signalling ever undertaken on Network Rail’s infrastructure on Britain’s fourth busiest station. The multifaceted, long-term project required a complex staging programme to move the operational railway around the construction sites – at London Bridge and the Bermondsey Dive Under – while keeping the railway operational for passengers.
The staging processes
Once authorised by the Department for Transport, the project had to meet strict protocol milestones to ensure that the new infrastructure would be ready and able to provide the additional capacity in the network.
Over 128 different major track stages and nine major re-signalling stages were planned and delivered. Additionally, 35 bridge structures were strengthened. The bridge strengthening work was needed to support the new track alignments and to deliver 10 key milestones in the programme.
All key milestones were delivered on time and the baseline programme did not change from project authorisation in December 2012 until completion in January 2018. In total, over 40km of track and 147 new switches and crossings were installed; a new two-track railway across Borough Viaduct was delivered and a new flyover and dive-under structure was introduced at Bermondsey to enable the re-introduction of the Thameslink services through London Bridge.
As part of the project, the station layout of nine terminating platforms and six through platforms was changed to six terminating platforms and nine through platforms, to open up capacity through London Bridge.
Staged opening of various parts of the new station at London Bridge were successfully delivered throughout the project. Across 2014 and 2015, platforms 10-15 in the terminating part of the station were opened for use by Govia Thameslink Railway’s Southern services. The ‘high level’ (through platforms) part of the station was widened to create the nine new through platforms, for use by Southeastern services. The first third of the huge new concourse and newly rebuilt platforms 7-9 were opened in August 2016, along with newly rebuilt platforms 7-9, allowing the reintroduction of Charing Cross services.
In December 2016, the first new line through Bermondsey Dive Under was commissioned, providing an additional route for Southern services to Sussex. In August 2017, platform 6 was commissioned, as were two more lines through Bermondsey dive-under for use by Southeastern services to and from Charing Cross.
On 2 January 2018, the five remaining platforms, and final section of the massive new concourse at London Bridge station were successfully delivered on time following the final major stage at Christmas 2017. With Thameslink and Cannon Street services also returning to the station, this provided the full operational flexibility of the new layout.
The Thameslink Programme’s remodelling of one of the busiest parts of the railway has been achieved on every front in terms of meeting schedule, while delivering on all key outputs and benefits as outlined at the start of the scheme without compromise. The integration of a number of key major construction works over a 4.5-year construction phase was led by Network Rail as the Principal Designer and client with overall responsibility for construction.
Network Rail Chief Executive, Mark Carne: “To deliver a project as complex and challenging at London Bridge, one of Britain’s busiest stations absolutely bang on programme, is incredible at the same time as keeping the railway operational. It is like carrying out open heart surgery on the patient while he is awake!”
The project has enabled the delivery of a world class iconic station at London Bridge, blending into a fully redeveloped London Bridge quarter. Throughout delivery of this complex programme, significant improvements in reliability of the infrastructure have been achieved and huge safety benefits both in terms of train operation and also for future maintenance of the new infrastructure.
Throughout construction the project consistently delivered stages on time and without operational impact to train services, giving confidence to all key stakeholders in Network Rail’s ability to deliver major complex programmes.
Who was involved:
- Network Rail
- Siemens Rail Automation
- Balfour Beatty Rail Projects
- Key sub-contractors included Lundy projects (Signal Structures), Sonic Rail services (Electric Traction Systems), Deploy (Track support), Kents (Signalling Power Supplies), MPI (Signalling Engineering Support, Testers), Vossloh UK (Track switches, crossings)
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