Major changes to train services from 20 December

Major changes to train services from 20 December

Passengers travelling to and through London Bridge station are being urged to find out more about changes to their train services starting this Christmas, with major long-term alterations to some routes from January.

Up to three quarters of a million journeys will be affected every day as Network Rail continues to rebuild London Bridge station as part of the £6.5bn Thameslink Programme, which will allow more trains and better reliability on one of Europe’s busiest rail routes.

The next phase of major rebuilding work will begin at the start of the Christmas period, when commuter numbers traditionally drop by around 10 per cent.

From Saturday 20 December 2014, parts of the station served by Southern and Thameslink trains will be closed for 16 days as two new platforms are brought into use and 40-year-old track and signalling equipment on the approach to the station is replaced and modernised.

In January 2015, work on building new tracks so more trains can run through to central London will begin. Platforms 5 and 6, which are currently used by Thameslink services and those going to Charing Cross, will be taken out of service for redevelopment – significantly affecting journeys throughout 2015 and into 2016.

All passengers will be able to reach their intended destination using their normal national rail ticket, although some journeys may take longer than usual. Major changes to such a busy part of the rail network will mean that some other services will be busier than usual as thousands of passengers take alternative routes.

Detailed advice has been published to help people to get to their intended destination and keep the transport network moving. Find out how you’re affected on our January 2015 information page.

Dave Ward, Network Rail route managing director, said: “When we’ve finished rebuilding London Bridge station in 2018, your journey will be more reliable than ever, with more spacious trains running at tube-like frequency into central London.

“We know that, in the meantime, our work may make your journey more difficult so thank you in advance for your understanding. Everyone’s journey is different and will be affected in different ways at different times. There is no simple travel advice so please go online and plan your own route”.

Janet Cooke, Chief Executive of London TravelWatch welcomed the news: ‘We have been clear from the beginning that passengers should not be disadvantaged and have to pay extra while these works are taking place. We recognise that it has not been easy to resolve these issues and that there have been a huge number of parties involved to make things happen behind the scenes.  However, these are nevertheless big changes which will affect services for the next couple of years so we urge passengers to check to see how their journeys will be affected and to plan accordingly.’

Rail minister Claire Perry said, “Investing in the rail network is a vital part of our long-term economic plan. Thameslink is needed to keep the capital moving and to improve journeys for hundreds of thousands of passengers every day.

“The rail industry is doing everything it can to keep the inconvenience to a minimum, and we are all working together to make sure the work is completed as quickly as possible.”

When finished in 2018, the new London Bridge station will give passengers easier access to the transport network thanks to a new 60% larger concourse which will be bigger than the pitch at Wembley Stadium. Extra tracks and longer platforms will allow trains to run through central London every three minutes and journeys will be more reliable thanks to state-of-the-art signalling and control systems.

In order to minimise the impact on the 117 million passengers who pass through the station every year – including those who travel through it to Charing Cross or Cannon Street – the major pieces of work are being carried out in phases.

As recent timelapse footage taken from The Shard shows, a huge amount of construction is taking place behind the scenes every day. Filmed between 8am and 9.30am on a weekday, the footage shows over 200 trains carrying more than 150,000 people running normally as the work continues nearby.

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