One week to go until Christmas upgrade work at London Bridge

One week to go until Christmas upgrade work at London Bridge

With just over a week to go until Christmas, Network Rail’s orange army are preparing for one of their busiest festive periods so far.

More than 20,000 people will be working on the Railway Upgrade Plan this Christmas – and many of them will be picking up their tools for the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme at London Bridge.

Major improvements being carried out around the station will affect journeys over the festive period, from the afternoon of Christmas Eve until the night of Sunday, January 3. Passengers are being urged to make sure they leave London in plenty of time to avoid missing the last train home.

The work by Network Rail as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan means that there will be no Southeastern trains at London Bridge, Charing Cross, Waterloo East and Cannon Street over the period, including three working days. Passengers will still be able to reach London with services diverted to Victoria and Blackfriars, or terminating at New Cross for London Overground connections. In addition, stations between Deptford and Westcombe Park, including Greenwich, will be closed and trains replaced by buses. Tickets will be accepted on alternative routes.

Southern and Thameslink trains from London Bridge will not be affected.

Thameslink Programme director Simon Blanchflower said: “Our team of engineers at London Bridge will be ready to go as soon as the last trains leave London on Christmas Eve and we are encouraging passengers to make sure they leave plenty of time to get away.

“A huge amount of planning has gone into our Christmas work so we can give passengers back a more reliable, comfortable and modern railway on January 4, including the first trains across the new Borough Viaduct.

“We realise that our work will impact a large number of people over the festive period, and we are grateful for their ongoing patience.  With fewer passengers travelling than at other times, this gives us the best opportunity to do this major work.”

Southeastern’s managing director David Statham said: “Network Rail will be carrying out this major and important work over the festive period to improve rail infrastructure and passengers’ journeys.

“Prior to the work starting, we shall be finishing our services out of London slightly earlier on Christmas Eve as we will be moving our peak time services to between 1 and 4 pm as the vast majority of our passengers will be heading home from work then to be with their families, as they do each year. I would urge our passengers to please check Christmas Eve train times before they travel.”

The work, which will be completed in time for trains to resume on Monday, 4 January 2016, is part of the scheme to rebuild London Bridge station and the surrounding railway to give passengers across the south east more trains to more destinations, more reliably.

It includes the opening of the new Borough Viaduct to trains so work can begin to rebuild the tracks currently used by trains travelling between London Bridge and Charing Cross.

Southeastern’s High Speed trains will continue to run to and from St Pancras International throughout the period, apart from Christmas Day itself and will run a special service on Boxing Day between Ashford International and St Pancras International.

Your journey will be affected and you may need to find an alternative route. Tickets will be accepted on reasonable routes. Detailed travel advice, including alternative routes, is available from southeasternrailway.co.uk/christmas.

There will be changes to many trains across the UK as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan. For example work at Purley, near Croydon, will mean significant changes to Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services. Trains will continue to run and you will still be able to travel to and from London and Gatwick, but journeys may be diverted, could take longer and trains may be busier. To find out more visit nationalrail.co.uk/christmas.

There will also be work taking place on Transport for London services so please check before you travel at tfl.gov.uk/festive.