Passengers thanked for their patience as Network Rail re-opens lines following Easter work at London Bridge

Passengers thanked for their patience as Network Rail re-opens lines following Easter work at London Bridge

Network Rail reopened the railway lines to and through London Bridge on time early this morning after work over the Easter weekend to demolish old closed-off platforms, install new track, signalling and telecoms equipment and as well as strengthen a number of Victorian structures across the route.

More than 110,000 people travel into London Bridge during a normal Monday morning rush hour, however on a Bank holiday this is dramatically lower. Network Rail took advantage of this to carry out work at a time when it had the smallest impact but recognise it was still an inconvenience for many people who needed to travel over the weekend.

Network Rail’s head of communications for London and the South East, Nicky Hughes, said: “The Thameslink Programme will transform one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway – however to do all of this work whilst keeping the railway open is a huge challenge. We always do the work when the railway is less busy, and Easter gave us four full days and nights where we could undertake major engineering work whilst affecting the fewest people.

“We realise that the work was an inconvenience to those who were travelling over Easter and we want to thank them all for their patience, and we look forward to delivering the improvements they deserve in 2018.”

What did we do?

All the work was part of the massive £6.5 billion government-sponsored Thameslink Programme which will transform north-south travel through London.

At the heart of the programme lies the complete rebuilding of London Bridge.  Over the weekend work continued on the realignment of the tracks and preparation for two new platforms. The areas previously occupied by platforms 12 and 13 were excavated to create room for a new concourse at ground level and the new track and improved platforms above.

To the south of the station near Bermondsey a huge 250tonne crane installed a new junction and a bridge was installed over the East London line. On the eastern approach to London Bridge the crucial Bermondsey dive-under – the opposite of a motorway flyover – will give the Thameslink trains a dedicated route into London Bridge. In the future trains will no longer have to cross in front of each other, helping to reduce waiting outside the station and allow services to run more frequently.

Strengthening work also took place on three Victorian bridges between London Bridge and Waterloo East stations, making them ready to carry the increased number of trains that will be running over them in 2018.

In north London a new junction was commissioned to the north of King’s Cross station linking the East Coast Main Line to the Midland Mainline at St Pancras station via two new tunnels. When services start running through them in 2018, these twin 6m diameter tunnels (one 668m long, the other 626m long- the difference due to the curve) will for the very first time allow passengers from destinations such as Peterborough and Cambridge to travel to and through central London, to Farringdon where the route will join with Crossrail and beyond to the south of England.