Thank you for your patience: new platforms arrive on time at London Bridge
Network Rail opened two new platforms at London Bridge station this morning as a nine-day part closure of the railway was successfully completed on time.
The rebuilding of the station is at the heart of the massive Thameslink Programme which will increase capacity and reliability on one of Europe’s busiest rail routes.
Over the past nine days, over 1,200 engineers have worked around the clock through one of the wettest and coldest bank holidays on record, to bring two new platforms into service, lay new track and install a complex, state-of-the-art signalling system. At the same time a triple-track Victorian bridge on the approach to the station has been completely rebuilt, and a new connection to the east coast mainline to the north of Kings Cross has been brought a step closer.
Simon Blanchflower, Network Rail’s major programme director, said: “The huge amount of work we have completed in the last nine days is an essential part of the jigsaw that will eventually give passengers new more spacious trains running at tube like frequency through central London, and connecting them to more destinations that ever before.
“We try our best to minimise the impact on passengers and do most of the work behind the scenes, but there are big pieces of work that can only be completed when the railway is clear of trains and people.
“We do this at the quietist times, such as the August bank holiday, but we understand the impact our work has on the daily lives of passengers we’d like to thank them all for bearing with us whilst we got it done.”
The team that helped passengers find their way around London during the London 2012 Olympics also helped passengers find alternative routes during the part-closure of London Bridge. Their focus now turns to raising awareness of the next period of service changes on 20 December when another part-closure is needed to bring two more platforms into service. In January 2015 work to start the rebuild of the second half of the station begins with longer term service changes commencing.
David Scorey, Operations Director at Southern said “We’d like to thank our passengers for their patience over the last nine days whilst the works continued at London Bridge. We had extra customer service staff and volunteers available throughout to ensure passengers could get to where they needed to.”
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “Thameslink is a key feature of the record levels of investment we are making in our railways as part of our long-term economic plan.
“Last week I visited London Bridge and saw for myself how hard everyone in the Thameslink family has worked to reach this major milestone. I know this work has disrupted passengers’ journeys and I would like to thank them all for their patience while this important work was underway. Once the Thameslink project is completed it will transform travel across London and the South East for hundreds of thousands of passengers who travel into the capital every day.”
Timelapse showing track laying outside London Bridge last week.