Rail Industry Focus

08.05.17

London Bridge: nearing the final phase

Source: RTM Apr/May 17

Mark Somers, project director of the Thameslink Programme, gives RTM’s Josh Mines an update on the work at London Bridge station, including construction completed over the Easter weekend and how the programme is nearing its final stage.

Huge works to remodel London Bridge are now moving into their final phase. It has been a long journey, starting back in 2011 when the planning application was submitted, but Network Rail is now preparing to put the final touches on the station which is set to be complete for use by commuters in spring next year.

In last year’s April/May edition, RTM reported that construction on the major station refurbishment was making good progress, despite what some passengers may think. Fast-forward 12 months and the infrastructure owner and its partners have moved significantly closer to completing the project, with the plans still on schedule. 

Reflecting on work that took place late last year, Mark Somers, project director of the Thameslink Programme, told us: “Last August, we slewed the Cannon Street lines off of platforms 1 and 2 through the middle of the new station to make way for the demolition of platforms 1, 2 and 3 and the construction of the final platforms in that area.” 

He described how over Christmas, the first of the lines through the Bermondsey Dive Under were also successfully commissioned.  

“We’ve also continued on with a number of stage works outside the station on the approaches in and around the Bermondsey area, where we are putting new switches and crossings in all ready for the final layout,” Somers added. 

LBG 21317-16 edit

Easter bank holiday works 

The completion of these works led engineers to the Easter bank holiday weekend, an important period for the orange army working on London Bridge. 

“It was a reasonable-sized commissioning but wasn’t huge compared to other projects that we’ve done in the past,” Somers stated, as he detailed how Cannon Street lines were slewed back to their new platforms at London Bridge with associated signalling, meaning trains are now running through what will be platforms 1 and 2 when the station opens in January 2018. 

Additionally, the drainage system in the Sevenoaks Tunnel, which is two miles long and very, very wet, has been improved. 

However, there’s a lot more to do coming out of Easter and into the final leg of the project from summer this year. Over the early May bank holiday, Network Rail also started to change over the main traction power at London Bridge for the low-level station and started to de-commission the old track paralleling hut outside the station. 

SE Route Easter-8 edit

Class 700 ETCS tests 

After putting the final parts of the track layouts on the approaches to Blackfriars station in place, Somers told us that will open the door for crucial ETCS testing to begin, as Class 700 trains are run through the station. 

The ETCS technology being used on the Thameslink Class 700 trains is essential to achieving GTR’s ambition of enabling 24 trains an hour to operate through central London by 2018. 

“In week seven we start to take out what was the old Metropolitan Junction and the Metropolitan reversible lines, which are down near our offices, and make the connection up to Blackfriars and start to rebuild that part of the railway,” said Somers.

After these works are complete, engineers will head out to the other side of the Bermondsey Dive Under to replace around 1,000m of track to prepare for the final connection to the up and down lines prior to August. 

During a nine-day blockade over the August bank holiday, the Thameslink team will reconfigure the Charing Cross line platforms at London Bridge and bring platform 6 into use. 

“Pretty much between now and August we will be preparing line six,” Somers explained. “Once that’s done, the temporary slews that the Charing Cross line sits on will be removed before the same process is repeated at New Cross and London Bridge. 

“Then we connect the up and down fast points down through the Bermondsey Dive Under and up the other side onto line six, seven and eight up to London Bridge and that’s then the Charing Cross line on their final alignments.” 

With the completion of that step, Somers argued that the five-year programme will almost be ready to be unveiled: “That leaves us with lines three and four coming out of use while we re-signal those lines ready to make the final connection for the Thameslink services to be commissioned across those and the flyover.” 

He added that from December to January, there will be major changes to services as the Thameslink Programme brings all remaining new platforms at London Bridge into use and the final section of the new concourse will open for passengers.

For More Information

W: www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   08/05/2017 at 23:15

Plus with the new flyover that has been built to end the bottleneck to & from London Bridge for Thameslink trains to go over the Kent lines. When London Bridge does finally reopen probably early Spring next year.

Ryan   10/05/2017 at 00:41

London Bridge IS open, Andrew.

Andrew Gwilt   10/05/2017 at 01:46

Oh yes of course London Bridge is opened. But only some platforms are opened whilst Network Rail are still redeveloping the other platforms that is due to reopen some time next year.

Chrism   12/05/2017 at 21:26

Andrew, this station has been rebuilt with only a couple of platforms taken out of use at any time - it has never been a case of 'only some platforms are open'. The vast majority have always been open. This is why it taken so many years.

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