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NR moves into final stage of London Bridge works with track and signalling upgrade

A vital piece of track and signalling work at London Bridge has been completed by Network Rail, paving the way forward for Thameslink services to resume through the station next year.

Engineers have worked to deliver the improvements between London Bridge and Blackfriars ahead of cross-London Thameslink trains being reintroduced from May 2018 after a three year hiatus that has seen NR rebuild the platforms and re-lay track through London Bridge.

When complete, this will be the first time trains on the cross-London route between Brighton and Bedford have called at London Bridge since January 2015.

NR has also stated that with the completion of track work to the west of London Bridge, the lines are now in their final position through the landmark station, awaiting final signalling commissioning at Christmas and over the new year.

Now, drivers will be trained and familiarised with using the new section of track and its signalling before Thameslink services eventually serve the station from next year.


“With the completion of the track on the west approaches to London Bridge, the final track layout is now in place for the reintroduction of Thameslink services to Blackfriars and awaiting final signalling commissioning which will take place over the Christmas period,” said Mark Somers, project director for railway systems, Network Rail, who gave RTM an update on the works earlier this year.

“The completion of this section of track is a huge milestone for the Thameslink Programme, which from 2018 will result in more frequent, more reliable services to more destinations and a fully rebuilt, entirely accessible London Bridge station fit for the 21st century.”


And George McInulty, service delivery director for Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express, added: “Cross-London Bedford-Brighton Thameslink passengers have not had any trains to London Bridge station since January 2015 when their services were diverted on an alternative route to make space for London Bridge to be rebuilt.

“From May, we’ll be back at the station cutting journey times for thousands of passengers travelling to this part of London.

“At the same time we will expand the Thameslink network massively, connecting Peterborough and Cambridge into the north-south, cross-London route, transforming the journeys for thousands of people. 

“This is a major part of our programme to modernise the railway through the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme and address the huge growth in passenger numbers across the South East.”

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Ryn   07/11/2017 at 12:05

Cool, it'll be good to see the progress when I next travel down to the worksite.

Huguenot   07/11/2017 at 13:06

Well, I don't want to be a party-pooper, but the enhanced frequency of trains through the Thameslink core, once GN trains are added, will make it impossible to keep to the schedule. The slightest import of any lateness (even a couple of minutes) from south of London will disrupt the whole northbound timetable. Look what effect that will have on EM and VTEC inter-city services. Similarly southbound, any delays caused by late-running other services will cause disruption on Thameslink core. The whole timetable is fragile -- I don't give it more than a few months before it is found to be unworkable.

Ian Watkins   07/11/2017 at 14:08

Let's hope the new signalling system works then :-)

Tothehills   07/11/2017 at 14:58

With ATO trains and a traffic management system, maintaining the service through the core area will probably not be the problem. I accept there could be issues where delay either side of the Core area end up being transmitted through the core area, therefore potentially impacting the service on the other side; hopefully this being less intensive will allow some recovery.

Andrew Gwilt   07/11/2017 at 15:15

Hopefully with all that being completed. London Bridge should fully reopen in February or March next year. Along with new services to Peterborough, Cambridge, King’s Linn and Cambridge North once London Bridge has reopened.

Robbie   07/11/2017 at 16:08

Will CURRENT Thameslink services (Bedford to Brighton) be resumed to London Bridge from January 2018 in advance of the Peterborough & Cambridge services joining in May 2018?? It seems a great idea to get rid of the current Elephant & Castle diversion to East Croydon as soon as possible as it is way, way too slow. OR - do we have to wait till May to travel via London Bridge even though the track, signalling and station platforms will be ready in January?

Martin   07/11/2017 at 23:23

Huguenot, you are absolutely right. Paris has a long experience with cross-city rail lines and while line A works reasonably well because it the only service on most of its branches, the others have thrown up real problems over the years. Line B and Line D had to have extensive rebuilding of track to ensure that RER trains had exclusive use of the slow lines in four-track stations. Line C is still not right. Even so, the real problem has been the cumulative effect of delays on one part of the system (say, south of the city) on another area of it (say, tothe north). Years have been spent trying to rectify problems that were not forseen. Crossrail very much mirrors Line A with slow lines east and west being given over to it. And the destinations are relatively simple. But Thamselink includes far too many stations pairs and routes. Is it, perhaps possible that a train from King's Lynn might run, say, one or two minutes late on its way to Brighton, because it is held up by a Hertford to Moorgate or a Peterborough to King's Cross train? Might that not affect the following train from Luton to Sevenoaks? And the one after that with yet another origin and destination? It is inconceivable that a train which has to travel 50 miles into the Central area (and has to intereact with trains which cross the route between station pairs outside the Thameslink timetable) will present at Blackfrairs or King's Cross on time to give a combined service of every two minutes. Trains arrive in the 'wrong' order with service gaps even on the tube (Two Circle Lines, followed by a Richmond, then two Wimbledons, another Richmond and so on) even when they have exclusive use of the track either side of Central London. We can expect that, as in Paris, the next ten years are spent reconfiguring the track and going for an 'all stations' pattern for all trains to avoid service gaps. It simply won't possible to operate over a distance of 100 miles with such a pattern.

Paul   08/11/2017 at 14:09

Thameslink through services on their existing services are re-routed back through London Bridge from 2nd January. All remaining London Bridge platforms for Southeastern (1,2,3, and 6), and Thameslink (4,5) open in early January. The above can already be seen in journey planners. Some Thameslink through services to/from the Great Northern commence in May.

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