Its been almost exactly a year since we last gave an update on the Thameslink work at London Bridge. Since then a lot of work has gone on. Some of this is visible at the front of the station but most of it has been behind hoardings or underneath the main station so isn’t entirely obvious. With the first two new platforms of the replacement station having just opened, now seems an appropriate time for a bit of an update.

Work prior and up to the opening of the first new platforms

Before the platforms were there

This picture shows the site of the current platforms 14 and 15 less than nine months before they opened. On the other side of the hoarding is the old platform 13 – then still in use. Note the progressive removal of the footbridge which is already being dismantled and no longer serves platform 13.

Under London Bridge

Not the most exciting of pictures but this view of a temporary storage tank for rainwater under the terminating platforms gives some idea of the space available below them in just one of the arches. What it fails to do is give any appreciation of the sheer magnitude of total area below with the multitude of arches present.

The last significant event that happened was in May 2013 when platforms 14-16 were taken out of use so that new platforms 14 and 15 could be built. Because the South London Line service had been withdrawn the previous December and there was a bit of slack regarding platform occupation built into the timetable, it was relatively easy to close these platforms without creating too many problems. One small issue was the removal of the footbridge from these platforms which also affected platform 13 as this was still in use by trains. Having passengers walk from just one platform via the buffer stops to get to the South East side of the station was not a big issue though.

platforms 13 and 15

Platforms 14 and 15 finally available for use. Thanks to Graham Feakins for this photo.

Map of platforms

A map on a publicity poster showing the new platform arrangement. Note the narrow platforms are highlighted. Also note the lack of an overbridge to three of the platforms – which will get worse later on in the year with another two platforms without a direct route to the through platforms to Cannon Street and Charing Cross.

Platforms 14 and 15 were finally brought into use on Monday 31st March 2014 and represent the first manifestation of the new station that will replace the old one. The current situation is not entirely satisfactory but the temporary unsatisfactory aspects are unavoidable.

platform 15

A slightly different view of platform 15 showing just how narrow it currently is. Again thanks to Graham Feakins.

It is clear from the photographs that the platforms are much narrower than they will eventually be due to the hoardings still present. This will undoubtedly cause problems unless carefully managed – especially on Friday evenings when there are an awful lot of people arriving at London Bridge for a night in London. The Friday evening inward flow is significant during the evening peak as well as later. Even during a mid-week evening peak it is quite surprising how busy the trains are coming into London Bridge.

platform 15 cattle pen

The holding area used at busy times for passengers waiting to board a train at platform 15. The inevitable comment is that they are treating people like cattle.

The other major problem is the current lack of an alternative exit on the new platforms. Obviously this exacerbates the problem of the narrow platforms and less obviously it increases the sheer volume of passengers transferring to the South Eastern side via the buffer stops and platform 8. Once the station is finished this will not be an issue but until the concourse under the platforms is in operation this problem is only going to get worse as more rebuilt platforms are opened.

The long weekend engineering works

A very unusual feature of the weekend engineering work was that it started on Friday after the morning peak period. The peak period was followed by a period of around 90 minutes when no trains at all arrived at or departed from London Bridge terminating platforms. Most trains terminated short at Norwood Junction, New Cross Gate or South Bermondsey and most passengers were advised to use Thameslink services or London Overground to Canada Water then Jubilee Line to London Bridge. Those ending up at South Bermondsey were recommended to catch a 381 bus to London Bridge – something which generally takes at least 20 minutes and can easily take twice that long in heavy traffic (indeed sometimes it is no quicker than walking).

A surprisingly quiet London Bridge in the Friday evening rush hour

A surprisingly quiet Friday evening peak period at London Bridge. The station seemed to be running remarkably smoothly despite this engineering work taking place causing only four terminating platforms being available.

When it came to the evening peak period on Friday 29th March two further platforms had been taken out of use but 14 and 15 had not yet been commissioned. This produced the highly unusual situation of passengers catching trains in the evening peak having a clear view of extensive and intensive engineering works taking place only yards away.

busy at london bridge

Friday evening peak period at London Bridge and work is underway with a vengeance on the tracks serving the former platforms 12 and 13.

The reduction of services in the evening peak was widely advertised in advance. This and the fact that Friday is a much quieter day for commuters anyway with numbers typically 10%-20% down on other working days meant that this seemed not to produce any major problems. It generally went smoothly though the cancellation of a train due to staff shortage and another one only being four cars long did not help matters.

more work in progress

Just taking the hoardings down the entire length of the platform and repositioning them was a major job.

The long weekend gets longer

The engineering work continued over the weekend and was completed on time on Monday morning shortly before start of service and handed over for train operation. There were a few planned cancellations just before the peak period but it was intended to a run more or less full service on that Monday morning. At around 06.30 a.m it all started to go horribly wrong with a major power problem affecting the terminating platforms. Four platforms were brought back into use relatively quickly but being two platforms short caused major disruption. This was of course made much worse by there being no warning of this unplanned event, with too many packed trains already approaching London Bridge.

The problem was discovered to be due to traction bonding issues. It appeared that this was not recognised as a risk factor but the removal of various sets of points meant that the proper functioning of the previously present infrastructure was now crucial and found to be inadequate for the job. Network Rail were able to restore platform 10 during the day but realised that platform 11 would still be out of use during the evening peak period. Because the lack of a platform in the evening peak was known about in advance the problem could be mitigated by pre-planned cancellations and one or two diversions to Victoria. A full service was not resumed until Tuesday morning when all the platforms that should have been in use were in use.

It is clear from the above problem that one of the severe issues that the Thameslink programme has is the lack of time to carry out major engineering works. Obviously in this case they did not have the opportunity to test it by running multiple trains before handing the site back to the operators. Network Rail have learnt their lesson about not assuming that the existing structure can be relied to function properly in the changed circumstances and will take this into account during future changes at London Bridge.

Future disruption for terminating platforms

There will be further engineering works later this year. The good news for those Southern passengers who aren’t continuing their onward journey by catching a SouthEastern or Thameslink train is that by very early January 2015 all the work on the new terminating platforms will be complete.

There will be a complete closure of all the terminating platforms for nine days around in late August 2014 when, amongst other things, two more new platforms (12 and 13) will be brought into use and two further old platforms (10 and 11) taken out of use.

Between Saturday 20th December 2014 and Sunday 4th January 2015, amongst other things, new platforms 10 and 11 will be brought into use. This will complete the rebuilding of the terminating platforms and the remaining terminating platforms (8 and 9) will be taken out of use and form part of the site for commencement of reconstruction of the through platforms which, amongst other things, involves three new through platforms being added.


As we have come to expect, Unravelled has a fine collection of photos recording the work at being done at London Bridge. The most recent ones are here and some older ones are here.

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There are 683 comments on this article
  1. 0775John says:

    Thanks for a very interesting update. One rather basic question, the answer to which I have probably missed in an earlier thread: I know that platform 7 was closed as a result of the extension of the platforms for 12 car operation a number of years ago, but is there to be a new one carved out by slewing the tracks once the whole site is available for work?

  2. Southern Heights says:

    The piece that will become the end of the Borough Market Viaduct is starting to become very visible as well. I’ll try and grab a shot of it next week…

  3. MikeP says:

    There are gates, longitudinal fencing, and staff controlling access to the new platforms, and it seems in the rush hour at least (when I had a nose around on Tuesday) that passengers aren’t being allowed onto the platforms until the train is in.

  4. Southern Heights says:


    The answer is yes, this is from Thameslink Programme FAQ’s:

    The high level (Southeastern) part of the station will increase from 6 to 9 platforms. The low level (Southern) terminating platforms will reduce from 9 to 6 platforms. All but platform 15 (which will be 10 carriage) will capable of accommodating 12 carriage trains. The design allows for platform 15 to be extended to 12 carriages in future, if the signal box at the end of this platform is moved.

  5. ngh says:

    Re PoP

    10 and 11 were out of action on Monday am due to the traction return current bonding issues. It was 10 (not 12 as stated inthe article and where the track was OA torched on the Friday and lifted over the weekend!) that was restored for the evening peak on Monday. Adding some emergency clamp type fishplates (bypassing impedance bonds as it was both a power and signalling issue?) and not using 11 being part of the solution to get 10 back in action for the evening peak. Plenty of extra bonding was installed over night on Monday. The issue appears to have arisen because the points being set in certain directions not providing enough current return availability as some of it had been lost by hacking out some but not all of the points* at the end of 12/13 out at the weekend.
    This may indicated that not all interim operation possibilities had/have been modelled (in sufficient detail)…
    The new P14/15 worked as expected and lessons will presumably have been learned for taking out 10/11 in August to avoid a repetition.

    * probably partially removing a set of points, clamping out of use and expecting the current to return through a greasy joint might have been the issue???

    [Thanks for the detail and I have corrected the article. PoP]

    Re Mike P
    Indeed cattle market control measures for 15! Interestingly they seem to want to minimize the use of 15 because of the narrow platform width but this results in more conflicting moves on the approaches with knock on service reliability and time keeping issues.

    Re 0775John

    Everything is being completely demolished but 7,8,9 are being reincarnated as high level (the low/high level difference will remain!) through platform for Charing Cross services. 6 will also remain for CHX service use but in the opposite direction. [4 and 5 will be dedicated for Blackfriars] The new 6-9 will be linked to the new Borough market viaduct and there is plenty of progress on the rest of the viaduct in the area beside the bus station / temporary ticket office / the end of P7/8 – the formwork from the concrete of the track base was being removed this morning.

  6. Ex-LBG commuter says:

    It’s great they have extended 14 & 15 up to the gate line. I was under the understanding this wasn’t going to happen; it is a big upgrade for the people coming into those platforms.

    Wasn’t there a platform 16? Has this been abandoned?

  7. I have slightly updated the description of the problems with the power supply after completion of the works based on a more accurate description of the problem being explained to me.


    Think of it not as slewing tracks but a complete comprehensive rebuild. It just so happens there was a platform x and there will be a platform x in the rebuild but they really do not relate to each other.

    @Ex-LBG commuter,

    Again the terminology needs changing. No platform has been abandoned. The site which variously had 22 platforms, then 19 then 16 will soon have 15 new platforms but these being wider will occupy the entire area of the station. So platform 16 is no more but there is no “abandoned” platform. As you can see from the first photograph nothing is abandoned. Completely demolished down to ground level and rebuilt is what has happened where the new platforms are.

  8. Sykobee says:

    It’s astounding how they totally demolished to the ground platforms 16,15 and 14, I presume that this isn’t happening for the other platforms because their redevelopment time appears to be shorter?

    I presume that 14,15,16 were on a non brick arch structure that just had to go to make way for the ground level concourse and platform access stairs/escalators. But 13-10 are on brick arches that will remain? I guess Platform 15 is narrow at the moment so they can build the stairs and escalators up to it?

    I was never aware of the vast space under the terminating platforms at London Bridge. It’s good that they will be used for passenger movements in the future. And hopefully a decent pub (“London Bridge Tap”?).

  9. Andrew M says:

    Shouldn’t we be concerned about the falling number of platforms? I understand wider spaces are better (safer, better flow, potential for faster loading, wheelchair & pram access), but in general fewer platforms means fewer trains and/or less tolerance of failure.

  10. MikeP says:

    @AndrewM – the overall throughput of the station will increase as through platforms can handle more trains than terminating ones. This bland statement does beg some questions, though.

  11. Paul says:

    The change in the numbers of through and terminating platforms is effectively matched by the change in the ratio of through to terminating trains, IIRC from a prior discussion elsewhere.

    The exact figures are given in one of the RUSs published a few years ago, and from memory the overall figure of 88 tph spread over 15 platforms is only a few more than before the changes.

  12. ngh says:

    Re Sykobee 4 April 2014 at 14:46

    The other platforms are being completely demolished too.
    Some of the longer time taken to do phase 1 (now complete and 1a in progress) was to do some of the work for the later parts of the phase 1 ie.. 1a, 1b (i.e. the remaining terminating platform works).
    The new platform part of platform 13 is already complete but the track bed isn’t at the country end…
    [The future and existing platforms aren’t in exactly the same places as the terminating platforms will get wider and the buffer end].

    The future concourse area being cleared now provides far better working area underneath.
    Phase 1 included demolishing 2 platform islands and 3 tracks (+ the office block space (ex the long closed P17/8) that was equivalent to another platform island and another 2 tracks so effectively 3p+5tb of viaduct) and building 2 new platform islands and almost 3 track beds.

    But 1a and 1b will be demolishing 1 island + 2 track beds each time (less demolition volume) and rebuild 1 island and 2 track beds hence the a smaller volume of work than 1. Hence taking circa half the time as the Phase 1.

    Re Andrew M
    15 platforms and 16 tracks before (as no platform 7 but no renumbering either), 15 platforms / tracks after and the through platforms can handle more than twice the number of services as a terminating one per hour, i.e. to begin with post 2018 the terminating platforms will the less utilized so less delay prone?

  13. stimarco says:


    The rebuilt station will have 15 platforms, all but one of which will be able to handle 12-coach trains. (The last holdout is designed to allow easy extension, but a signal box will need to be relocated first.)

    Note that while the number of services at the station will increase only a little, its efficiency and the number of passengers carried per train is a lot better than was once the case. We often hear talk about the Victorians managing to run umpteen trains per hour into a station, but (a) they had a lot more staff – labour really was cheap back then, (b) the coaches were basically just very simple wooden sheds on wheels with few modern amenities – even the doors had to be closed by hand – but this also meant there was less to go wrong, and (c) train coaches were originally a lot shorter. A 10 coach train 100 years ago wasn’t as long, or as capacious, as a 10 coach train today.

    When the through route to Charing Cross was opened, all Charing Cross services reversed at Cannon Street too, in both directions, hence the wide approaches into the latter on both sides of the junction. But this resulted in only two direct tracks across the ‘base’ of that triangular junction. Until Thameslink came along, the chord into Blackfriars wasn’t as intensively used as it is now, but Thameslink’s popularity made that bottleneck a major problem. Both Charing Cross and Thameslink services have had to share the same pair of tracks until now.

    The new viaduct fixes that problem by adding an additional pair of tracks dedicated solely to Charing Cross services. That means there will be two tracks each for Charing X, 2 for Blackfriars (Thameslink), and 2 for Cannon Street, providing much better segregation, whereas before, the Charing X and Blackfriars trains had to share the same pair of tracks.

    Another element of the London Bridge work is the Bermondsey Diveunder, which will allow Thameslink trains to cross under the Charing Cross services on their way to New Cross Gate, without conflicting movements. (The work at Tanners Hill near Lewisham also helps, though some of that was done in part to alleviate the congestion that is inevitable during a major project like this.)

    The rebuilding of the station itself is long overdue and it makes sense to do it while all the surrounding projects are going on, but it’s those capacity enhancements that are the real point of this project, not the shiny new station itself.

  14. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I may be being very unfair but hasn’t there been a series of quite serious, high impact incidents at London Bridge? While every site has its own complications I am really surprised that Network Rail and their contractors do not have more robust processes and better knowledge to prevent them happening. It may be the biggest rebuild of a station they’ve ever done but getting tracks connected and platforms re-opened should be second nature given how many such works happen across the network – Reading being a prime example. I look forward to having my thinking “corrected” by those in the know.

  15. Greg Tingey says:

    Of course, 12-car terminating platforms means you can also put two “4′” or a 4 + 8 formation of separate trains in. This is often done at Liverpool St….
    I still wonder if they should, with the extra width available, with the removal of the power box, kept either 5 or 6 terminators, though.
    The real problems are going to come with the complete absence of availability of any swift transfer between platforms, not just in the rebuild, but afterwards.
    I still think not replacing the footbridge with a modern one – as was done at Reading – is going to prove an error.
    We’ll see – eventually.

  16. Anonymous says:

    To those commenting on the number of platforms: since the early 90s there hasn’t been a platform 8 but there was an up Charing Cross loop. Therefore, there will be the loss of one line through the station (the loop) but no loss of platform quantities.

    I’m not sure where the new bike shed will go though…

  17. Steven Taylor says:

    since the early 90s there hasn’t been a platform 8 UNQUOTE

    It was Platform 7 that had to be taken out-of-use in the early 1990s when the project to extend all Charing Cross platforms to 12 cars was undertaken. The non-platformed through line had to be slewed, blocking access to the low-level Platform 7.

  18. Anonymous says:

    There are only 6 terminating platforms now, but notwithstanding the loss of the SLL, only one train was removed from the timetable to allow that to happen (leaves a half hour gap between London Bridge trains in the morning from Purley), so presumably they will be much less intensively used in 2018.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Just a small issue and I’m sure some one else will have mentioned it, but why is my comment above timed at 2032 when I am certain that it’s 2132 (although the clock on my computer is telling me 2232 which is confusing me even more!)

  20. ngh says:

    Re anon 2032

    See one of my posts further up at 1710…
    Yes but they plan to add more via tulse hill services in the very long term.

    Re Steven Taylor correct on P7, P8 was still in use tonight when I got my train home from it!

    Re WW the previous screw up was near north kent east junction and outside the scope of the rebuild project, it happened to get reported as LBG rebuild issue.

  21. Karlywarly says:

    The Rail Engineer Magazine has an interesting article on just a small part of the London Bridge redevelopment, the installation of a new signal gantry over the eastern tracks. The article describes difficulties with short timescales, tight working spaces, delayed possessions and includes the use of a word entirely new to me – “craneage”!

  22. GrahamH says:

    @Karlywarly -not only does “craneage” exist but there are experts out there who will talk about luffing and slewing for hours – better to let them rest quietly until you need the heavy lifting done.

  23. @Anonymous 20:35

    See here for an explanation about the time stamp.


    But, at least until recently, Network Rail sometimes referred to slueing rather than slewing. I presume this is an individual’s resistance to American English rather than British English despite the modern spelling being well established on this side of the pond.

    @Greg re platforms and changing between them

    I hadn’t thought of the benefits of being able to split and join longer trains. This still goes on a London Bridge. I still wonder if there would be space for a short 4-car platform 16 once the signal box goes. If there is, then the next question is: will London Bridge be platform-constrained or approach-constrained?

    I can see your point about the problems of changing platforms if you are at the country end of the station. The station design with the country end of the platforms not lining up at all means a solution will not be easy when such a solution becomes highly desirable.

    The expected and planned for increase on the Brighton Main Line in the next 10 years is quite staggering and means that, while overall generally well designed for increased future use, I suspect certain aspects of London Bridge station will need revisiting once it is complete.

  24. Michael Jennings says:

    >Having passengers walk from just one platform via the buffer stops to
    >get to the South East side of the station was not a big issue though.

    My local station is South Bermondsey. For some reason, platform announcements for trains to SB (and then Queens Road and Peckham Rye) at London Bridge are extremely close to the departure time. It’s normal practice to stand at the western end of the footbridge and watch the TV monitors while waiting to find out the platform from which your train departs. During this period, on one occasion I did this and platform 13 was announced one minute before the scheduled departure time. I walked briskly to the platform via the buffer stops, but did not reach the closest door to the train before the doors closed and the train left. There were other passengers in the same position. We were not very impressed.

  25. timbeau says:

    “the Bermondsey Diveunder, which will allow Thameslink trains to cross under the Charing Cross services on their way to New Cross Gate, without conflicting movements”
    Other way up, I think – the CX trains will pass under the Thameslink ones

    The eastern ramp is the old access from the SER to Bricklayers Arms, passing under the Brighton Line.

  26. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Micheal Jennings,

    I can see that can be a nuisance. Presumably now this applies to three platforms out of six you won’t risk it and will wait in the main concourse or – worse – behind the buffer stops. This is the sort of issue that will vex the planners trying to sort out how to get through the rest of the year at London Bridge low level.

    I would maintain that “Having passengers walk from just one platform via the buffer stops to get to the South East side of the station was not a big issue though” is still correct though I admit I was writing with passenger flow issues in mind and not individual passenger disruption and onconvenience.

  27. stimarco says:


    I’d heard it would be the Thameslink services doing the ducking and diving, but recycling that old ramp makes a lot more sense. And it explains some of the photos in the LR Photo Pool. (There’s clearly a lot of work going on there, but few of the photos provide enough context to work out where they were taken.)

  28. DVD says:

    Greg Tingey says :
    “The real problems are going to come with the complete absence of availability of any swift transfer between platforms, not just in the rebuild, but afterwards. I still think not replacing the footbridge with a modern one – as was done at Reading – is going to prove an error.”
    My understanding is there will be plenty of cross platform connections when the rebuild is complete and the new concourse under the platforms opens. You will just need to use escalators but that’s not very much different from climbing up stairs, crossing the footbridge and walking down the steps again – in fact it’s a lot easier with escalators (and there will be plenty of lifts). Much thought and design work has gone into this., although until the new concourse opens there will be problems.

  29. DVD says:

    In fact 24 – 28 new escalators. And not before time. London Bridge is particularly difficult for anyone who is not able-bodied to use. I sprint up and down steps and glide up the steep walkways to platforms 1-6, but I see many less able-bodied who really struggle. The generous provision of escalators and lifts which is to come should more than compensate for the loss of the footbridge.

  30. timbeau says:

    Alan Jackson’s oft-quoted book “London’s Termini”, has a diagram showing the 1937 layout having platforms numbered up to 22 (with no platform 5), and the text suggests the numbering was still current in 1969 when the book was published
    1 to 3 down through
    4, 6, 7 up through (No 5 road had no platform)
    8 to 11 – former SER terminal side: by then mainly used for parcels traffic and a few peak hour services. 11 was not electrified and less than 400 feet long
    12 to 18 – former LBSCR main line platforms: there was a siding between 13 and 14 (two until a platform widening in 1931), and another between 15 and 16. Platforms 17 and 18 were very short, with a ramp for the cab road between their tracks.
    19-22 South London platforms.

    The 1978 rebuilding reduced the terminal side from fifteen platforms to ten, presumably mainly by widening, and removing some of the short ones. The unplatformed through road is now to the south of the six through platforms

  31. Theban says:

    London Bridge is one of those stations where services generally start from the same platform every evening in the peak. A lot of passengers find and climb on their train before it is announced – stock type and length being the final clues. The National Rail website also often has departure platforms online before they are announced in stations.

    Inconvenient though.

    Similar problems occur at East Croydon with “next departure to X” often having already departed. Departure information on the concourse has also got much worse over the past year. Southern is now pretty crap for on station announcements IMO.

  32. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ DVD – I fear Greg has a “bee in his bonnet” about the enforced down and up movement in the new London Bridge design. The depth of the station and vast space being created may make interchange times longer than the relatively shallow climb to the current footbridge and “mad dash” capability (not sure how ghastly it is in the peaks). While escalators are fine in and of themselves you do get horrendous jams as people funnel on to the steps – this is a regular sight on the Underground where train loads tip out and there are inadequate numbers of escalators. There must be an assumption in the LB design that a decent number of people will descend by the stairs in the peaks so as to clear platforms quickly. If this doesn’t happen when the station is fully open then trains will arrive with platforms not yet clear of passengers. Given the tremendous throughput of trains and vast loadings that has to be a concern. I have not read the passenger modelling documents to see what has been addressed.

    I have gone back to the Planning Application (ref no 11/AP/1987 in Southwark’s system) drawings and it looks like there are typically 2 pairs of escalators and a staircase between them for each paired through platform. For a single through platform (e.g. P1) there is a pair of single escalators and stairs. This begs a question as to how those escalators will run in the peaks. If one has to run up then there will only be one escalator down and two staircases. Now it may be that P1 is only busy in the PM peaks with people heading out of London (I’m assuming it’ll be used by Greenwich line services ex Cannon St). The terminal platforms only have a single escalator and staircase down to the lower circulating area. There is also a double escalator and staircase from the upper level ticket hall unpaid side down to the lower circulating level. The lower level is actually “ground level” if you count Tooley St as ground level while the terminal level is also “ground level” if you count London Bridge St / bus station as “ground level”. Confused? – you will be. This is what you get for having a station built on a hill.

    It’s clear there has been a lot of passenger modelling work done judging from the Design and Access Statement and other documents supporting the planning application.

    I am not entirely sure I understand your comment about cross platform opportunities. My understanding is that platform allocation is essentially very rigid after the upgrade – Cannon St / Greenwich services (3) are at the north side, then Thameslink has 2 tracks, then C X line tracks and platforms (4?) and then 6 terminal tracks for South Central services. To change between any service grouping you will need to go via the lower concourse unless I’m missing something.

  33. Paul says:

    DVD @1458

    The planning drawings show that there are stairs and escalators to all platforms. The four main island platforms each show four escalators, two either side of the concourse with parallel double staircases between them (i.e. two escalators face west, and two face east). The single platform 1 (the down line from Cannon St), has only two escalators, again east and west facing, with double stairs alongside.

    The terminating platforms all have single escalators with ‘double’ staircases alongside. I’d suggest they will operate in the main flow direction depending on time of day.

    So compared to the current situation, all routes are available via stairs as well as escalators – and at certain times on some platforms you’ll have to use stairs.

  34. Theban says:

    With the problems of switching between platforms and impending service disruptions over a protracted period, it is certainly the case that things get worse (much worse?) before they get better. I suspect when it really starts to bite that there is going to be a heap of push back from passengers.

    I wonder when it comes to resolving the issues outside Croydon those same passengers are going to say, “Too much already!”. My sense is that there will be a lot of anger if there is more major disruption on BML in a decade or so after London Bridge is finished. The Croydon Central MP, Gavin Barwell, is tipped for political advancement (if he retains what has historically been a marginal seat) and is likely to have significant influence if reelected. There is a risk that the London Bridge works are going to make it much harder for anyffurther BML works which is have a big impact on passengers.

  35. Steven Taylor says:

    You beat me to it. I have my copy of Alan Jackson`s book by the computer to mention that London Bridge only ever had a maximum of 21 platforms etc. unless you count the `Mount` postal platform opposite Platform 6., between Platform 6 and 7.

    Alan`s book is an excellent read.

  36. timbeau says:

    “Similar problems occur at East Croydon with “next departure to X” often having already departed. Departure information on the concourse has also got much worse over the past year. Southern is now pretty crap for on station announcements IMO.”

    Waterloo is a curates egg where announcements are concerned, with some platforms announced only a couple of minutes before departure – which gives you little time to get across a crowded concourse. Particularly a problem for Kinsgton loop and Shepperton services, where trains are scheduled to leave to go opposite ways round the loop within a few minutes of each other, from opposite sides of the station.

  37. Graham Feakins says:

    @ DVD & WW and other kind contributors – You must add me to the Greg list of those with a bee in the bonnet. I started commuting when Platform 22 was still there; there were footbridges but certainly some tortuous routes between low and high level platforms, particularly when the bombed out remains were being demolished and the then new bus station was being constructed. However, in the latest and final manifestation before demolition commenced last year for the Thameslink ‘upgrade’, that footbridge required climbing just to above train height on the south eastern side (through platforms) and sloped down towards the terminating side. Not too uncomfortable and certainly coped with that last-minute platform change.

    WW says “The depth of the station and vast space being created may make interchange times longer than the relatively shallow climb to the current footbridge” and I thought that he might be on our side but then proceeds to suggest (to my mind) that the new setup must somehow be OK because that’s what they’re going to do. I am sorry, but the drop soon to be required from platform level to street level is easily twice the height, maybe greater, and therefore to suggest that folk will willingly negotiate all the stairs – down or back up – is inviting rebellion amongst commuters; from memory, there will be some five or six flights of stairs to give you an idea of the height difference. There are two at the moment between footbridge and the platforms. The single escalators in particular will inevitably provide that top-of-the-escalator bunching upon train arrival – and nobody likes travelling backwards and so the forward-facing escalators (in the direction of travel) are to likely to be used more than the ones that face backwards (country direction). One only had to spend a few moments on the existing footbridge over the south eastern platforms to realise that the stairs at the Charing Cross/Cannon Street/Thameslink end are used probably 80% more than the opposite ones facing Kent and Surrey. What makes anyone think it will be different with escalators?

    Then add the extra ‘clever’ bit of the design. Today, one has same platform interchange between all up and many down Charing Cross services and Thameslink. In future, Southeastern passengers will also need to view the street level facilities, hopefully spend some dosh as with the rest of us changing trains (so favoured by artists’ impressions) at one of the outlets and then go all the way up to the Thameslink or Cannon Street platform.

    I am tempted to think that whoever those are who did the passenger modelling have not spent so long actually studying closely long-standing flows through the station, especially bearing in mind the need to change trains as soon as possible and with minimal inconvenience and effort. Also bear in mind that Southwark Council’s input and influence on the planning basically only went as far as to ensure that the south side (St. Thomas’s Street) of the station was opened up to accessibility and commerce to develop and link it up with the thriving north side (Tooley Street and the riverside), with precious little consideration for passengers actually using the station. To Southwark it has been just a local project. I attended meetings organised by Southwark which confirmed this train of thought. They have little idea of the railway passenger traffic flows using London Bridge as such, mainly because nobody has told them; after all, they’ll have a nice new area gouged out from below to link two parts of their borough.

    WW – you admitted this week that you were not so familiar with the new Blackfriars (main line), where one must now also descend to street level at the northern end to reach some platforms rather than use a footbridge over the railway, as Alison W misses. May I suggest you explore Blackfriars as a Mark 1 version of the new London Bridge-to-come, with its enormous and comprehensive vertical passenger transfer facilities. I can see an opening for any new franchisee proposing “Not stopping at London Bridge” services which serve the various routes without requiring any changes there… Think about it, junction manoeuvres outside take time; not stopping at station = balanced timing – and better for the through commuter. It’s the commuter timing that counts and should the enforced effort be far greater than now by changing at the new London Bridge, then expect a disappointed travelling public.

    My apologies, folks, but having listened to a pal tonight involved with a related project, my bee in the bonnet is probably justified.

  38. 0775John says:

    Theban 20.40
    Commuters, indeed any types of passengers, cannot really have it both ways! Either disruption and eventually a better overall service or same old service, no disruption apart from what they get already and no moaning…
    New commuters will arrive each year after 2018 who will find London Bridge a new and pleasant place to use (hopefully) but some existing ones will have the bad luck to have to live through successive major redevelopments of key parts of their daily journeys.
    It would surely be a counter-productive and ridiculously short-term move for any politician to attempt to block any further modernisation just because their constituents had had a load of hassle 10 years before. I realise that it might seem a vote winner but who wants to be remembered as the MP who prevented their constituents having a better and more reliable train service?

  39. ngh says:

    Re Graham F

    Some thoughts (some from the last discussion at least a year ago…) – we are going to disagree on this one.

    Any new replacement overbridge would have to be much higher to cope with OHLE passive provision hence the difference will be smaller than at present.

    An over-bridge would reduce the standing area on the platform for those waiting.

    Passenger flows will change in the future (i.e. there is no peak LBG-Blackfriars at the moment but there will be in 2019) and platforms are designed around making catching the next service in the up direction as easy as possible (in the am peak) i.e. Charing Cross = P8/9 island, Blackfriars P5, Cannon Street P2/3 island making it very easy to catch the next up service. With all services stopping at London Bridge, SE could then move to a single option of to/from Charing Cross or Cannon Street for each via London Bridge service pattern thus making down SE services very easy to guarantee catching the service for a single platform island.

  40. Graham Feakins says:

    @ ngh – Brief reply – Just how much higher? The new OHLE-compliant footbridge at Tulse Hill isn’t that much higher then the old one.

    Why cannot the stairs of a London Bridge version be located above one of the escalators and thus basically occupy a similar footprint? In any case, I thought that the platforms were going to be wider than now.

    How will it be easier to change between Charing Cross = P8/9 or Cannon Street P2/3 island and Platform 5 (Blackfriars)? The only ‘easy bit’ I predict is that you will miss the train you hoped to catch to Blackfriars and possibly onwards and have to wait for the next one.

    You haven’t mentioned at all users of the six (Southern) terminating platforms changing to and from the high level, who will all need to view the street-level scene far below.

  41. ngh says:

    Re Graham F

    There seems to be the assumption that the situation pre works was ideal and that moving away from it is bad.
    Footbridge (or not) you still lose a considerable area at the bottom of the steps for circulating space and doesn’t work if the stairs /escalators from ground to platform are closely spaced (which they are for any sensible footbridge location, which would leave only the options for a P1-9 through platform over-bridge at the city end in line with the current escalators from concourse to ground floor for tube or at the country end but not connecting to P1 and P10).

    Re platforms
    At the moment in the am peak Cannon Street services leave in large numbers from both 2 and 3 which are on different platform islands which is not ideal so you get passengers needing to check the screens or waiting on the footbridge to hedge their bets on whether the info on screen is correct. Once completed they just go to 2/3 without needing to check and get on the first train (heading in right direction if using P2…)

    The new platforms are also designed with the (limited available) width in different places or rather the inevitable narrow bits at the quieter end of the platform islands, you can’t do this if you have and up/down on 1 island.
    For example P8/9 (Up CHX) will be narrower at the country end while P6/7 (down CHX) will be wider than 8/9 at the country end

  42. Greg Tingey says:

    Thank you
    I always thought that an extra p/f could be put into LBG if they tried.
    Like the “bee in my bonnet” (WW) we’ll have to see what actually happens, won’t we?

    and at certain times on some platforms you’ll have to use stairs. Well, THAT is a mistake, for a start. Disabled access only at certain times of day (or will there be lifts?)

    Couple your misgivings to mine then add the amazing omission of direct access from the actual Bridge itself to the station, with the inevitable screw-ups ( & Pedestrian casualties?) crossing Tooley St & we have a not very pretty picture

    0775 John
    who wants to be remembered as the MP who prevented their constituents having a better and more reliable train service?
    The MP for Dartford?

  43. timbeau says:

    “0775 John
    who wants to be remembered as the MP who prevented their constituents having a better and more reliable train service?
    The MP for Dartford?”

    or possibly Wimbledon – who “saved” an unreliable and infrequent through service to somewhere you can get to quicker by another route, at the expense of a more frequent and reliable self contained route going as far as most of its users are going anyway.

  44. Paul says:

    Greg @ 09:48

    Yes there are lifts to all platforms as well. I only aimed to highlight the fact that the large numbers of escalators are not at the expense of stairs.

  45. 0775John says:

    @greg @timbeau
    Yes – points taken!
    Clearly short term popularity trumps a coherent long-term approach in certain politicians minds.
    But then I suppose deep down I knew that transport planning always suffers from the taint in some quarters of being the product of a centralist mindset rather than a free market economy despite TfL being driven (?) by a right of centre Mayor – which one might have thought would make a difference.
    Looking at said Dartford MP’s website and his speech on February 14 in Westminster Hall I fail to see how the noted shortcomings in Southeastern performance are to be rectified by his constituents more easily than those that might arise should TfL take over the service.
    Because they (his constituents) can vote for a Government but not the Mayor seems to be the essence of his argument.
    I was not fully up to speed with this so forgive the raking over of old, and now cold, coals and inevitable topic drift.

  46. stimarco says:

    It’s worth noting that service patterns may change quite dramatically once the works are finished. There’ll even be services up the ECML, though I’ve no idea if any of those will go via London Bridge too.

    Looking at the diagrams posted previously, it seems most of the old Charing X stoppers will be diverted into Cannon Street, while it’ll be mostly the fast (i.e. outside Greater London) services get to use the swish new viaduct. Thameslink sits in between.

    That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker: some passengers may change at Lewisham or elsewhere rather than LB. But it does explain the decision to build that big concourse down below: much more circulation space. It also avoids the problem of finding somewhere to put the supports for a footbridge, which would take up precious platform space.

    Note, too, that if you’re in a hurry, you can actually climb and descend stairs rather more quickly if said stairs also happen to be moving in the right direction already. Lifts are also provided, though I’m not sure what’s happening with the old ramps at the western end of the through platforms. Is the plan to keep those only for emergency use?

    As for OHLE: this system was actually installed in parts of London Bridge before the switch to third rail, covering most of today’s Southern routes as far out as Sutton (including the ex-SLL).

    Gauge enhancement is related issue, but W10 is likely to be the maximum given the unlikelihood of major freight flows through London Bridge. Nevertheless, this is another reason for opening up the undercroft rather than relying on footbridges.

  47. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Just to add to the stairs v escalators ‘debate’ – enter Paddington (Hammersmith & City), just rebuilt, in the evening peak as S7s discharge masses of passengers wanting to get their main line train home. There are three flights of stairs but anyone wanting to get from the ticket all to the platforms is forced to wait until this mass of humanity has arrived in the ticket hall. Then, providing the next train in hasn’t yet reloaded the seemingly never ending conveyor belt of people, you can go down the stairs to the platform.

    So, if nothing else, escalator have the advantage of ensuring two-way traffic is possible – even in adverse conditions.

  48. Paul says:

    Stimarco 13:30

    There’ll only be escape stairs behind doors at the west end of the through platforms. As far as the planning drawings show, that entrance to the mainline station is no longer available. That is probably the basis for Greg’s post about the terror of Tooley St earlier…

  49. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham F – I am not sure what I have done to deserve such a pointed reply. I spent just spent over an hour raking through the planning application to try to get some facts. I am not and never have been a London Bridge commuter so you clearly have the edge on me in terms of direct experience. Fair enough but don’t clonk me over the head with it please. Clearly you don’t like the plans for London Bridge but neither of us know what it will actually be like and how readily or reluctantly people will take to the new arrangements. All we can do is guess.

    People thought the revised layout at Kings Cross main line would cause the world to fall off its axis (based on comments on usenet discussion groups). However I have not heard a murmur of complaint about the altered entry and exit arrangements at the station. People seem to cope with the new ticket hall and its greater space admirably and I don’t see a mass boycott of the retail facilities. I suspect that transport enthusiasts are not always in tune with what the ordinary punter wants or needs. We can pick and poke at things that the punter doesn’t even notice.

    I find your remarks about Southwark Council interesting. The implication is that no one in the council read the reams of paperwork submitted by Network Rail which I’m afraid I don’t find credible. I doubt the politicians read it all but I would hope officers in the authority most certainly did and provide the requisite summaries and recommendations to the politicians. I think you also need to acknowledge, even if you don’t like it, that the modern railway needs a level of retail presence in their stations as a source of commercial revenue. Looking at the plans for London Bridge there is some retail at the lower level circulating area but not massive amounts. Again passengers seem to find shops convenient and are happy to spend their money in them. I can’t see that passenger handling capacity has been subjugated to the demands of retail revenue. I can see 5 small retail units on the paid side of the gateline at the lower level and a few more on the unpaid side where you’d expect them to be.

    As I don’t have a Travelcard covering Zone 1 then I can’t take up your find offer to investigate Blackfriars NR. I have little need to use Thameslink on a regular basis so won’t be experiencing the station for myself for any other reason. I passed no comment about the adequacy or otherwise of the Blackfriars design. I merely suggested that the ticket gates could perhaps be tweaked to be a bit more user friendly to permit north end platform to platform interchange.

  50. Theban says:

    It is not an either/or between disruption and improvement it is placing more emphasis on minimising major disruption. For instance the work on the through lines at Blackfriars, the through lines at London Bridge, and re-alignments in Croydon should all have been at once instead of staggered. Interchange via the undercroft at London Bridge should have been enabled first.

  51. I have updated the article with a picture of platform 15 holding area.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Discussions about London Bridge demonstrate that you can’t please all of the people all of the time and you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs! The previous station was not a pleasant environment and had capacity issues. If it takes longer to interchange for a wider choice of hopefully more reliable services, then so be it. Huge chunks of London’s railway could do with being ripped up and started again but there isn’t that opportunity – to rebuild London Bridge within its current spatial limits AND keep services largely running is a miracle to my mind. Any new build with these constraints will have to be a compromise to some extent. I’ve lived in London all my life and knew the South Bank as a largely derelict area. The rebuild of London Bridge joins the East London Line, Jubilee Line and rebuilt Blackfriars in making this an area people actually choose to visit at last.

    Regarding the problems with 14-15, it seems to be that in order to run a fifteen minute service to and from Tulse Hill (ten in the peaks) out of two platforms, a very short turnaround is needed. If the incoming train is a few mins late (and they often get held by FCCs at Tulse Hill and LOROLs at Peckham Rye Junction) then the platform for the outgoing train isn’t advertised until even later to avoid 8 coaches of people getting on and off in a tiny space at the same time. I fear we’re stuck with this less than ideal situation until the rebuild is complete. The drivers don’t like it much either – it can be impossible to reach the cab with the crush (until of course everybody has squashed themselves into the rear coaches and the driver walks past four empty coaches at the front).

  53. MikeP says:

    @Theban – I’m sure the professionals involved have looked at every option, and then some, over the sequencing the works at LBG. You suggest the undercroft works should have been completed before the “above-ground” works. As a non-professional in this area, could I ask how access to the new access would have been possible from the existing, narrow, platforms ??

    I’m pretty sure that if Blackfriars, LBG and Croydon were all to be done at once, we’d only just be getting started, given the necessity for a halt well in advance of the 2012 Olympics.

    Phasing upgrade works rather than attempting a “big bang” is a useful way of reducing the risk. Imagine this week’s earth bonding issue affecting five times the number of tracks it did.

  54. I would just add that I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the undercroft a while back having been suitably suited, booted, hatted and safety specced. Sadly very difficult to photograph. My minder ensured I adhered to the approved walking route at all times. The rainwater tanks (not just one) were typical of the masses of typical worksite stuff down there. I cannot conceive how a useable passageway could have been constructed and the worksite remain operational.

  55. Graham Feakins says:

    @ WW – I certainly had not intended any offence so my apologies if such was caused. My views come from over 50 years of frequent use of the station, mainly as a daily commuter changing trains there. I make no complaint about the required interim arrangements but about the intended final product. This is how Network Rail presents it: “Bigger than Wembley Stadium’s pitch, London Bridge station will have the largest concourse in the UK – creating 66% more space, new retail and station facilities. The concourse will unify the station for the first time so that passengers can access all platforms from one place. Regenerating Southwark – With entrances on Tooley Street and St Thomas Street, connections to and between the surrounding areas will be improved, supporting the wider regeneration of the area. Tube and bus links will be improved and lifts and escalators will provide step free access to every platform.”

    So, whilst I don’t doubt that Southwark have construed the plans, their only public interest is the regeneration of the area, as confirmed above by Network Rail. One particular seminar at City Hall made no mention at all of pedestrian traffic flows to, from and between trains (and indeed the Underground) but concentrated on access between north and south sides of the station, as well as existing and future businesses.

    I’ll try to conclude my point simply: today and within my living memory, passengers on incoming trains will be alongside another train or overtake one, knowing that it is e.g. a Charing Cross service. A quick, commuter-style sprint up onto the footbridge upon arrival and down onto Platform 6 will invariably ensure that the Charing Cross service seen outside will still be in the platform to catch. Similarly, upon return at night, the transfer from a train ex-Charing Cross/Cannon Street to a timed departure from another platform, say one of the terminating platforms, can be achieved just as swiftly.

    What I suggest is that it is going to take longer to change trains and thus one must allow for that by catching an earlier train (or agree to arriving later). In other words, overall journey times I believe will be increased for those having to change trains on a regular basis, with or without escalators and lifts.

    I am not confident that King’s Cross station has such interchange traffic between its platforms and thus perhaps ought not to be used for comparison.

  56. Ed says:

    Reading the comments and it seems a bit underwhelming for those coming on the Greenwich line. No more trains to Charing Cross so passengers will need to change at London Bridge if heading there, and that could well take longer than at present as currently a quick nip up the short stairs from p3 (or sometimes p2) and then over to p6.

    Then there’s the issue of no additional trains going to central London than there is at present. It will be exactly the same number as now I think, though I think I may have read there could even be one less? All additional capacity is going to Thameslink. So it’s just a lessening of congestion really? If getting off at London Bridge it will be far better of course, and many other services will be improved. Greenwich probably gains the least then of any line but such is life.

  57. Graham Feakins says:

    Ed, I have every sympathy with your comments. It would be gratifying if you composed it before my comment above.

    I have looked again at WW’s response to me and a major aspect worth mentioning is that commuters changing trains (as opposed to folk starting or terminating their journeys at London Bridge) normally have precious little time for retail facilities, so they will have no relevance to the discussion. That I think is in direct contrast to what WW observes at King’s Cross. Put that another way, who would dwell for a moment changing lines on the Underground for any retail outlet even if there (apart from the old District Line bars on the platforms, of course!)?

    The essential bit is, no matter which way one looks at it, the LB platforms will remain at the same height above mean sea level as today and so will the street level far below. The vertical distance between the various platforms and street level is far greater than that provided by the footbridge. So far, anybody who does not need to access the street level will either change platforms using (what’s left of) the footbridge or remain on or reach lower platform level to access the buses and the bridge crossing Tooley Street straight onto London Bridge itself. By the way, I understand those lifts will not be the large-capacity sort as may be found on the Underground but more the sort to be found at various suburban stations on the Southern for those encumbered with push chairs and for wheel chair users and they would be a source of frustration for those in a hurry finding the lift ‘at the bottom’ or ‘at the top’.

    All this for the want of a footbridge.

    From what 0775John says, it is disturbing (for me) to think that “new commuters will arrive each year after 2018 who will find London Bridge a new and pleasant place to use” who won’t recall the swifter aspects of changing trains there. They’ll have to rely on historians, rather like those who recorded from the timetables 26tph out of Blackfriars southwards during evening peaks in the 1960’s – all on the Elephant & Castle route……

  58. Ian J says:

    @Graham F:

    The vertical distance between the various platforms and street level is far greater than that provided by the footbridge

    It’s a good thing they are providing escalators, then. And do you have a figure for “far greater”?

  59. timbeau says:

    “Then there’s the issue of no additional trains going to central London than there is at present. It will be exactly the same number as now I think, though I think I may have read there could even be one less? All additional capacity is going to Thameslink.”

    Does Thameslink not go to Central London?

    I agree however that the overall plan makes interchanging between CX, TL, and CS trains harder, whilst at the same time more likely to be necessary (no chance of waiting at Greenwich for a CX train, for example) . The NR passage quoted by Graham F: “The concourse will unify the station for the first time so that passengers can access all platforms from one place. ” suggests that anyone interchanging will need to pass through that one place: they have seen London Bridge primarily as a place to start or finish a journey, with interchange of secondary importance.

  60. Greg Tingey says:

    Everyone has to go all-the-way-down to the concourse, then all-the-way-up-again … just to change trains.
    This will certainly increase (time/space) footfall on the station, without necessarily increasing convenience & accessibility.
    The absence of direct access from the N at, affectively platform-level (well, via gently sloping ramps) is going to create huge crowds on the “New, vast” concourse, to no useful effect.
    We’ll see.
    Unlike King’s Cross, where they’ve been able to divert passenger-flows round a convenient corner & leave gates open a lot of the day, because of the deep level-changes, modifying it, when the congestion mounts up, day by day & (I horribly suspect) the pedestrian casualties on Tooley St become, err, embarrasing … easy, quick fixes will not be possible.
    So an engineering job may have to be done, afterwards, costing $(£)_BIGNUM & lots of embarrassment.
    I hope to be proved wrong, but I don’t think this will be the case.

  61. Robert says:

    @Graham Feakins:

    Do you have a citation as to how much longer changing trains will be? As I understand it, going up/down steps is being replaced with down/up escalators (with more height, but faster speed). I would have thought the escalator capacity would be comparable to that of the existing steps, too.

    The fact that interchange might be pleasant, but maybe slightly slower doesn’t seem unreasonable. Especially since long-term flows should adjust, and the work is really about improving capacity.

    We’ve seen similar trade-offs at Kings Cross (NR to tube) and Reading. Whilst it has made some of my journeys longer, I realise that it was the best option.

  62. @Graham F,

    I am a bit baffled on what basis you make your assertion. It seems to be done on the basis that regular commuters somehow lose their ability to carry out a process of walking on coming into contact with an escalator. I haven’t looked at the exact height difference of the new proposed concourse compared with a new hypothetical footbridge complete with clearance for 25kV wires (as is now Network Rail practice). Neither have I bothered to check the proposed angle and speed of the new escalators. Without any of the facts known you are just stating an opinion as a fact (longer times to change platforms than now) that may well be true but, as far as I can tell, may be false and indeed the opposite may well be the case.

    Of course you could argue that you would have escalators on any proposed footbridge as well. This would not affect my “now v the future” comparison but would affect a “future footbridge v future transfer via undercroft” comparison. There are two obvious responses to this.

    The first response is that adding escalators to a footbridge substantially increases the size and complexity of the structure even if it were possible. Significantly against this argument we can see that neither the new footbridge at East Croydon (3 island platforms served at a cost of £27 million) nor the one at Clapham Junction have escalators.

    The second response is that if one builds a proper footbridge including escalators then one is talking of something on the scale of Reading. Such a thing would undoubtedly lengthen the already long period of trains not stopping at London Bridge high level – something about which you have repeatedly raised your concerns (with justification in my opinion I may add though I cannot see how it can be avoided).

    Furthermore, if technically possible, such a footbridge probably could be added later, if found to actually be required or desirable, with not too much disruption if done piecemeal at Christmas, Easter and other suitable times. To challenge Greg’s point, there is no reason whatsoever for such a decision to be embarrassing. One advantage of the new London Bridge is there is no oversite development and now unlikely to be any. And to use a flavour-of-the-month word this would de-risk the project compared to doing it at the same time as a rebuild. As to the extra cost, this would be a major project in its own right so there would probably be little cost saving compared to adding it on to the main job. Also the cost of removing the canopies (and the cost of those originally) would be insignificant compared to a Reading style footbridge. As others have pointed out the issue with the inadequate bonding shows how important it is to break down a project whenever possible to minimise risk and the consequences of something going wrong.

  63. Chris L says:

    The lack of a footbridge will also overcrowd the front of trains.

    At present passengers changing trains have two stairs or the ramp at the front of the train.

    Given that Waterloo, Charing Cross and Cannon Street main exits are also at the fron of the train this is a serious crowding issue.

  64. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham F – thanks for the apology but you then go on to repeat everything you said before! I’m not incapable of understanding your point even if I don’t necessarily agree with it. My point about Kings Cross was that people cope with a revised arrangement despite many predictions that they would not. There are aspects of the KX rebuild that are not ideal but I have *never* seen anyone provide a viable alternative layout. I am afraid that people using London Bridge will simply have to adapt whether they like it or not. I have never read a viable alternative plan that allows London Bridge to be rebuilt in a reasonable timeframe and which caters for the extra Thameslink services and which preserves all the existing “flexibility” of service patterns even though that brings it owns penalties in terms of slow approach speeds and chaos if the slightest thing goes wrong. I am sure that some people on the Greenwich line will not enjoy being locked into a service pattern to Cannon St. How many flyovers and diveunders do we need to allow trains on South Eastern to go from everywhere to everywhere? Is it affordable or even desirable given the inevitable compromises on frequencies due to conflicts elsewhere? Those are wider questions but clearly have some bearing on the decisions and inevitable compromises that have had to be made to allow expansion of Thameslink services (generally viewed as a good thing).

    You and Greg will be able to go “I told you so, we were right” if and when Network Rail realise they need to build a footbridge to link the platforms in addition to what will be finished by 2018. I won’t be holding my breath though in anticipation of your joint declaration 😉

    If retail facilities do not work at stations why are there so many shops? LU has had shops in ticket halls and on some platforms for decades and they’d not have lasted if they didn’t make money. Main line stations have had shops of varying sorts since the earliest days of rail operation and in more recent times people seem perfectly content to use shops in stations. All these places have footfall and that is what drives spending in shops (assuming the shops sell what people want). Sometimes the approach has been wrong with retail crowding out circulation space (e.g. Waterloo and Euston) but Network Rail appear to have learnt the lessons from the worst days of Railtrack property exploitation.

    We’re clearly not going to agree given the strength of your opinions about the London Bridge redesign so perhaps it’s best to leave it there.

  65. Paul says:

    Robert @09:18

    Stairs are not being ‘replaced’ by escalators. There are stairs parallel to every escalator.

    Chris L @ 09:47

    The stairs and escalators at platform level on the through platforms are separated by about four car lengths and are about ⅓ and ⅔ of the way along the platform (even though this varies a bit) so why should this overcrowd the front of through trains with people for London Bridge?

    The stairs and escalators down from the terminating platforms are also roughly where the 5th car of a train will be. So for people heading for the north or south ground level exits from the station, or for interchange to the through platforms, there’ll also be no massive advantage to being at the front of the train.

  66. Chris L says:

    the positioning of the escalators/stairs was not clear in the diagrams I could find.

  67. Robert says:

    Thanks for the correction. I didn’t intend to undersell the stair/escalator provision.

  68. Martin Smith says:

    Walthamstow Writer wrote: “getting tracks connected and platforms re-opened should be second nature given how many such works happen across the network – Reading being a prime example.”

    But Reading doesn’t have traction current flowing through the tracks, which is what I understood the problem to be at LB. Where else on the 3rd rail network has seen significant engineering on a scale with LB recently?

  69. ngh says:

    Re Martin Smith
    Exactly copying Reading is not a good idea at all.

    Platform interchange:
    The through platform will set up so the interchange isn’t at the Charing Cross/Cannon Street end to discourage crowding at the front of trains.

    Any new footbridge with Escalators and Lifts would be higher above track level than at present.

    There is likely to be less queuing of trains going to LBG in the future (reduced even further if the service pattern is simplified) so a few more seconds to change is more than counteracted by time not spent on a stationery train.*

    One of the previous London Bridge threads as the escalator and footbridge vs down to ground level timing issue done to death.

    With trains doors likely to be open longer on Charing Cross and Blackfriars services it may make changing easier. With 28tph Charing cross up from 16-18tph in the AM peak there will be less need to beat the rush on the stairs to get on a train.

    As Timbeau pointed out there will be at least another 12tph (Net) to central london (i.e. Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon which might see some passengers swapping from Charing Cross, Waterloo East and Cannon Street.
    So an extra 22+tph in the am peak hour through London Bridge if you want to change there.

    *The Greenwich problem losing the direct Charing Cross services could actually result in a faster journey time to Charing Cross as the run into London Bridge should be faster and more reliable.

  70. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Martin Smith – I was merely pointing out that Network Rail and its contractors should have the requisite knowledge *and* competence to cope with the work being done. If they do not, what on earth is going on in respect of the procurement process, project management and the assurance process within Network Rail and to the ORR? The size of the work is irrelevant really – you scale your resources to match the work being done and the risk you’ve identified or you repackage the work to avoid people falling over each other and compromising delivery.

    I would hope that work at Farringdon, Blackfriars and Gatwick Airport might have involved work with third rail installations but perhaps they’re not on a big enough scale and therefore we can excuse the cock up at London Bridge? I also thought third rail train services reach Reading and use platforms that have been fully reconstructed but perhaps I’m going bonkers? 😉

    I used to listen to LU’s morning conference calls and manage the fault attribution process. I am all too familiar with the “same old, same old” trotting out of excuses as to why the simplest of things were not done properly. When pressed it was never the case that people did not *know* what had to be done and why. It was more the case that the work was not properly planned, managed or checked before being handed back to the operators to use. You’ll excuse me if my experience has made me a little jaded about engineering overruns or newly installed assets falling over with hours of use. It is perfectly possible for works on the railway to be delivered competently, safely, in compliance with requirements and for it to work reliably.

  71. Melvyn says:

    I used one of the new platforms on the day they opened and despite the hoardings they still have more space than some tube station platforms .

    As for the overbridge stairs may be ok for those training for the London marathon but for many they are awkward and difficult to use especially if one has luggage, prams etc or are disabled or elderly . Escalators have the benefit that users can either stand still and let the escalator do the work or walk down the escalator to gain a higher combined speed.

    One question not asked is when will the lower concourse open ?

    Will it not be until full station rebuild or will part which contains southern platforms open when they have been rebuilt ?

    In response to an earlier enquirer Thameslink will be connected to ECML out of Kings Cross taking over west Anglian outer services leaving a question over future operation of Moorgate services as its tunnels can’t take new Thameslink trains and is most likely to become part of London Overground ?

    The expansion of Thameslink may also reduce the number of passengers changing at London bridge station given more through journeys will become possible from more locations with 18 trains per hour planned via London Bridge .

    London Bridge is a good example to quote when Anti HS2 brigade talk of utter chaos Euston rebuild will cause given how this almost total rebuild is being done with trains operating more or less as normal.

    At an earlier Thameslink exhibition I did suggest a ” South London Crossrail !” By linking Southern into London Bridge Station to South West Trains from Waterloo via a new tunnelled Railway with Crossrail style stations at London Bridge and Waterloo (and maybe Blackfriars south side !) then on to a link at Clapham Junction with maybe now a new joint station linking Vauxhall and Northern Line extension !

  72. Graham H says:

    @Melvyn – why would you want to link two termini by a line that doesn’t penetrate central London?

  73. Ad says:

    People have not pointed out the dramatic flaws with London Bridge’s pre-current works layout on the southeastern side.

    I’ve been commuting through the station for about 6 years and I know this to my cost to have gained a disablement as a result of it, in part my fault in part bad design.

    The risk area is in particular going from the 1-6 under croft to catch a train off platform 5 in pm peak. There are so many trains through this platform that getting from the under croft up the slope to the train is:

    a) quite a walk due to the slope and also the fact trains stop a fair way toward the country end.

    b) further endangered by the narrowing caused by the railing, information boards and platform buildings.

    I was trying to get up the slope to catch a train and walking against the flow of people down the slope, I got to the information boards with those on my immediate right. Them suddenly the person walking countryward in front of me stepped to the left and I ended up going over the top of a small person walking the other way (I am very tall). This resulted in a serious fracture to my right wrist that has never been fully resolved.

    I think something simple that could have been done to resolve this is something done at other stations and that is to cease advertising trains at that location less than 1 or 2 minutes before their arrival to discourage sprinting up the ramp as much as possible.

    So I am all in favour of wider platforms with fewer obstructions and the slope entrance going away.

  74. Malcolm says:

    @Graham do you have taxi-driving ancestry? Although “sarf of the river” a line on Melvyn’s route would be at least as close to the Eleanor Cross (traditional London distance-measuring point) as is TCR on Crossrail 1.

    Melvyn’s suggestion, notwithstanding its failure to cross the Thames (which failure it recently shared with CR1 until the Reading announcement) is similar to one put forward by, I think, Stimarco, except that Melvyn uses tunnels instead of reinstating the tracks across Waterloo concourse. I think Dartford (say) and Surbiton (say) are “more collinear” with central London than Watford (say*) and Shenfield.

    * this footnote has been omitted for avoidance of excessive digression

  75. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – not sure – the only ancestor that might be vaguely relevant is one of my great grandfathers, who was the freight manager for the LBSC! I do disagree, however, that S Eleanor’s Cross* is a proxy for the major traffic objectives in central London, which remain Oxford Street and the City, with side dishes of Westminster and Holborn (and of course, Canary Wharf, but that’s not in play here). Dumping people south of the river forces them to walk over those terrible bridgeheads – don’t you love the northern end of Blackfriars bridge or the southern end of Waterloo bridge, for example? It seems a lot of money to spend for no obvious gain.

    *As to the eponymous cross, walking there from Waterloo is, even now, just as feasible as it would be from a putative Bfrs Crossrail station, maybe even faster. It usually takes me about 12 minutes – I really wouldn’t bother to catch any onward transit from Waterloo, not even the tube.

  76. Long Branch Mike 1 says:


    Sorry to hear of your fall and injury. Surely Health & Safety should have some say and into the literally last minute announcement of trains at all UK stations, to prevent such accidents from occurring. And to allow those with disabilities to get to their trains in time and in good order.

  77. Paying Guest says:


    You are right about the dangers of trying to ‘swim’ against tidal flows. My wife is a wheelchair user and I have lost count of the number of times people have narrowly escaped serious injury due to sudden encounters in walkways whether level or sloping. That despite our usual SOP of me ‘running interference’ just ahead of her – being an ex prop forward helps here! I’m not sure what solution there might be.

  78. Melvyn says:

    Graham H In my books London Bridge and Waterloo are both in Central London (even though I’m from Islington !) and my scheme is as much as catering for passengers who want to get from Kent to Hampshire as those for whom London is their destination . In fact a further station at South end of Blackfriars Bridge could connect with Thameslink and services which originate from Blackfriars but that would be counted more as a “wish list” depending on cost and funding .

    Joined up railways also have far more capacity than terminal ones and given the reduced number of platforms Southern will now have at London Bridge then a through scheme would increase capacity and reduce the number of near empty trains leaving post AM rush hour .

    The massive development occurring at places like Elephant and Castle, Waterloo and soon Nine Elms will also increase local transport needs and like at St Pancras International stations can become destinations in their own right where passengers use restaurants and shops without catching a train !

  79. Paul says:

    Melvyn @ 17:27

    The combined Thameslink/Southern/Great Northern franchise (TSGN) does introduce some 8 tph of services on the ECML, some of which will replace current FCC services to Kings Cross, but that in itself doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with the type of stock used on the Moorgate branch. Neither does it make it any more likely that LO will take it over. The current plan is just that TSGN will continue to run the services into Moorgate. That might mean new stock eventually, but that is yet to be decided. It’s nothing to do with the new Thameslink stock – that is only ordered in sufficient quantities for the services through the core. TSGN will still be using hundreds of existing units on other routes.

    ‘West Anglia’ is the name for those routes formerly run by WAGN that go into Liverpool St.

  80. Mark says:

    There’s a lot discussion on the new station layout – but so far nobody has linked to a plan!

    Therefore – commentators may wish to refer to:

    Planning application – Through Platforms
    Planning application – Terminating Platforms
    Planning application – Undercroft concourse

    A couple of observations:

    – Stairs down from the through platforms have four flights, not five, six, etc. Seems perfectly fine for most people, especially for going down.
    – Only one lift per platform – seems pretty ridiculous given the size of the station
    – Exit will no longer be possible via the ramps down from the through platforms – this will delay connections to tube
    – Undercroft concourse is huge – should make changing trains easier

  81. @Malcolm,

    notwithstanding its failure to cross the Thames (which failure it recently shared with CR1 until the Reading announcement)

    And there was me thinking that the Woolwich and Abbey Wood were south of the Thames and that there is currently a Crossrail tunnel boring machine underneath the Thames.

    Actually Maidenhead is also south of the Thames.

  82. Malcolm says:

    @PoP oops! [exit pursued by ignominy]

  83. Ratty says:

    Could someone explain to me how they are going to demolish and rebuild the central islands. Are they going underneath, or round the newly built ones?

  84. Paul says:

    The build sequence is south to north. Once they’ve finished the 6 terminating platforms there’ll be a massive gap between the new P10 and the current P6. They’ll build the new P8/9 through platform island pair in that gap, then start demolishing the first existing island. Repeat until. They reach the new P1, which will be a single platform face.

    The reality is more complex, involving various track repositioning and through train routes with no platforms, but that’s the basic plan…

  85. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ratty – the Thameslink Programme info gives some broad headlines as to when platforms open and close for rebuilding. It also shows what happens to key train services. Looks like this August will see some fun and games on the Overground when no Southern or FCC services will run into London Bridge.

    August 2016 looks like a key date when half of the low level concourse opens for passengers. This is also the point when Charing Cross services resume calls at London Bridge and I assume interchange between the Southern terminators and these services will be via downstairs. Greenwich line services stop calling at this time to allow reconstruction of the final tranche of through platforms.

  86. Malcolm says:

    I think Ratty may also have been wondering how equipment, cranes, workers, materials, rubbish etc etc will get in and out of the work-site, surrounded as it is by live railway and/or live passengers. My guess to most of the answer is “underneath”.

  87. Graham H says:

    @Melvyn -The people of Kent have a very simple and short interchange at Waterloo, as it is. And, I’m afraid, you are still wrong about terminal capacity being the limiting factor at either LBr or Waterloo. The limiting factor in both cases is the capacity of the approaches.

  88. Malcolm says:

    @Graham : I tend to agree with you that cross-linking terminals, alone, is unlikely to increase capacity much, or at all. But on the other hand, it might be worth mentioning that the “capacity of the approaches” (to terminal stations) is very much affected by the fact that they are approaches, with all the pointwork, conflicting movements and slowing that this causes. So provided other things are also done (such as arranging for enough parallel platforms at such stations as nearly-everyone joins/alights at), cross-linking could have a good impact on capacity. Determining whether, in any given case, it is the best way to do so is left as an exercise for the reader.

  89. timbeau says:

    “The expansion of Thameslink may also reduce the number of passengers changing at London bridge station given more through journeys will become possible from more locations with 18 trains per hour planned via London Bridge .”
    I think this is unlikely. At present most stations on the old SER network (and indeed the Brighton and Chatham networks) have a choice of City or West end termini – many people (in both directions) will wait for the appropriate train rather than go for the London Bridge scrum – more chance of a seat apart from anything else. In future, with flows segregated from Lewisham in, any North Kent passenger for cannon Street, or main line passenger for CX, will have to change at London Bridge.

    Indeed: the recently-announced extension to Reading will almost double the number of Crossrail stations south of the river – from three to five.

  90. ngh says:

    Re Ratty,

    probably best to have a look at a previous LR Thameslink thread:

    (note this article isn’t tagged with London Bridge or Thameslink so you have to do a manual London Bridge search to find it! I think the tags got lost during one of the website refurbs. That is the most useful London Bridge article to read.

    For sequencing the best original document is Southwark planning application 2012/AP/3609 which specifically covers the site sequencing and logistics.
    Documents 263259 to 263267 have plans covering each phase.

    From that thread my previous detailed posts on the rebuild sequencing (and updated to removed references to the future that have now past):

    As previously covered on LR it isn’t quite that simple but some scheduling detail is beginning to appear on the NR and council websites.
    New Platform Layout for reference:
    P1-3 Cannon Street
    P4,5 Blackfriars
    P6-9 Charing Cross
    P10-15 Terminating

    The programme is broken down into circa 3-12 month blocks with 3-4 (sometimes 5!) track / platforms worth of space out of action at any time. The new Blackfriars platforms won’t be used for that purpose till all the works are complete to maintain capacity to Cannon Street (and Charing Cross) during the works.

    NR Phasing from NR docs and NR docs submitted to Southwark council planning dept.

    Low Level:
    1 May 2013 – March 2014 [9 months]
    1A April 2014 – August 2014 [4.5 months] (current Phase)
    1B August 2014 – December 2014 [4.5 months]

    Core Ongoing – May 2015 [5 months]

    High Level:
    (Charing Cross Service Disruption)
    2 May 2015 – August 2015 [3 months]
    2A August 2015 – March 2016 [7 months]

    (Cannon Street Service Disruption)
    3 March 2016 – October 2016 [6 months]
    3A October 2016 – October 2017 [12 months]

    4 October 2017 – May 2018 [8 Months]

    Long possessions to alter the track work and signalling between stages are scheduled for Christmas – New Year, Easter and August (not necessarily just the bank holiday weekend) most years.

    1 May 2013 – March 2014 [9 months]
    The current P14,15,16 will be out of action shortly and the new 14/15 (known and P/Q until construction complete) in the current 15-16 area) were in action in late March 2014,

    1A April 2014 – August 2014 [4.5 months] (current Phase)
    The old P12/13 will then be taken out of action leaving space from the old platforms 12,13,14 as worksite. New 12/13 (known as M/N until construction complete) completed and brought into used.

    Network change notices (only the first so far covering 1 &1A):

    1B August 2014 – December 2014 [4.5 months]
    Existing P10,11 closed and construction work starts there on the new 10/11 (K/L). When this phase is finished work on the new terminating platforms is largely completed
    1 week + 2 weekend closure to swap from 1A to 1B

    “Core” On going till May 2015
    With the 6 new terminating platforms in use, the old P8,9 and the gaps between the high and low levels and work on to bring the new Borough market viaduct and connection in to use. relatively little rail service disruption at this point

    Disruption to the though service now starts.

    2 May 2015 – August 2015 [3 months]
    As “Core” but disruption to CHX services:
    – The CHX UP through track and P6 track and P5/6 island are demolished
    – P4 and P5 tracks are non stop and track 5 (now UP) is temporarily slued across the CHX end of the former P5/6 island to meet the UP line.
    All trains CHX trains still over the OLD Borough Market viaduct

    CST service (P1-3 as normal)

    2A August 2015 – March 2016 [7 months]
    CST service (P1-3 as normal)
    Tracks through the new 3 of 4 new CHX platforms in use but not the platforms themselves (the new 7,8,9).
    CHX services now via the NEW Borough Market viaduct
    P4,5 now demolished

    3 March 2016 – October 2016 [6 months]
    New platforms 7,8,9 in use for CHX services (some now stopping)
    New P6 and track through new P5 used for CST services (which don’t stop on P6 due to temporary track alignment.
    Some of the gap between High and Low levels still under construction.
    Old Borough Market viaduct modifications

    OLD P1-4 demolished and construction of new P1-5 underway.

    3A October 2016 – October 2017 [12 months]

    Tracks through new P1,2 open but not platforms for CST services
    As 3, new platforms 7,8,9 in use for CHX services (some now stopping)
    Construction in the gap between High and low level complete.
    Platforms and tracks 3-6 under construction and platforms 1,2 under construction.

    4 October 2017 – May 2018 [8 Months]
    Final works to bring the last bits into use i.e. swap CST services to P1-3, sort P4/5 trackwork for Blackfriars services etc.

  91. stimarco says:

    @Graham H:

    “@Melvyn – why would you want to link two termini by a line that doesn’t penetrate central London?”

    Two words: London Overground. Shoreditch High Street’s somewhat contrived position within Zone 1 aside, this route avoids central London entirely.

    I understand that this design feature has utterly failed to stop it being rammed with passengers, which suggests that not all cross-London have to go through the City or West End. The key is interchange and my own “Crossrail South Bank + Thameslink West End” combo project specifically addressed that. Without tunnels, although Charing X would need rebuilding and Waterloo East would be replaced by a delta junction. But I’ve covered that in detail elsewhere.

    However, it’s also easy to forget that it’s possible to get from Reading to places as far afield as Newcastle, Plymouth and Gatwick, as well as London. Other hubs dotted around most of the UK also offer similar connectivity that doesn’t require going all the way into a London terminus first.

    Kent doesn’t have that. Even HS1 merely gets you to St. Pancras quicker than Thameslink did, but you can’t take a train up HS1 and end up anywhere other than London. If you live in Gravesend, Rochester or Canterbury, your cross-country options are very, very limited. (And what few there are, are also very slow. You’ll see no HSTs on any of Kent’s classic lines.)

    So, yes, a “South Bank Crossrail” line would be used. And quite heavily at that: you’re forgetting that any services on that line would also serve Clapham Junction. In theory, you could even have through services out as far as Reading from Rochester or Ramsgate.

    Of course, the reverse is also true: you get direct access to places in south-east London and Kent from the rest of the UK. That’ll do wonders for Kent’s struggling economy.

    While more, and faster, services into London itself are always going to be a priority, it’s a mistake to focus on that to the exclusion of all else.

    It’s also worth remembering that the orbital London Overground core has limited scope for capacity improvements: short of major surgery to some very old Listed structures, it’s going to be stuck with four-car and five-car trains for a while to come. It also doesn’t actually serve a big chunk of Kent’s traffic as the orbital section bypasses Lewisham Junction entirely.

    I suspect Brunel’s Thames Tunnel and its stations may eventually have to be replaced by new-build infrastructure instead, though this opens up the possibility of TfL repurposing the original line as a “heritage” line linked to their museum.

  92. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Mark – Thanks for providing the links to the planning application drawings. I had seen them but couldn’t easily find them again online.

    Note that terminating platforms 11/12, 13/14 and 15 appear to be provided with only a single escalator, presumably always running in the up direction, so everyone will have to use the stairs down to ground level. Note, too, that Platform 15 will apparently not have a lift.

    Each flight of stairs is likely to comprise 13 steps, so there will be 52 steps between high level platforms and street level and 39 on the low level side.

    @ Ian J – I had hoped to catch a friend with a laser measure but perhaps you can get some idea from the street view of Tooley Street – work along in both directions. Track level can be judged from the base of the signal:

    A view (bit historical now) of the present footbridge on the low level side is here:

    Of course, instead of a replacement footbridge, there appears to be space for a mezzanine subway beneath the tracks as per Blackfriars (South Bank).

    Oh and somebody might like to work out the electricity bill for running 24 extra escalators presumably throughout traffic hours.

  93. stimarco says:

    Back on topic…

    I notice that LB’s new escalators will descend into the new concours in a “V” arrangement: i.e. the banks of escalators will be facing each other. This suggests that one side will be set to ‘up’ and the other to ‘down’, making interchange relatively easy.

    (As others have pointed out, the small lifts are intended for those with mobility issues, heavy shopping, prams, etc. They’re a courtesy feature, not a primary means of access.)

    The Tooley Street footbridge appears to be outside Network Rail’s remit. The plans linked to earlier do seem to suggest that the footbridge entrance will remain for now – albeit as part of a fire escape – but I’d be very surprised if the ugly structure that footbridge passes through remains standing. That the London Bridge reconstruction doesn’t involve the footbridge is probably because Network Rail don’t own that building, but that building’s owners would have to be utterly bonkers not to redevelop that godawful insult to photons and provide a shiny, new building that better fits in with its surroundings, while – naturally – offering plenty of the traditional, and equally shiny, “retail opportunities” London’s commuters know and love.

  94. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham F,

    Oh and somebody might like to work out the electricity bill for running 24 extra escalators presumably throughout traffic hours.

    Yes certainly. I work on the basis of £50,000 pa pe if LU hours of opening so around £1.2 million per annum.

  95. stimarco says:

    @Graham Feakins:

    It took me a while to spot it on those plans, but there’s the “Western Arcade” (with shops) leading from the big concourse to the old forecourt area as that’s where the bus station and Tube interchange will be. Bit of a walk, come to think of it.

    As the terminating platforms will presumably be close to the forecourt level too, that effectively provides an additional exit for them. If you don’t want to use the stairs, you can probably walk out to the forecourt and back through the “Western Arcade” to get at the new concourse. Not ideal for commuters with dodgy knees wanting to change trains in a hurry, but it’s similar to the philosophy at St. Pancras, where the intention is clearly to ensure lots of passing trade for the shops at the expense of the basic user experience.

  96. Theban says:

    (As others have pointed out, the small lifts are intended for those with mobility issues, heavy shopping, prams, etc. They’re a courtesy feature, not a primary means of access.)

    Rather less than that I think. Just enough to meet the minimum legal requirement for step free access.

    So passengers from Gatwick etc with heavy luggage will end up using the escalators because the lift capacity has been under-specified.

  97. Graham Feakins says:

    @ stimarco – The Western Arcade is at street level, below the bus forecourt (roughly level with the terminating platforms and today’s footbridge over Duke Street Hill to London Bridge itself) but at the same level as the entrance to the Underground. Yes, hopefully direct access to the buses from the terminating platforms will remain but the walk between Underground and the main concourse and high level will be lengthier than accessing those platforms today. The walk between Underground entrance and the new concourse escalators will be about 230 metres or so.

  98. Ian J says:

    Can I suggest that people discussing pedestrian flows take the time to read the following documents?:

    Pedestrian modelling of the existing station Part 1 and Part 2

    (noting the poor pedestrian performance of the existing station currently during disruption, and routinely once passenger numbers rise more than 5%, especially in the pinch-points around the over-bridge stairs that are visible in the photograph Graham F posted)

    Pedestrian modelling report for the new station Part 1 and Part 2

    And, especially for Greg,

    Pedestrian modelling of local streetscape and crossings Part 1 and Part 2

    (with particular attention to Tooley Street)

    @Graham Feakins: appear to be provided with only a single escalator, presumably always running in the up direction

    More likely to be running in the peak direction, as at Kings’ Cross.

    If you are bringing up the electricity bill argument again you really are clutching at straws.

  99. Graham Feakins says:

    ngh says “Platform interchange: The through platform will set up so the interchange isn’t at the Charing Cross/Cannon Street end to discourage crowding at the front of trains.” Others support this view.

    However, the present footbridge replacing the old arrangements was deliberately set farther back from the London end of the through platforms for precisely the same reason (I have the published bits from Southern Region of the time) and that clearly didn’t work, so why does somebody still believe that setting the interchange/exit escalators/stairs on those platforms even closer to the country end think that that will work? All that will happen is that passengers will migrate towards the Charing Cross/Waterloo/Cannon Street of the platforms, just as they do today! If I am wrong, then the problem of unevenly overcrowded portions of the trains will simply be transferred to somewhere in the middle. Of course, they will be able to walk through the new Thameslink trains but they won’t be going to the City and West End!

    16-18tph on Thameslink via London Bridge through the core, most off the Brighton line, may seem brilliant to some but not to those who really want Waterloo/Charing Cross & Cannon Street from London south eastern routes. Again I may be proved wrong but somehow I doubt it and many (more?) will still find themselves having to change at London Bridge.

  100. Alan Griffiths says:

    stimarco @ 8 April 2014 at 00:14

    “Kent doesn’t have that. Even HS1 merely gets you to St. Pancras quicker than Thameslink did, but you can’t take a train up HS1 and end up anywhere other than London. If you live in Gravesend, Rochester or Canterbury, your cross-country options are very, very limited.”

    This looms large among the case for a twin-tunnel connections between HS2 & HS1. Not to mention that it would be ridiculous for continental passengers from Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield to be offered a service that is quicker but less convenient.

  101. Greg Tingey says:

    Err … slight problem: .. and that is to cease advertising trains at that location less than 1 or 2 minutes before their arrival to discourage sprinting up the ramp as much as possible. Err .. like up-thread, where departures round the ex-LBSC lines were not even put on the display board/screens until less that 2 minutes before the damned thing left? Or my similar experience @ Padders, about 4 years back, where a local was displayed, from p/f 14, with less than 2 minutes to departure – the rush up the then-unobstructed p/f 12 was NOT funny, nor was the spat whilst the doors were held open, against staff protests, to allow the halt/lame/luggage/children-encumbered time to catch the train!
    Sorry, but I strongly disagree with this idea.
    You show the train as “there” until the actual, due, departure time, & you give good notice of its position, too.
    Anything else is slack operation &/or deceitful.
    See also LBM’s pertinent comment about “real” Elf’n-safety considerations.

    Very informative!
    Looking again, amybe the escalator/stairs arangemens won’t be as bad as I had feared. However, I’d already heard of, but didn’t realise, until I looked at the diagrams, how bad this … Exit will no longer be possible via the ramps down from the through platforms – this will delay connections to tube was going to be.
    That’s going to mean a St Pancras (Slink) – Victoria Line – like very long trundle to get to/from the tube isn’t it? With huge volumes of people, through the existing barrel-vaults under the station.
    NOT such a good idea.
    Now you’ve gorn & given me something else to worry about.
    Indeed, the outside-the barriers flows are beginning to look more of a potential hazard that those inside the station.

    Graham H
    The limiting factor in both cases is the capacity of the approaches.
    I’d agree re Waterloo, but LBG will have 4 tracks, feeding 6 platforms on the LBSC side. Is this really going to be enough?

    I wonder how many N Kent line passengers, wanting N-central London won’t even reach LBG, but change at Abbey Wood , instead?

  102. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: “If you live in Gravesend, Rochester or Canterbury, your cross-country options are very, very limited.”

    On the contrary, thanks to HS1 they are now just one very easy change away from very frequent and fast services to the East Midlands, Yorkshire, the northeast, and Scotland via Kings Cross and St Pancras. Reading has cross-country services but they are much slower, and you often have to change at Birmingham anyway. When HS2 opens, the best route from Reading to most places will be via Old Oak Common.

  103. Ad says:


    I am not advocating that approach for all locations, but just for particular danger spots:

    E.g in evening peak can you actually get from the bottom of the existing slope up to the rear door of a train off of plat 5 if it is already advertised as “Arrived” when you were at the bottom of the slope.

    Under normal operation I’d say that wasn’t possible not without significant risk to people.

    Whereas if you are on the platform already then of course you can make it so it should be advertised normally there.

  104. SDC says:

    Does anybody know why the terminal platforms are being built as two islands plus two side platforms, rather than three islands?

    The signal box would be in the way of the southernmost track, of course, but three islands would have provided wider platforms.

  105. Gio says:

    Very interesting discussion here, and I just want to ask if there are any plans to restore the evening Charing X services which the Southern ‘metro’ trains used to have until a few years ago? As I live in Brockley, it used to be very handy that my train continued to Charing X and took me all the way from there in the evening, without having to change (and always just miss) trains at LB. I can understand that there was a capacity issue, but I really don’t understand why long-distance Southern routes have the pleasure and advantage while those of us on ‘metro’ routes do not. After the rebuild is completed, there is going to be more capacity as such, so what will be the excuse?

  106. @Gio,

    Judging by the tone of your last sentence I don’t think any answer will satisfy you but for starters:

    – After the rebuild there will be more capacity but that does not necessarily equate to more spare capacity.

    – There is no reason to believe there will be more capacity in Charing Cross. It loses some trains on the Greenwich line but these will probably only be swapped with something else. There is always pressure to run more trains into Charing Cross from the SouthEastern area which is where Charing Cross more logically serves.

    – I really do not understand the comment I really don’t understand why long-distance Southern routes have the pleasure and advantage while those of us on ‘metro’ routes do not. Long distance Southern routes without exception do not go to Charing Cross. On the contrary you have the benefit of trains to both London Bridge and to stations along the East London Line but Long distance Southern routes are not provided with a means of getting to Canary Wharf except by going into London Bridge and catching the horribly overcrowded Jubilee Line from there.

    – The only reason that Caterham and Tattenham Corner trains went to Charing Cross in the first place is because of a historical quirk that took the best part of a century to finally be removed. It was neither the best nor the most logical use of train paths.

    – The move, if done, involves a lot of crossing other train paths on the flat. It will be possible but will not be suitable for daily use.

    (and, for what it is worth, I have a vested interest in seeing these returning but realise that it would not be appropriate as it would pander to a minority group at the expense of many more railway users).

  107. stimarco says:

    @Ian J:

    You missed my point: you can literally get on a train in Brighton and get off in Milton Keynes. You can board a train in Bristol and get off in Newcastle. No interchange necessary.

    Kent has no such convenience, and given that such cross-country services are usually laid on for leisure or business travellers, not just peak-time commuters, then you have to take luggage / prams / children into account too. Not having to worry about rushing across a shopping centre with delusions of grandeur to catch an infrequent connection has a big impact in deciding whether to go by train or by car.

    Given the UK’s policy on rail fares, it’s not as if the car is even the more expensive option either – especially if you’re taking your family.

    Most of the focus on infrastructure projects is, unsurprisingly on commuter flows. I can certainly understand the reasoning, but it’s a mistake to focus on commuters at the expense of every other use case. If you want to make reinstating disused country railways, stations and branches more attractive, you’re not likely to make much of a case based on commuters alone. However, you can improve the case for specific projects by ensuring there’s a reason to build it.

    E.g. if Heathrow Airport were to be replaced, then the current site would be perfect for a major exhibition area to replace the cramped Earls Court site. (The Excel centre is all very well, but it’s not that big and there’s only one of it.)

    Those terminal buildings are ideally suited for conversion to exhibition centres. Relocating London’s Transport Museum to the area might also be worthwhile: you’d have a lot more room for the exhibits – including those in storage at Acton – and there’s even a loop line below the ground that could potentially be repurposed for heritage uses.

    But the same process can be applied to reopening of lines like Lewes-Uckfield: make the route serve viable destinations and it’s easier to justify the project. Merely reopening a line through open countryside to provide a long-winded diversionary route for the Brighton Main Line is a lot less compelling.

    New housing is urgently required across the south-east and in other regions, so that will certainly help, but each new town should also be a destination in its own right, not just some dormitory suburb with a corner shop and an ASDA.

  108. timbeau says:

    “The only reason that Caterham and Tattenham Corner trains went to Charing Cross in the first place is because of a historical quirk that took the best part of a century to finally be removed. It was neither the best nor the most logical use of train paths.”

    As I mentioned on another thread, the historical quirk was that those branches were owned by the South Eastern Railway, taking advantage of its running powers on the Brighton Main Line, which it originally acquired to operate to Dover via Redhill before the Sevenoaks cut-off was built. I was surprised to discover they ran until 2009.
    Until Thameslink, no other regular services off the “Central Division” (Brighton Main Line) travelled beyond London Bridge.

  109. ngh says:

    Re Graham F

    Think of it as a least worst solution rather than there actually being an optimum one…
    SE cannon Street and TSGN will get more opportunities to change to Charing Cross services in the peaks as there will be 10 tph mote that stop at LBG in the future.
    And 16 tph to Blackfriars, City Thameslink and Faringdon. The Southern entrance to Blackfriars might act as a useful alternative to Waterloo East and reduce swapping once the peak Thameslink service starts in 2018. (the density of office block is shooting up so there are many more passengers needing to get there.

    Re Greg

    The approaches to LBG terminating platforms will be 3 track not 4 in the future

    Re SDC
    Side platforms:
    It reduces conflicting flows of passengers as you can’t get 1 set of passengers trying to board a train on platform A while the train on platform B disgorges its passengers (assuming you only announce the outbound service several minutes after the in bound service has arrived as they do at present)

  110. Steven Taylor says:

    `The approaches to LBG terminating platforms will be 3 track not 4 in the future`.
    I was not aware of this. How will there be enough track capacity for Southern Trains in the rush.? I appreciate one line is reversible.
    What am I missing?

  111. Bluesman says:

    @pop, @timbeau,

    I have to concur with @gio – also miss the direct CX services on Forest Hill route. It does seem a bit strange to still be sticking to historic reasons for routing – we are talking LBSC and SE&C if I am not mistaken? Services that come in from further East make it into the West End but none of ours do (inc Overground). Though there were once hints that Thameslink would stop on this line, and at least provide extra connections, it is now looking unlikely that they will. I do wonder how much of a “minority interest” this really is and how many fewer changes at Canada Water/London Bridge would result.

    Understood re capacity issues. Re the routing, doesn’t this just require use of points at New Cross Gate? No actual crossing that I can see but happy to be corrected.

  112. stimarco says:


    It’s not physically possible – or sensible – to provide rail services to CX from the Southern routes as they’d have to use up capacity currently used by services via New Cross and Lewisham.

    Note that even Greenwich will be losing out somewhat as all services from that route are now going to terminate at Cannon Street, and nowhere else.

    However, this segregation should make for much more reliable services, with none of the traditional hanging around outside London Bridge for as much as 15 minutes or so while waiting for a platform. That should reduce journey times too, and interchanging won’t be that hard: you can walk down an escalator too, not just static stairs!

  113. timbeau says:

    “Re the routing, doesn’t this just require use of points at New Cross Gate? No actual crossing that I can see but happy to be corrected.”

    The problem is not the fast-to-slow switch at NXG.
    At present, the London Bridge approaches have, from north to south, four separate sets of tracks (usually a pair, some have more) for:
    Cannon Street to Greenwich/New Cross,
    Charing Cross /Blackfriars to SER fast lines
    terminal platforms 8-12 to Forest Hill line
    terminal platforms 13-16 to South London Line (i.e Peckham and Tulse Hill)
    Any variation from those requires crossing from one set to another on the flat. This includes Charing Cross to Greenwich, and all services from the through platforms to the Forest Hill line (including CX- Caterham, as well as all Thameslink services, and is why in the peak hours TL services are routed via Tulse Hill – to remove these conflicts

    Thameslink 2000-and-counting aims to untangle the Thameslink and SE services, firstly by providing separate tracks for them between Metropolitan Junction and London Bridge, and then using the Bermondsey diveunder to allow them to swap over. It would be possible to run trains to Caterham via the Forest Hill line from Blackfriars without a conflict after the project is complete, but not from Charing Cross – that would still require a flat crossing somewhere.

  114. Theban says:

    @Graham @ 05:44

    At present the exit at London Bridge on the through platforms is the ramps beyond the front of the train (up). So many passengers on the train intending to get off at London Bridge fill the first 3 or 4 coaches.

    In turn that means the best place to get a seat at London Bridge up is at the front of the train replacing the passengers who get off, with the added advantage of being well positioned at Charing Cross or Canon St.

    It’s the ramps which cause the bunching not the site of the stairs. Removing the ramps may help. I am reluctant to give much credit to the new design because I think it is flawed in many ways, but I don’t think the bunching argument is one of them.

  115. Ed says:

    Shame that the link between the tube and rail platforms looks so much longer after building with the closure of the slopes. Many a time I legged it from the tube and made a train with seconds to spare. This was often coming from a gig in north London, in the evening, and so missing a train would mean a 30 minute wait, what with southeastern’s brilliant evening frequencies for SE London metro services.

  116. Theban says:

    I still believe this is a very poor technical scheme, with a high heritage impact and unacceptable levels of disruption. It could so easily have been avoided.

    I suspect tunnelling from the LBG approaches into Canon St, taking those platforms underground, would have been technically better, avoided heritage issues in Borough Market and deliverable with much less disruption. Since Canon St could have been sold off for development (also avoiding the redevelopment costs there), the business case would probably have been stronger too. The new underground Canon St could have been linked underground to Bank.

    We are where we are but I find all the protestations that this is in any way a good scheme very unconvincing.

  117. Malcolm says:

    Indeed we are where we are. But anyway, an under-Thames tunnel, with approaches, and a six-platform new terminus deep under the present Cannon Street sounds eye-wateringly expensive to me, even if there is room for it down there, which I rather doubt. Tunnel-station-building money seems to me better spent building brand new things, rather than replacing any existing above-ground stuff.

  118. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: you missed my point, which is that the CrossCountry network itself is built around connections, usually in Birmingham, which is actually a much less pleasant place to change trains than St Pancras. Intercity services from London will always be more frequent (most major British cities have a half-hourly service to London, better than most similar routes abroad) than direct services from any one provincial city to another beyond London.

    @Theban: Since Canon St could have been sold off for development

    Canon Street has already been redeveloped, twice. It has a big office building on top of it. What exactly would you be selling off?

  119. Ian J says:

    The pragmatic Dutch have come up with a great solution to the problem of changing levels at one railway station. It only works one way though.

  120. Theban says:

    It would have freed up prime City real estate with river frontage as well as significant land on the Southwark side. The City side could have supported a multiple-million development. The Shard’s value a few years ago was estimated at $4b and the land freed on the Southwark side would have been a suitable site for another tower of comparable value.

    Forget any nonsensical accounting differences between National Rail and the City of London – or even Southwark, for London and the nation such a scheme would have given much better value financially as well as being a technically far superior solution.

    Also, between Borough Market and the Blackfriars chord, there would have been room to bring another two tracks up from underground so that Greenwich services for example could have continued to serve both CX and Canon St.

    We are still getting value from Victorian infrastructure because they often built on a visionary scale. Brunel’s Thames tunnel is a prime example. It was visionary compared with a bridge or ferry but despite that it was still bored as twin tracks rather than a single track.

  121. ngh says:

    Re Malcolm

    +1 / agreed etc….
    Our hands were realistically tied 160-170 years ago

    Re Steven Taylor

    4 tracks 9 platforms before = 2.25 platforms / track
    3 tracks (for a relatively short distance circa 0.5mile then 4+ tracks) 6 platforms after = 2 platforms / track
    [The 3 (of 11) are bi-directional till spa road junction then 4 (of 12) till blue anchor jn where the viaducts split, then effectively 6 tracks beyond South Bermondsey]

    i.e. less utilised than before
    (and 16tph redirected on through platforms and 2 other tracks so net 5/6 tracks for southern / TL services)

    Re Bluesman
    They do go to the West end, you need to get a Victoria rather than London Bridge train 😉

  122. Theban says:


    Love it!

  123. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Ian J – Many thanks for the modelling flow links; I shall review them closely, possibly as I was taught to take a devil’s advocate stance.

    For example (but not directly related to the modelling links as I haven’t got there yet), you suggest that the escalators will “More likely to be running in the peak direction, as at Kings’ Cross.” That takes no account that loadings on many incoming services at the terminating platforms at London Bridge have almost even passenger exchange between alighting and boarding passengers, especially during late afternoons and evening peaks. Hence the new passenger pen to present Platform 15, albeit for the temporary narrow platform. That’s going to be no different to ‘nearly as many passengers’ leaving the platforms as arriving at the same time in the future but outbound passengers may need to be held on the concourse below I suggest. Even if that is extreme, no matter what, about half the passengers will be forced to use the stairs during the course of an evening peak. Come mornings, with the King’s Cross method, it means that the single escalators (two serving respectively two adjacent platforms of an island) will be descending whilst outbound passengers will have to climb the stairs to Platforms 11-15. Splendid improvement there, then.

    Going on ORR’s reputation for passenger station usage figures (especially passengers interchanging), then if those modelling flows are based on figures from that source, then God forbid!

    You also say this: “If you are bringing up the electricity bill argument again you really are clutching at straws.”

    I have no straw to clutch as such because my electricity power supplier friends will be grateful for the additional income, estimated since my post by a pal as some £1.5m annual bill for the new escalators. It’s up to others to consider whether such an ongoing cost is significant or not. I wouldn’t call it a straw, though. Others can add environmental concerns. If anyone else has a more accurate likely figure, then please say.

    It’s not as if we have been able to install escalators to any great extent over here which don’t run all the time, or at ‘idling speed’. Just visit City Thameslink to see all the escalators running at a fair rate of knots throughout traffic hours with most times hardly a soul on them.

    Since Network Rail and its suppliers provided a great splurge about how many cups of tea the new Blackfriars station solar roof can provide power for, perhaps somebody ought to ask how that translates into powering any of the constantly-running escalators there, too. Gone are the days when London Transport simply used the adjacent traction power for its escalators, supplied by its own power stations and thus the costs were written into the traction bill.

    ngh emphasises the new possibilities of Thameslink with lots of trains between London Bridge, Blackfriars, Farringdon and so on but that’s of no concern to those who still want Charing Cross, Waterloo and Cannon Street and thus who still need to change at London Bridge off the Thameslink trains and vice versa. It’s going to make little difference to them that their train off the Brighton line happens go on to somewhere else rather than terminating at London Bridge. Also, despite the Jubilee Line below, a significant number of passengers travel between London Bridge (high level) and Waterloo East for access to/from the South Western main line station. Again, Thameslink will be of no relevance to that traffic, either – opening up a central concourse – maybe to those working along the riverside to gain Waterloo East trains and the rest.

  124. Graham Feakins says:

    Addendum – I have just noticed that PoP added his own estimate of escalator power consumption cost: “around £1.2 million per annum”.

  125. Ian J says:

    @Theban: But there is no reason you could not build a new “air rights” development on top of Cannon St station if you wanted. In the end the railway only occupies a couple of stories’ worth of the site. The land the Shard occupies is not worth 4 billion either, even if the building is.

    For a realistic idea of the amount of money real estate development can contribute to offsetting the cost of new tunnelled rail lines, look at Crossrail, which expects to get a total of about £500m for the whole project, which includes some large sites in very desirable West End locations – so about a twentieth of the total budget.

    It also seems odd to criticise the heritage impact of the Thameslink viaducts on Southwark, then propose a giant skyscraper on Clink Street.

    it was still bored as twin tracks rather than a single track

    Just as a pedantic point, it was bored as a double roadway. It was only when the tunnel went bankrupt that it became a railway tunnel. “Visionary” Victorians indeed.

  126. stimarco says:


    Perhaps you’re unaware, but there is already quite a lot of tunnel under the ground between London Bridge, Cannon St. and even between LB, Waterloo and Charing Cross.

    Even if you did find room to build your new station and its approaches, it’d very likely have to be built below the surrounding Tube network level, which is already some 20-40 feet down given that you have to get under the Thames as well.

    Furthermore: if you’re going to all that effort anyway, why build your new station on the same site as the existing station? And why make it a terminus? The only reason Cannon Street is where it is today is because the City had no desire for those nasty, smelly, noisy, newfangled steam locomotives to enter their territory, hence the ‘ring’ of termini around London in the first place. But termini are not very efficient uses of space. You want more passenger flow, so if you’re building a multi-track tunnelled railway below the City already, you might as well make it a through line, like Thameslink. And that takes you into serious Crayonista territory, which is severely frowned upon and punishable by exile*.

    The Thames river is, however, the biggest problem: you need to get below both it and the two pairs of Northern Line (incl. the ex-City & South London Railway) tunnels, among others. That’s a long way down, which will make just accessing an underground Cannon Street station a pain.

    Look at how deep the Jubilee Line platforms are below Westminster station and you can get an idea of how far down the platforms would have to be.

    * (to the wild, savage land known as “District Dave’s forums”.)

  127. Steven Taylor says:

    Thanks for responding re Southern tack capacity into London Bridge.
    It is now making sense to me.

  128. Steven Taylor says:

    `but despite that it was still bored as twin tracks rather than a single track.`

    The Thames tunnel was built using a single shield from the Rotherhithe end; so at risk of being pedantic, it is a single tunnel that was brick lined as two single bores.

  129. stimarco says:

    @Ian J.

    I’ve never been convinced of all the hype around I. K. Brunel myself. I don’t want to take away from his genuine successes, but the man left a long trail of bankrupted financiers in his wake, and quite a few of his allegedly “visionary” ideas turned out not to be such great ideas after all: pneumatic railways, 7-foot broad gauge, the Great Eastern, the Thames Tunnel… and if you think his Dawlish sea wall route has issues, check out his similar project in Ireland, nicknamed Brunel’s Folly for good reason.

    I think the Stephensons are arguably more deserving of the “visionary” epithet, but the same could also be said for the unfortunate Richard Trevithick, who was the right man, in the right place, but at the wrong time.

  130. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: I agree that Isambard Kingdom had his misses as well as his hits (apparently his locomotive designs were terrible), but to be fair to him it was his dad Marc who started the Thames Tunnel, and the tunneling shield that came out of it is an invention that would eventually change the face of London, albeit not until decades later.

    Some kind of memorial to Trevithick in the new Euston station would be appropriate. Robert Stephenson is there already.

  131. Greg Tingey says:

    The approaches to LBG terminating platforms will be 3 track not 4 in the future That’s even madder! [ P.S. I also note the tracks-per-platform argument, so maybe, maybe not …]
    I realise that something has to “give” to allow the ‘slink trains through, but …
    Oh dear, yet more capacity-pinching, a la lost / missed opportunities @ Blackfriars.

    Ian J
    Seriously, there IS another way:
    Antwerp Centraal
    Now THERE is a serious, workable, practical rebuild.
    That could be done for both Cannon ST & Charing X – except that the tunnels would have to start somewhere about Spa Rd Jn, wouldn’t they?
    APart from depth/cost problems, alluded to elsewhere….

    Ina J ( & others)
    Ahem, the Thames Tunnel is not & was not, EVER a “Victorian” structure or piece of engineering, in terms of design or construction commencing. Due to the usual problems of being the very first in the world, I admit that it didn’t fully open until (IIRC) 1847 – 10 years after little Vicky came to the throne, but …
    It’s bill was passed in 1824, with construction commencing the following year.
    Like the railways themselves it was nothing to do with the “Victorian Age”.
    George IV was king in 1824, wasn’t he? And William IV in 1830?

  132. @Greg Tingey,

    Whilst four tracks may be desirable it is notable that the London Bridge approaches to Cannon Street seem to manage perfectly well with three tracks for a long distance. This goes down to two tracks by St Johns (so additionally constrained by station stops) though I have to admit that by then the Greenwich Line has taken some of the pressure off it.

    Three tracks is two tracks in peak direction and one track feeding the trains in/out in the reverse direction. If you don’t have stations in the way and you have decent signalling and all the trains are of similar performance characteristics then timetabling a train every two minutes should be easily possible and still allow some slack for recovering from disruptions.

    The reason you probably need the third track (as opposed to just two) is probably more down to resilience and timekeeping more than crude capacity. Timekeeping is not so critical against the flow especially as some of the trains will be empty coaching stock.

  133. Steven Taylor says:

    @Greg Tingey
    `Ahem, the Thames Tunnel is not & was not, EVER a “Victorian” structure`

    From my experience, you could be on a loser here.

    I had an argument over an article which was commenting on the re-opening of the Brighton Yard entrance at Clapham Junction station , with its lovely Victorian Building – ahem, which was actually completed around 1909!!

  134. Greg Tingey says:

    I suggest then, that you look up Wikipedia on the subject?
    My data was taken from “The East London Line” in the Middleton Press series, but they agree with Wiki ( & vice versa) So I think I’m correct.

  135. @Greg,

    I am not sure but I think what Steven Taylor is saying is that he tried to argue logically on the same basis as you that something was not Victorian. What I think he is saying is that people regard as Victorian what they think of as Victorian – never mind the facts. In the same way I am convinced that people have their own perception of what Zone 1 means which may or may not correlate with the actual Zone 1 as determined by the TfL fare boundaries.

  136. MikeP says:

    @PoP In the same way as people see “0207” and “0208” as separate dialling codes and persist in seeing them as such, whilst producing ever-more bizarre justifications, even when “0203” is presented to them.

    I’ve given up and have decided that with the mobile phone in its own area code, the death of the rotary dial, and calls to any charging group in 01/02/03 costing the same now, people don’t care about dialling an extra 3 digits all the time

  137. Steven Taylor says:

    @ Greg /POP

    Sorry Greg – I was being too succinct!! POP is correct on his summary of what I was saying. I was agreeing with you! But was making a joke, from my experience. If it is `old railway` infrastructure, and it looks old, it must be Victorian. When, over the last 10 or 20 years I point this out, very politely I might add, the general comment, is so what!!.

    Actually the respective building at Clapham Junction looks `too light` to be Victorian, and if you look at the iron girders, they say 1909.

    As an amateur historian, currently writing an article for a railway magazine, I do get peeved at the many errors that crop up in railway articles. And whilst I love the Middleton books for their mix of old OS maps, pictures etc. – I have dozens – they often have errors in the picture narratives, and even contradictions between the text on sequential photos.

  138. timbeau says:

    Even Christian Wolmar can get it wrong – he once observed that as Marylebone was opened in 1899, all London termini were opened in Victoria’s reign – apparently forgetting London Bridge.

  139. Ian J says:

    @Greg T: OK, the Thames Tunnel was a (bad) Regency idea completed (and then given a purpose) by the Victorians.

    Remember though that “Victorian” is also an architectural style as well as a historical period, and used in that sense in the US and other countries (not that the Thames Tunnel, or the old Euston or other early terminuses, were in that style).

  140. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    In which case, King’s Cross is a “Georgian” structure [ Strictly classicist ]
    Whereas St Pancras, with its all-over Gothic is definitely “Victorian”.
    Oh dear.

  141. Steven Taylor says:

    My view is this is surely a case of `apples and pears`,

    As Queen Victoria was on the throne for a long time, building styles gradually evolved over her reign. So a railway building of the 1840s for a given purpose would not look the same as one built in the 1890s, assuming a similar budget. Talking in generalities, I think I know what most people assume a Victorian building should like, whether it was built during her reign or not.

    For example, where I live at Clapham Junction, it is looked upon as a good example go a Victorian town centre, notwithstanding there are odd later buildings co-mingled with the Victorian ones.

    However, my personal view – and I think my view is the view of Greg (but please correct me if I am wrong) – is that when talking about a specific building / structure, one should be precise. Notwithstanding the fact some buildings take several years from finalised drawings to finally being built, if a building is completed 1900, it is a Victorian building. If completed in 1904, it is not.

    At risk of repetition, I do like accuracy when it comes to historical articles. (However, this takes a lot of time. I am writing an article on a small London station, and have visited the National Archives at Kew on 5 occasions; the Metropolitan Archives on 4 occasions. It takes a lot of time to do research, which, being newly retired, I now have time to undertake).

  142. Graham H says:

    @Steven Taylor -I do agree – the term Victorian is not really useful except to describe something completed between June 1837 and January 1901. There are more informative and precise terms from art history such as late classical, gothic revival and so on. One interesting angle is the relatively slow realisation of railway architects that they had to develop a whole new approach to building design – the very earliest (S&D ) stations resembled vernacular pubs. Reading the Survey of London volumes for Woolwich suggests that the idea of covering the space over the tracks with an overall roof, and the technology to do so, actually derives from solutions adopted by the shipbuilding industry in the 1820s and early 1830s to cover individual docks to enable construction to carry on in the winter.

  143. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista) says:

    In the antiques business,

    ‘Victorian’ is refined to be

    Early Victorian, mid-Victorian, late-Victorian and Gothic

  144. Overground Commuter says:


    In the latter end of the CX to Caterham/Tattenham Corner service, only the evening and Sunday service called at Brockley and other stations on the Sydenham slow until 2009.

    This was due an increase of the stopping service from 4tph to 6tph (between NXG and Sydenham) which led to the 2tph Charing Cross to Caterham off-peak daytime service terminating at London Bridge. The advantages of this was a regular 10 min gap in service and trains were more reliable as the Caterham’s weren’t getting stuck behind a TL train on Platform 5 at London Bridge.

    Since the introduction of LOROL services on the ELL, it has made the case for a return of the through Southern services to Charing Cross even less considering the interchange options which weren’t available prior to May 2010.

  145. stimarco says:

    @Ian J:

    One question is whether you look at the date of opening / completion rather than the date it was begun. If the opening date is what matters, the Thames Tunnel is a “Victorian” structure in most of the general public’s eyes. And even that’s a very loose definition of “opening” as the access ramps for the road vehicles it was intended for never got built at all.

    Personally, I agree with Graham H and tend to think in terms of architectural styles, rather than the name of whoever’s rump happened to be sitting on the nation’s throne. But I’m not quite as well versed in the correct names of architectural styles as some. For example, I used to file the style of the Midland Hotel (the front of St. Pancras station) under “The Slartibartfast* School” of architecture. I now know it was derived from the Italian Gothic style.

    * “Lovely, crinkly edges.”

  146. Del Tic says:

    Is the walkway under Colechurch House, and the building itself, to be demolished/refurbished/other? It’s such a dank and gloomy walk from the station on to the bridge via that route

  147. Paying Guest says:

    The issue of completion vs start dates seems very odd to me. Once the building is a few decades old what is apparent to the observer is the style in which it was built. So to me logic would dictate that the date at which the design was firmed up would be the most relevant in ascribing a period to the building.

    Just as well we don’t follow the Greek/Cypriot approach in which many buildings are left unfinished in order to avoid taxation.

  148. Graham H says:

    @castlebar1 – I suspect that the minor decorative arts aka antiques have tended to follow different evolutionary design paths to architecture. There’s no equivalent of “Pont Street Dutch*”, for example, in pottery or furniture. The ghost of classical architecture seems to have stayed with us well into the 1840s and even the 1850s (Euston was firmly in the classical tradition and even Kings X, and there are some – albeit pretty clumsy – classically-inspired 1860s terrace houses round, for example, Warwick Avenue or Brook Drive. Gothick, on the other hand seems to have faded away by c1840 and Gothic revival didn’t get going until somewhat later.

    *A lovely self explanatory Osbert Lancaster term!

  149. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ GH

    Yes, “Maudie Littlehampton vintage shabby chic”

  150. P.E. Dant says:

    I commute to the City via LBG every day but I think it’s been wrongly named. If London Liverpool St and London Victoria then why not “London London Bridge”? (the station so good they named it twice?).

  151. Kit Green says:

    Indeed if any passenger does not know they are in London then they are probably incapable of understanding announcements.
    Perhaps a small case for allowing the likes of London Victoria (due to Manchester) but no excuse for London Marylebone.
    I imagine that the Crossrail stations will not continue this nonsense and, for example, name their stations as London Paddington, London Stratford, London Bond Street etc.

  152. timbeau says:

    There is a waterloo in Merseyside and a Charing Cross in Glasgow. London Liverpool Street helps to distinguish from Liverpool Lime Street.
    And putting “London” in the station name almost certainly will help foreign visitors – is would you expect to see just “Santa Lucia” on the signs when you get to Venice? or “Part Dieu” for Lyon?

  153. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for a really interesting article and comments. As a south eastern commuter I’m pretty disappointed that the ramp exits are going. I can totally appreciate that you can’t make an omelette wwithout breaking some eggs, and the station will (hopefully) be better off overall and that closing them may well have been necessary for construction, but could someone with a bit of knowledge explain why they couldn’t be incorporated into the new design (reinstated after the development if necessary)?

    Just feels like a wasted opportunity for better circulation of passengers. Looking at the plans it looks like the undercroft space will still be used for fire escapes, and even link to both the London bridge city footbridge (the one with escalators down to tooley st) and the escalator box to joiner street that was built for the jubilee line (and would give quicker access to the tube from the through platforms). Yes the colechurch house footbridge (the one from London bridge itself) is absent but if that is because the building is being replaced surely a bridge could be specified as part of planning permission seeing as its very well used in the peak and keeps pedestrians off of tooley st.

    I aslo can’t see why the link from the ramp passageway to the station forecourt in front of the terminating platforms, which disappeared when the station redevelopment started couldn’t be accommodated post reconstruction

    Am I missing something?

  154. Greg Tingey says:

    I have now been able to open a “FLICKR” account, as “Yahoo” will now accept more than one user from a single e-mail address.
    My first set is a collection of pictures of the old LBSCR London-Bridge station, just before demolition commenced.
    However, they are just “sitting” in my new account.
    How do I open an “LR – members” account & how do I transfer my pictures across? Because it about as clear as mud, at present.
    Please reply, off-line or on-line as suits you.
    My e-mail address is, & suitably altered to beat the spammers …
    [ fledermaus ] AT [ dsl ] DOT [ pipex ] DOT [ com ]

  155. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – you should have an E Mail re above request.

  156. timbeau says:

    GTravelling from CX to Waterloo east earlier this week got me wondering how people will actually cope over the extended period when it will be impossible to change between CX and CS trains at London Bridge (or to and from the terminal platforms) because one or other of them won’t be calling. I guess for some a change at Lewisham will be possible, but that is no use for Greenwich line users (unless a detour by DLR between Greenwich and Lewisham is acceptable) , or those from New Cross and St Johns, or main line trains that run fast between London Bridge and Sevenoaks or beyond.

    Neither CX nor CS have a direct tube service to London Bridge, althougth Waterloo East does. You can of course use the District Line to get between CX to CS but it’s a bit of a dogleg if you wanted Cannon Street and you’re on a Charing Cross train that doesn’t call at London Bridge – either use the Drain from Waterloo East or the District from Charing Cross (or of course vice versa if you’re at Cannon Street and your train goes from CX).
    Just a thought, but since Thameslink trains won’t be passing through the area for the duration, a shuttle between Cannon Street and Charing Cross would not be impossible, allowing interchange at Cannon Street for passengers to/from Charing Cross when CX trains non-stop London Bridge, and at Waterloo East for passengers to/ from Cannon Street when CS trains miss it out. The route between CS and Metropitan Junction is not used by any other services, and given the approaches to CX are limited by the double track section through Borough Market Junction there should be capacity on the four track section from there to CX. The biggest constraint is almost certainly going to be platform space at CX.

  157. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I suspect an even bigger constraint will be that Network Rail will be working in that area and so there won’t be any tracks.

  158. Pedantic of Purley says:

    or those from New Cross and St Johns,

    I really cannot see that this is an overwhelming problem. One or two stops to Lewisham and then you can get direct to your intended destination.

    In the case of St Johns it wouldn’t surprise me if it is what people do now. My basic rule at St Johns when going west is to catch the first train regardless of direction or destination.

  159. stimarco says:


    People tend to be going to Cannon Street for a reason. If their destination is in Cannon Street itself, then they may find it’s not that much further to walk from Bank station. (LB -> Northern Line.)

    For someone travelling from west of Charlton via Deptford, the issue is how to get to CX, but Cannon Street is on the Circle and District lines and both serve Embankment (for Charing Cross). Alternatively, if your service calls at London Bridge, just take that to Westminster, which is pretty close to Charing Cross.

    And, of course, there’s always the bus.

  160. Greg Tingey says:

    Thanks to WW’s assistance, the set of pictures I took over a few months, just before the demolition started, are now visible on flickr
    I hope you like them.

  161. MikeP says:

    At the height of the rush, the timing is more reliable to walk across London Bridge rather than wait for 2 or 3 Northern Line trains. Well, that’s been my experience on an admittedly pretty small sample (generally in the wet).

    The floods of walkers from the Southern side across the bridge suggest this is the case even for taking SouthEastern across to CST, which would be free-of-charge.

  162. Steven Taylor says:

    @Greg Tingey

    Thanks for posting your LB pictures. Appreciated.

  163. Steven Taylor says:

    “And putting “London” in the station name almost certainly will help foreign visitors“.

    You raise an interesting point. Whilst not in timetables or at the actual station, at Clapham Junction they announce the LOROL train to Stratford as `Stratford London`, as tourists have got confused., some expecting to be going to the `Avon` one.

  164. Graham Feakins says:

    @ timbeau – the coming problem at London Bridge you highlight is also exercising minds at Southern as their passengers won’t be able to change for Charing Cross and Waterloo East/Cannon Street, which for many will require loading more onto the Jubilee (with a change for Charing Cross area) and the Northern, respectively.

    Presumably, for those Southeastern passengers actually working in the London Bridge area will mean taking their train on to Waterloo East and then the Jubilee Line back on the one hand or Cannon Street and walking back over the river or the Northern Line/bus.

    Yes, that was a good idea of yours to run Cannon Street – Waterloo East – Charing Cross shuttles, as has been done often in the past and indeed a couple of months ago. However, I suspect that PoP is right – the tracks might not be there! In the olden days, such trackwork around Metropolitan Junction might have taken just a short possession but there you go.

  165. timbeau says:

    So I’m at Cannon Street, and want to catch a fast Charing Cross to Tonbridge service during the period when no Charing Cross services call at London Bridge. What good will walking across the bridge do me? I will either have to double back to Waterloo East or Charing Cross

    what work will NR be doing between Cannon Street and Met junction? the shuttle would not go through London Bridge.

  166. DVD says:

    Unless they are particularly thick, most people are surely able to distinguish between Waterloo in Merseyside and Waterloo in London, as they can distinguish between Charing Cross in Glasgow and Charing Cross in London. London Liverpool Street may help to distinguish from it from Liverpool Lime Street (and I remember being asked by a bemused tourist on the Circle line at Kings X whether it would take him to Liverpool). But I doubt that putting “London” in the station name helps foreign visitors very much. Most foreign visitors in London surely know they are in London.

  167. Ollyver says:

    Most foreign visitors in London surely know they are in London.

    Yes, but do foreign visitors booking train tickets know which Victoria is which?

    That problem may better solved by, as with LOROL, different descriptions in different places – London Victoria and Manchester Victoria on the website & booking office & timetables, and just “Victoria” on the announcements.

    However, when I was a new Londoner, visiting places in the wider South-East or even just in Zone 3, I was quite relieved to have trains announce they were going to “London Victoria” or “London Waterloo”. I didn’t have the major stations memorised at that point – why would I? – and it was nice not to have to worry. I could get on a train safe in the knowledge that I would end up in Zone 1 and navigate the tube map from there. If nothing else, I knew it was heading in the right direction! I expect hundreds or thousands of tourists do likewise every day.
    Also, bear in mind that many train tickets are priced differently for ‘London terminals’ and ‘London, not terminals’. Having all the terminals named “London X” tells you whether you can use your ticket.

    For those reasons, a more descriptive naming system might be “Victoria, a central London terminus”, but let’s be honest – the current system is shorter, more poetic, and easier to understand!

  168. Pedantic of Purley says:


    what work will NR be doing between Cannon Street and Met junction? the shuttle would not go through London Bridge.

    They will be rebuilding Metropolitan Junction so that it is double track once more (the true Metropolitan Junction leading to Blackfriars and beyond to the Metropolitan Railway). There will need to be a lot of work moving cabinets etc that are currently in the way and a lot of replacement pointwork in the general area. If nothing else, it wouldn’t surprise me if they a looking at using the west curve at Borough Market Junction as a work site whilst they do this.

    I understand that work in this area is one of the reasons why Thameslink is diverted away from London Bridge at all times for around three years. Consequently this is why, prior to the latest phase of the Thameslink work, Network Rail went to such trouble to try to eliminate any obvious risk of having to close the route from Blackfriars to East Croydon via Tulse Hill – the alternative route of going through London Bridge if engineering work necessitated it just would not be available (even at weekends).

    Looking at your original suggestion another way, if that route was available I am sure they would rather use it to get some of the Cannon Street empties out of the way so that they could run a full complement of trains into Cannon Street in the morning.

    Could I emphasise I may well be wrong on a lot of this as it is very hard to find out exactly what will be happening at London Bridge. One is doing extremely well if one knows what is going on up to the end of August and apparently even that hasn’t been finalised yet. Also the closure of the low level platforms at London Bridge after the peak period on Friday 28th March was a relatively late decision in the planning process.

  169. Windsorian says:

    “…but do foreign visitors booking train tickets know which Victoria is which?

    Years ago I was in Tywyn (mid Wales) when asked for a hotel in Towyn (North Wales).

  170. timbeau says:

    “Unless they are particularly thick, most people are surely able to distinguish between Waterloo in Merseyside and Waterloo in London, as they can distinguish between Charing Cross in Glasgow and Charing Cross in London”.
    Careless use of the NR journey planner can produce some odd results though, as it defaults to Waterloo (Merseyside) instead of the rather larger and busier London Waterloo (WAT).

    “I remember being asked by a bemused tourist on the Circle line at Kings X whether it would take him to Liverpool”
    he could well have meant Liverpool Street anyway. Americans in particular are prone to omit the second word from street names – they seem not to understand that in Britain we name roads for where they lead to, rather than where they are (or even more confusingly, the name of the titled owner of the land).
    I recall one American visitor discussing with another the high price of a ticket for going just four stops on the Circle Line from Kings Cross. He had of course asked at the ticket office for, and been sold a ticket to, “Edgware”.

  171. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes, well, it used to be possible to stand at a near-London (Less than 38 miles) terminus & see trains labelled, on their front indicator blinds.displays …
    (1) London Livp St
    (2) Liverpool Lime St.

    Which reminds me:
    Ollyver …
    Try THIS ??

  172. Julia says:

    @DVD The change to “London Liverpool Street” certainly helped at Cambridge in the days of one long through platform, where there were regularly departures to Liverpool Street from one end and Liverpool Lime Street at the other… sometimes simultaneous!

  173. Julia says:

    I remember being accosted by a tourist in the tube ticket hall at KGX, wanting to know where the “train to Leicester” went from. He seemed rather puzzled that there should be two drastically different options, and unsure which he should pick – so I pointed him to the Piccadilly line to minimise the damage of guessing wrong 🙂

  174. Long Branch Mike 1 says:

    “Unless they are particularly thick, most people are surely able to distinguish between Waterloo in Merseyside and Waterloo in London, as they can distinguish between Charing Cross in Glasgow and Charing Cross in London”.

    That’s quite the unenlightened statement DVD.

    Millions of tourists visit the UK every year, mostly via London, and many of whom are not familiar with UK geography at all. Plus the millions for whom English is not their native tongue. The addition of one word ‘London’ makes their comprehension and travel much easier.

  175. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ DVD – just to add to the chorus of comments I would add that many Londoners are pretty clueless about the city in which they live and work. One memorable TV clip, after a mass power cut on the tube years ago, had a woman being interviewed at Victoria saying it had taken her *hours* to get from Charing Cross Road to Victoria by bus and how dreadful it was. You can walk it in 30 minutes and probably crawl on your hands and knees and take less time than *hours*. At least she didn’t use that overworked phrase of being “devastated” but I had no sympathy in that case. I am therefore entirely sure that if Londoners can be clueless about their city then visitors certainly can be. I encountered some American tourists on Sloane St last Spring. They had a map and were trying to orientate themselves and failing miserably. I helped them out and set them on their way but it took a lot of convincing that turning their map through 90 degrees was the right thing to do!

    There are plenty of bits of the Central area tucked in behind the main roads that I’m not overly familiar with. A few months back I walked down some of the side roads south of the Marylebone Rd near Edgware Rd station – that was quite a revelation as I’ve not been down there before. Similarly I only recently reached Debden on the bus and saw how big the housing estates were. Only taken me 20 years to do that! At Christmas time I realised for the first time that was quite a Scandanavian enclave at Rotherhithe when I visited the Christmas Market. Now I may be spectacularly uninformed but there are always surprises, unknowns and complications in a city as large as London that can catch anyone out. I still get spectacularly lost in Kingston on Thames whenever I go there and I think I’ve got a good memory and sense of direction. The road system changes every time I go! Doesn’t beat Tokyo though – that was almost unfathomable the first time I visited. There’s no consistency in mapping nor how addresses are written – bewildering even for some Japanese. I was much better prepared on my second visit but was still holding my map the wrong way at some points.

  176. timbeau says:

    As I work near St Pauls station I often find bewildered tourists unable to find the cathedral which, from the station, is effectively hidden down an unpromising looking alleyway. Barts Hospital and the Old Bailey are also surprisingly difficuklt to find from the station if you don’t know which way you are facing.

  177. Graham H says:

    @WW – Those enclaves and off-the beaten track bits of London are what makes the city so interesting: the Italian enclave where the Clerkenwell Road goes down to meet Farringdon Street, for instance (even has an Italian driving school!), or the interesting small shops north of Wigmore Street or round the back of the BM, although curiosities such as the Greek bookshop in Denmark Street seem to be vanishing too fast.

    Tourists do try one’s patience tho’ – rushing to catch a Met train at LST, I found the train doors barred by an American who demanded to know the best way to Greenwich. I fear he got a less than usually courteous reply. {I was in York the other day walking along Lendal when I was stopped by a car load of Ozzies who wanted to know the quickest way to drive to the Cathedral – I think they thought I was taking the piss when I said they couldn’t do that but on foot it was only 3 minutes.]

  178. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H – yes those little enclaves are great fun. I found others walking the Olympic Mascot trails back in 2012 and my slow progress of riding every London bus route has uncovered other places of interest like the cluster of Iranian / Persian shops and restaurants in West Ealing and the splendid Picc Line brick viaduct north of Arnos Grove which the 184 bus goes under. The loss of the “book district” around Charing Cross Road is very disappointing as is the removal of genuine independent businesses in Covent Garden. That’s the property market for you!

  179. stimarco says:


    If you need to get from Cannon Street to Charing Cross, you can take a District or Circle service to Embankment. (If you have a problem walking 100 metres or so up the hill to the mainline station, just change onto the Northern Line.)

    Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, it’s not ideal. That’s why they’re doing all the work in the first place! What do people expect?

    There’s a price to be paid for the generations of short-termism and early planning mistakes. This is that price: the cost of having to fix the mistakes and make things right. The area around Borough Market and the junctions is very constrained, even if you include the old Ewer Street goods yard site. There’s only so much you can do to reduce disruption without requiring major rewrites of the laws of physics.

  180. Fandroid says:

    Be grateful that only the terminals get the ‘London’ prefix, in some German cities, every station within the city boundary gets the appropriate prefix. In Cologne there is Köln-Müngersdorf/Technologiepark, Köln-Frankfurter Strasse, Köln-Volkhovener Weg etc etc (for 27 stations in total!). It might seem barmy, but there is some logic in that stations within the city limits are in the city fare zone(s), and the normal interchangeable tickets are valid on all city provided services (trams, U-Bahn, buses) plus the Deutche Bahn local trains between stations with the prefix.

    I wonder if locals in Germany get asked the same baffling questions. For instance, Potsdamer Platz in Berlin or Potsdam (both on the same S-Bahn system), or Oranienburger Tor, Oranienburger Strasse and Oranienburg (two of those on the same line!).

  181. @stimarco,

    To be über-pedantic, Ewer Street was the loco depot, Southwark Parcel Depot was next door and there was no goods yard as such. See the description on the Kentrail site.

  182. Kit Green says:

    Do not forget the potential confusion of the two London Roads.

    There is the story (well it may be apocryphal) of the American businessman turning up in Southampton and wanting a cab to his meeting in Northampton.

  183. DVD says:

    If we must identify the major termini as being in London rather than another city, how about ‘Victoria (London)’, ‘Charing Cross (London)’ etc. There’s something about London Victoria which just sounds a bit silly to me. Or just use the London prefix only where there is a ‘duplicate’ name. Or re-name the ‘duplicate’ stations outside London ?

  184. Ollyver says:

    I too consider it a bit odd sounding, but I think the usefulness far outweighs the silliness. As mentioned, I think a major use of the names is identifying termini, not duplicate stations.

    Assuming you want consistent station names along the line, do you really want someone in Crewe or Glasgow to have to know they want to go to “Euston”, rather than “London Something”?

    Now, whether Victoria (London) would make more sense than London Victoria – perhaps written down, if you are willing to use up a couple more characters of your signage or scrolling display.

    But try saying it: “I need a ticket for Victoria London please”. You wouldn’t – you’d either say London, or Victoria, but both together is wrong. English adjectives come before the noun: you want Victoria. Which kind of Victoria? London Victoria.

    That’s a problem with having these debates written down, of course – what makes more sense visually does not necessarily make more sense aurally.

    (Sidenote: If you listen to how you say it, I expect you put main stress on -tor-, and a little stress on -Lon-: London VicTORia. This, for reasons we shan’t examine on a transport blog, is a natural way of saying it in English, matching the meaning correctly. You’d need to put a long pause in “Victoria London” to get your meaning across – the kind you put in whilst reciting your address on the telephone. Not the kind of thing you want to deliberately introduce to normal conversation – including between ticket office staff and their customers.)

  185. Graham H says:

    I agree with Ollyver – Victoria London isn’t what we say – have said for 150 years. I really don’t see the problem – travelling from north of the Thames on any intercity route, one would ask for London, south of the river one might specify the terminus. Same, even in Germany, one would ask for Koeln, not Koeln Hbf, unless one wanted one of the suburban stations, in which case one would ask for Koeln-Deutz or whatever. Yes, of course, there is more than one Victoria but apart from the Ben Trovato stories, few would be confused. Far more of a problem would be homophones such as Leigh/Lee or stations such as Milford (Surrey)/Milford-on-sea which are distinguished on the station name board (sometimes) but not by the locals.

  186. timbeau says:

    There are also the two Gillinghams and the two Ashfords (the booking office at Waterloo must be well used to that problem, as it serves Waterloo East as well as the main station). There are other duplicates as well – St Margarets, Hope, Queen Street. At least Clapham (London) has now been renamed Clapham High Street, mainly to avoid confusion with the Junction (which is actually in Battersea) but also with its namesake in the Yorkshire Dales

    I once heard a traffic news announcement refer to the cancellation of a service “from Southend to Victoria”

    “Or re-name the ‘duplicate’ stations outside London ”
    I think Manchester’s version has seniority, by about sixteen years.

    Those perfidious foreigners often name their stations after people rather than where they are (three in a row on Paris’s Line 1 for example, de Gaulle, George V, and FD Roosevelt) – we rarely do it: except for Victoria.

  187. MikeP says:

    Neither rail nor London related, but it seems to be annual event thaT coachload of people going to an event at Leeds Castle are taken to the City of Leeds.

  188. stimarco says:

    @PoP: Yes, you’re right. I never could remember the name of that bit.

    I’m surprised the cobbled access ramp to the site is still in situ. You’d think it would have been sold off long ago for redevelopment.


    There are also two towns called “Hayes” within the M25. The Hayes branch doesn’t go anywhere near Harlington.

    Come to think of it, there are also two towns called “Heybridge” in Essex: one next to Ingatestone, the other on the coast, next to Maldon, so the usual trick of adding the county name in parentheses doesn’t work there. So it’s probably a good thing that only the one near Maldon ever had its own railway station.

  189. Graham Feakins says:

    @ PoP – “They will be rebuilding Metropolitan Junction so that it is double track once more (the true Metropolitan Junction leading to Blackfriars and beyond to the Metropolitan Railway).”

    Yes, indeed. There are still many who wonder at the short-sightedness of single tracking the leads in the first place between Blackfriars and the Cannon Street/Charing Cross connection at Met. Junction, resulting ever since in Thameslink trains using a stretch of single track right where double track is needed. To retain/reinstate the double track junction there would have increased Thameslink throughput to a convenient operating level without jeopardising Charing Cross services because Thameslink trains crossing one another would not be held awaiting one another. Even I couldn’t believe it when I saw the former layout being taken out – and that was before Thameslink commenced.

    Bit late now and it certainly wouldn’t have permitted the future 16-18tph throughput but what stupidity to single track it in the first place. I don’t blame those who stuck cabinets etc. on the site because it wasn’t their job mate to consider blocking a route, or was it?

  190. Greg Tingey says:

    Because that was then & reducing rail capacity was what the guvmint wanted (Unless really bullied)
    That reduction in capacity was the first job my signalling-engineer friend worked on.
    He knew, perfectly well, that it was totally bloody daft, even then, so did everyone, but that was “orders” …..

  191. @Greg,

    Slight exaggeration. Reduce rail costs even if it meant reducing capacity would be more accurate. Usually these things only happen because the track, points or signals were due for renewal anyway. If they weren’t then they survived – which is why the Bromley North branch is, incredibly, still double track.

  192. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista) says:

    Oh Greg, so very true!

    I remember when “they” dictated that the Marylebone line S.E. of Aynho was to be single tracked. We all knew that this would bu99er reliability even more and would thus drive more of the remaining few “customers” away.

    Marylebone Line/Closure by stealth??
    What an idea!!

  193. Graham H says:

    @castlebar – I suspect all these Romminster/ Grealing merchants are hoping for the personal glory of discovering a latterday Bakerloo combo. (Most of the efforts so far sound like something out of the Archers, however…)

  194. timbeau says:

    @Grham F
    “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the former layout being taken out – and that was before Thameslink commenced.”
    Surely that was the point – until Thameslink there was hardly any traffic over that spur – a few ecs movements between Cannon Street and a stabling point south of Blackfriars Bridge, which were highly tidal so a single track was adequate, and a “parliamentary” service at dead of night that started at Blackfriars and went to the North Kent line via London Bridge (instead of Nunhead)
    Given the high numbers of trains running in and out of Charing Cross, reliability was, and is, a priority – simplifying Met. Junction reduced the amount of pointwork and thus the number of potential points of failure.
    I can’t recall exactly when the layout was simplified, nor when Thameslink first became a serious project, but I’m fairly sure they came in that order.

  195. stimarco says:

    @Castlebar, Graham H., et al:

    “Romminster & Grealing” sound like a firm of solicitors in a Charles Dickens novel.

    We already have the “London, Tilbury & Southend Railway” which actually terminates at Southminster, so the fact that a line’s name doesn’t actually include both termini is clearly not a problem.

    I therefore agree with naming these lines after unambiguous station names on the lines themselves: “Castlebar Branch” and “Emerson Park Branch”.

    (Even the Bakerloo line terminates at neither Baker Street nor Waterloo today, yet nobody is demanding it be renamed “Elephant & Wealdstone” or even “Harrowcastle”. A future extension onto the Hayes branch may bring about a rename as “Bakerloo” would represent such a tiny fraction of the entire route, but “Hayes & Harrow” sounds a bit too similar to the GWML’s own “Hayes & Harlington” to me. “Wealdhayes”, perhaps?)

  196. Slugabed says:

    I seem to recall that BR had a policy of replacing double-lead junctions with single-lead junction and crossover where one direction as used considerably more than the other,in order to cut down on diamond crossings which needed much more (more costly) maintenance.Pouparts-jct. in the Clapham Junction area was another example.
    That said,Metropolitan-jct. seems to have retained a single-lead layout for longer than one would have expected,once Thameslink began to make the “minor” path much busier.

  197. Malcolm says:

    @stimarco not Southminster but Shoeburyness.

    (I was nearly run over by a train near Southminster as a teenager. My fault entirely, as I had misread the timetable, and was also, as I said, a teenager at the time, and teenagers have really daft ideas like eating lunch on a level crossing when they believe no train is due).

  198. timbeau says:


    There are many railways with names that are no longer appropriate, or have outgrown them. The H&C does not terminate in the City. The Northern Line goes a long way south. Neither the Picadilly nor the Victoria Line terminate at those stations (although the Vic did for a while, and one of the three projects which eventually became the Picc was the Picadilly & Brompton railway).
    Further afield, South West Trains only dips a toe into the South West of England, whilst the East Coast and West Coast Main lines only briefly touch the coast at all – the ECML not until well into Northumberland, and the WCML only briefly, at Hest Bank.

  199. Steven Taylor says:

    Re Bakerloo line. When it initially opened, it ran between Baker Street and Kennington Road (now Lambeth North). Waterloo never served as a temporary terminus for the line.

    But I always found it amusing when the March 7th 1906 Evening News called first called it the BAKER-LOO.

  200. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Slugabed – Thanks for clarifying what I ought to have stated – my surprise that the double track was not reinstated when Thameslink started.

  201. timbeau says:

    @ Graham F
    possibly in the “too difficult – might scupper the whole project” category, given the whole thing was being done on the cheap. Also, to begin with, I think very few TL services went that way – most went via the Elephant, to various destinations – Sevenoaks, Wimbledon, Guildford.

  202. Anonymous says:

    I live near London Bridge and the vibration of the extremely heavy machinery used is having a terrible impact in several orders of my life such as work and relationships. Simply because I haven’t been able to sleep for days and even if I manage to sleep for 5 or 10 minutes sudden violent movements shake my bed and wake me up.
    I am in my forties and I have been in 3 huge earthquakes in South America with their many aftershocks and with authority I can say that I have never experienced anything of this sheer magnitude. I live one mile from London Bridge. How long is this going to go on? D.V.

  203. Ian J says:

    @MikeP: The floods of walkers from the Southern side across the bridge

    An interesting point made in the pedestrian modelling in the planning application, which hadn’t occurred to me before, was that the increase in proportion of through vs terminating services has a knock-on effect on the proportion of passengers leaving the station on foot – passengers from the terminating platforms heading for the City tend to walk across London Bridge because, as you say, this can be quicker than getting a train or tube for the short distance. After the rebuild, some services that used to terminate will run through to Thameslink, and many of their passengers will walk from Blackfriars or City Thameslink instead.

    @timbeau: what work will NR be doing between Cannon Street and Met junction

    Just to add to what PoP said about the doubling of Metropolitan Junction, the tracks from Charing Cross all need to be slewed over so that they join up with the new Borough Market viaduct, which is to the south of the current lines – then the current Charing Cross lines become the Thameslink lines.

    @Graham H: an Italian driving school

    I do hope that’s a school that teaches driving in Italian, not a school that teaches Italian driving…

    @timbeau: For many years there were no Thameslink services via London Bridge at all in the peak (and even when they introduced some, there have never been many), so the problem didn’t arise. Of course it soon became clear that a proper peak service via London Bridge would be desirable, but would require more capacity between London Bridge and Met Junction – hence Thameslink 2000, hence the London Bridge rebuild, hence we’re back where the thread started.

  204. Graham H says:

    @Ian J – that was my hope, too; the Italian grocers next door is much more useful!

  205. Greg Tingey says:

    We already have the “London, Tilbury & Southend Railway” which actually terminates at Southminster, so the fact that a line’s name doesn’t actually include both termini is clearly not a problem.
    Southminster was a GER line, then LNER & a branch off the Southend line of the LNER.
    The LTSR – taken over by the Midland in a coup d’etat never went anywhere near Southminster.
    NOT to be confused with UP-minster, of course!

  206. timbeau says:

    I think we have already established that he meant Shoeburyness

  207. stimarco says:

    @timbeau, Greg Tingey:

    Yes, I meant Shoeburyness. Sorry.

  208. Greg Tingey says:

    Ah, so did you mean the old MoD railway, running E & N from Shoeburyness. then?

  209. Graham Feakins says:

    @ timbeau 13 April, 20:50 – Just for info. I have been advised that Thameslink commenced services with 2tph Bedford – Gatwick Airport or Brighton via London Bridge. From Luton there were a further 4tph via Elephant & Castle with 2tph Sevenoaks alternately via the Catford Loop and Swanley or via Penge East and Orpington. The other two services ran to Guildford via West Croydon. In addition there were also peak hour workings to Sutton via Streatham and Wimbledon.

    No northbound Thameslink services ran via London Bridge during the morning peak, or southbound during the evening peak.

  210. answer=42 says:

    @Steven Taylor
    ‘Stratford London’ as a name to distinguish the station from ‘Stratford International’ or ‘Stratford upon Avon’ is rather prosaic. In Lille there are ‘Lille Europe’ and ‘Lille Flandres’ – much better. So how about ‘Stratford Anglia’ – you could even use the Harry Potter flying car as the station symbol.

  211. Mike says:

    Answer=42, Stephen Taylor etc – “Stratford East” has been good enough for the Theatre Royal for many, many years.

  212. answer=42 says:

    Yes, I’d thought of that but couldn’t resist the popular option.

  213. stimarco says:

    If we’re going for a thespian link, why not name it after the actor, Stratford Johns?

    After all, naming stations after people isn’t new. St. Pancras is clearly named for some poor martyr whose parents couldn’t spell “pancreas”. (Or so my computer’s autocorrect feature would have me believe.)

    One other possibility is to use our literary heritage: name lines and routes for specific novels and rename each station along each line accordingly. The Central Line could be renamed the “Dickens Line”, with stations like “Twist”, “Chuzzlewit”, “Monument & Scrooge”, etc.

    Yes, I know, “The Great Bear”, etc. But why let artists have all the fun?

    After all, if the lines on the maps don’t have to be geographically accurate, why stop there?

    “Scusate, please! How I get to ‘Tower of London’?”

    “Easy, take the Dickens line to Nickleby, then change onto the Rowling line and take the next train to Dumbledore.”

  214. CdBrux says:

    “…. then change onto the Rowling line and take the next train to Dumbledore.”

    There is almost always a long queue for this line at KX on the few occasions I pass by!

  215. stimarco says:


    Oh, good point: we wouldn’t want to confuse the tourists.

    In that case, I’d go for the “Wells Line”, with Tower Hill renamed “Morlock”.

  216. Chris says:

    @Anon I live near London Bridge and the vibration of the extremely heavy machinery used is having a terrible impact in several orders of my life such as work and relationships.

    I’m afraid the station rebuild won’t be completed until 2018, though it’s hard to say how long the heavy machinery affecting you will be used or even if it’s directly connected to the work at the station.

  217. George says:

    Thanks Greg for the wonderful pics of the old LB canopy. I believe there was a plan to save it a la Oxford Rewley road for rebuilding elsewhere, but during dismantling they found it to be too rusted, so scrapped it. Anyone able to confirm?

  218. Southern Heights says:

    @ Graham H:
    Homophones: Leigh/Lee

    If you meant Leigh in Kent (near Tonbridge), it is pronounced “Lie” as the name appears to derive from the Fleur de Lys, which is evident all over the town and on the gatehouses of the grounds of the local manor…

    I used to always pronounce it “Lee” until I heard the departure announcement at London Bridge for the train. A Sunday roast at a local pub confirmed it… Of course this makes it even worse for any Americans wanting to travel to Leigh as they need to ask for something complete different!


  219. Southern Heights says:

    @ George: I thought it was going to Aberystwyth to the Vale of Rheidol for a museum there?

    See article here: on BBC News. That was written after it was removed I believe…

  220. Anonymous says:

    @Answer=42 et al
    How about Stratford-atte-Bow?

    If you want some good substitute line and station names, refer to the Blunderground Map of London.

  221. timbeau says:

    “If you meant Leigh in Kent (near Tonbridge), it is pronounced “Lie”

    There is also Lye, in Shropshire, and its near-homophones Rye and Wye

    Leigh in Lancashire is, I believe, pronounced to rhyme with Lee.

  222. Greg Tingey says:

    Never mind
    “Jill-ingham” & “Gill-ingham” (as pronounced)

  223. Chris L says:

    “Jill-ingham” & “Gill-ingham” (as pronounced)

    this happens sometimes in the train announcements at Charing Cross – makes a very fast journey from Kent to Dorset.

  224. Graham Feakins says:

    For those interested in the minutiae of ongoing construction work at London Bridge during May and June, this site has good detail:

  225. Graham H says:

    @timbeau/southern heights – thank you for the info about Leigh (Kent)!

  226. Slugabed says:

    Graham H,Timbeau,Southern Heights
    Leigh (Kent) was once (and in some contexts,it seems,still is) spelled Lyghe…

  227. DaveC says:

    “For those interested in the minutiae of ongoing construction work at London Bridge during May and June, this site has good detail:

    … They update that about once a month. Readers may also be interest in the TLProgramme Twitter feed which has been posting a few construction pictures of late (sadly at fairly low resolution) of both LBG and the Bermondsey Dive Under. They promised to update the former “fairly regularly.” And of course there’s the ever reliable Dave “Unravelled” Harvey and other London Reconnections contributors on Flickr who post up pics regularly. Kudos to all.

  228. RayK says:

    Is there any chance of getting views of what they are doing at the West end of the station to connect the Borough Viaduct?

    From the PB Transport assessment – Appendix 7 – Train Operations During Construction.
    Phase 1 (2012 – 2015) – Staion Approach
    During the initial phase of construction a key work item is extending the Borough Viaduct along its final alignment into London Bridge Station so as to be in place to support the reconfiguration of the high level station from 6 to 9 platforms.

    This must be quite well on by now. Google Earth shows the area cleared to ground level in July 2013. Network Rail has written to the community and given the following information. (From the Team London Bridge link that DaveC posted above)

    May Works
    – During May the hoarding line in Station Approach area will be extended further west necessitating the removal and relocation of the TFL bus information kiosk and the train passenger information
    – Reinforced concrete works will continue for the concourse slab in the Station Approach area along with works to construct reinforced concrete columns and walls.
    – Work will continue to construct the track slab in the Station Approach area. These works will be 24/7.
    – Works will begin to install the new gate line in the Station Approach area.

    I would have thought there would be someone with access to a suitable window in either The Shard or The Place who has a good view and a good enough camera to enable us to see how the work is progressing. I suspect some of Mr Harvey’s excellent pictures are of the area but as there are no descriptive captions to identify just where they were taken I can only guess. I’d love to take a look in person but that is out of the question.

  229. MikeP says:

    Something’s going on at the eastern stub end of the new Borough High Street viaduct. Proper hoardings have gone up where there used to be metal gates to exit out into the bus station area from under the viaduct, and 2 guys were working around the bolts at the top of the columns this morning.

    Quite where this leaves access to the (un)loading bay for the “The Place” is an interesting question.

  230. Dan says:

    According to Tom Edwards (BBC) on Twitter Govia has own the new Thameslink franchise!

    So the rumours of success for first were wrong. Not sure what I think about this.

  231. Dan says:

    Of course I meant, Govia has won the franchise (darned autocorrect!).

  232. ngh says:

    Subject to 10 day standstill period govia /southern have won.
    First apparently a bit miffed with lawyers on hand…

    150 new emu cars to replace the 313s on Moorgate services, equivalent to the total fleet inc southern coast way.
    New GatEx stock 108 cars.

    Which will presumably be the end of the 313s and 442s.

    Also strict cleanliness targets which will be welcome by many fix passengers…

    I’ll update my rolling stock plan from the time of the ITT docs later.

  233. Castlebar (Peoples’ Popular Front for Ruislip L.U. Chord Liberation) says:

    Yes, its official and on the BBC Sussex news page: > > >

    The franchise to run the expanded Thameslink rail network has been awarded to Govia Thameslink, a company majority-owned by Go-Ahead.

    The new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise will run for seven years from this September.

  234. ngh says:

    DfT announcement:

    Franchise Map:

    Text of announcement:

    Three new state-of-the-art electric train fleets will mean more services and seats, faster journeys and better connections across many of the busiest rail routes in London and the south east after the government announced today (23 May 2014) its intention to award the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise to Govia Thameslink Railway Limited.

    The 7 year franchise – the largest ever let in terms of passenger numbers – will help deliver the government’s multi-billion pound investment in the region’s rail network, opening up new routes across London and improving services to scores of destinations, including:

    King’s Lynn
    Gatwick Airports

    Nearly 1,400 new electric carriages will be rolled out across the new franchise, providing 50% more capacity and 10,000 extra seats every weekday into central London during the morning peak by the end of 2018, and delivering quicker, cleaner and more reliable journeys for passengers and businesses.

    In addition, the new franchise will see millions invested in improving stations and staffing, a simplified ticketing structure and tough new targets for Govia to improve punctuality by reducing delays by around a fifth and improve cleanliness.

    Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said:

    A world class railway is a vital part of our long-term economic plan. New state-of-the-art trains, more seats, better connections and improved stations will transform travel across London and the south east. That’s great news for businesses and the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use these vital services every day.

    The TSGN franchise will play a crucial role in delivering the government’s £6.5 billion Thameslink programme – a major programme of infrastructure work that is helping create 8,000 jobs and will allow 24 trains per hour to travel in each direction from Blackfriars to St Pancras. New tunnels will link Peterborough and Cambridge to the existing Thameslink route providing easy access across London via St Pancras to Gatwick and Brighton.

    The franchise will introduce 1,140 new carriages – already under construction – on the Thameslink network, improving services to scores of destinations, including the introduction of new cross capital services and a connection at Farringdon to London’s newest railway – Crossrail.

    In addition, Govia will order a new fleet of 108 carriages for the Gatwick Express service, replacing the current 25-year-old trains with a fleet better suited to the needs of airport passengers. It will also secure 150 new carriages to replace the 40-year-old trains currently operating on the route between Moorgate, north London and Hertfordshire.

    That means the total number of carriages in service will grow to 2,631 by 2019 – an increase of 27%. It will also release some existing electric carriages to be used elsewhere in the country.

    Govia will invest significantly in improving stations, including free wi-fi at more than 100 stations, better retail and catering facilities and improvements to customer information systems. Staffing hours will also be extended so that at more than 100 of the largest stations there will be staff available from the first train in the morning to the last train at night.

    Demanding contractual obligations on the operator will deliver cleaner and more spacious trains and improve passenger satisfaction. Tough new benchmarks for performance, train and station cleanliness and customer service information have also been agreed.

    The operator will also develop website, smartphone and tablet apps that will make door-to-door travel easier for customers, including planning journeys, buying tickets and booking onward taxis.

    The TSGN franchise will replace the existing Thameslink and Great Northern franchise (operated as First Capital Connect) from 14 September 2014 and will include the South Central franchise (operated as Southern and Gatwick Express) when it expires on 26 July 2015. A small number of services and stations will also transfer from the South Eastern franchise by 21 December 2014. The current franchises provide around 273 million passenger journeys annually.

    Following the announcement, and in accordance with usual procurement practice, there will be a standstill period of 10 days before the department will be a position to enter into, and complete, the formal contractual documentation and make the award to the successful tenderer.

    View an interactive map of the TSGN network.

  235. Long Branch Mike (Induced Rail Demand) says:


    “Which will presumably be the end of the 313s and 442s”

    I realize they are quite old but could they not be cascaded up North for the Northern Hub electrification?

  236. Long Branch Mike (Induced Rail Demand) says:

    Just realized that one of these 2 classes is probably DMU, in which case they could replace the bouncy Pacers…

  237. Philip Wylie says:

    @Chris L: “Jill-ingham” & “Gill-ingham” (as pronounced) – I noticed both in the same announcement last night (22 May).

  238. ngh says:

    Link to GOVIA presentation (18 pages):

    GOVIA Press release with more details:


    The Go-Ahead Group welcomes today’s announcement by the Department for Transport (DfT) to award Govia (Go-Ahead 65% / Keolis 35% joint venture) the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise. This is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue, and staff.


    New trains – introducing three new train fleets
    More services – 10,000 additional morning peak seats into London
    Increasing capacity – 50% more passenger capacity created
    Better connections – up to 24 trains per hour through the Thameslink core in peak periods
    Station enhancement – £50m investment in improving facilities

    Commenting on the award, David Brown, Group Chief Executive of The Go-Ahead Group said:

    “I’m delighted the DfT has chosen us to operate this important and complex franchise and to play an instrumental role in delivering the benefits of the Government’s £6 billion Thameslink Programme. This will be the UK’s busiest franchise and we will be introducing 50 per cent more capacity into central London during peak times, with 26 per cent more morning peak carriages providing 10,000 additional seats.

    “This award is testimony to the experience of our people of working in partnership with the DfT, Network Rail and other industry stakeholders and in delivering major integration projects and change programmes.

    “Our bid for the franchise was focused on improving customers’ experience and includes two new train fleets for Gatwick Express and Moorgate services, in addition to overseeing the introduction of the Thameslink trains already ordered, as well as delivering improvements at stations.

    “I’m looking forward to working with existing colleagues and welcoming new staff and together delivering this transformational franchise.”

    Alistair Gordon, Chief Executive of Keolis UK, added:

    “We are pleased that the strengths of the Govia partnership have been recognised today in the awarding of this important franchise and look forward to delivering its challenging requirements.”


    The seven year management contract, starting in September 2014, which replaces the Thameslink and Great Northern franchise (operated as First Capital Connect, FCC) will encompass the Southern and Gatwick Express routes from July 2015 and also include a small number of services and stations currently operated by Southeastern which will transfer in December 2014.

    Combined, the existing FCC and Southern franchises carry 273 million passenger journeys per year, employ around 6,500 people and generate annual passenger revenues of £1.3bn.

    The TSGN network will serve London as well as a number of important regional centres, including Cambridge, Luton and Peterborough to the north of the region, and Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton in the south. It also provides direct rail links to major airports (Gatwick and Luton) as well as St Pancras International and Farringdon station for links to Heathrow and Crossrail in due course.

    During the course of the franchise the Thameslink identity will be re-introduced and the Southern and Gatwick Express brands retained.

    The new franchise is being let as a management contract where ticket revenues are passed directly to the Government rather than retained by Govia, due to the complexity and scale of the planned changes to services and infrastructure. We are committed to delivering these changes and minimising their impacts on customers.

    Benefits for customers during the franchise

    New trains

    108 new Gatwick Express carriages designed for airline travellers by 2016
    150 new metro carriages for Moorgate services in 2018
    1,140 Thameslink Class 700 carriages already ordered from Siemens delivered between 2016 and 2018

    More services

    10,000 additional morning peak seats into London
    26% more morning peak carriages into London
    50% more passenger capacity created
    Improvements to services including:
    Up to 24 trains per hour during the peak periods through the Thameslink core (St Pancras to Blackfriars), up from 15 per hour today, an increase of 60%
    More direct services to and from Gatwick Airport including a new direct Cambridge to Brighton service
    Improved Brighton Main Line services

    Stations and staffing

    £50m investment to enhance all 239 stations including improving access, installing electronic information screens and working with partners on the redevelopment of St Albans and Luton stations
    Staffing hours increased: 100 busiest stations staffed from first to last train
    Simplified ticketing and extension of ‘the key’ smartcard
    104 stations with free wifi
    £1.5m on station access improvements including increased cycle storage and electrical vehicle charging points

    Improving standards

    Timetables designed to improve punctuality
    20,000 days of customer service training for frontline employees
    Investment in technology such as smartphone apps and websites to improve real-time information to make door-to-door travel easier
    On-hand assistance for passengers during the Thameslink Programme works

    Local community focus

    Continuing support of Community Rail Partnerships
    Providing young people with work experience and mentoring
    Award winning education programme Go-Learn used with local schools
    £1m per year for local communities to spend on improvements at stations


    Revenue and operating profit: From the start of the franchise in September 2014 to June 2015, Govia’s revenue from franchise payments is estimated to be c.£350m. In the first full year to June 2016, which includes the Southern franchise from July 2015, Govia’s revenue from franchise payments is estimated to be c.£1.1bn. Target operating profit margins average c.3% over the life of the franchise including an estimated annual non-cash margin impact of c.1% for IAS 19 (revised) pension costs.

    Performance incentives: There are performance regimes in place to incentivise or penalise Govia to meet a range of service quality targets (including for punctuality, customer experience at stations and on trains, and revenue protection). In addition to performance regimes, Govia can also achieve between £nil and £25m for delivery of key performance milestones in the Thameslink Programme, which would largely be payable in the mid-term of the franchise.

    Franchise payments: Govia will work with the DfT to generate passenger revenue of an estimated £12.4bn over the life of the franchise for the benefit of the taxpayer. Franchise payments from the DfT to Govia amount to an estimated £8.9bn to reflect operating costs and a small margin allowance. Based on DfT methodology, the net present value (NPV) of the franchise payments is estimated to be around £6.8bn*.

    Investment: Govia will procure around £430m of investment over the life of the franchise, including significant investment in rolling stock and franchise improvements. Approximately £40m of capital expenditure will be made by Govia directly, with most of this investment in the first two years.

    Cash flow: At the beginning of the franchise we expect a working capital inflow of c.£45m in respect of season ticket monies which will be treated as restricted cash. In the year ended June 2015, operating cashflow after capital expenditure is expected to be broadly neutral. In subsequent years cashflow generated should largely reflect operating profit.

    New franchise capital requirements and guarantees: Govia will subscribe for £5m of ordinary share capital in cash and provide two contingent subordinated loan facilities for capital expenditure and working capital purposes of £63.9m (unbonded) and £72.5m (50% bonded). There will also be a performance bond (£20m) and season ticket bond. The value of the season ticket bond is dependent on season ticket income and is expected to increase from c.£45m to c.£95m on the integration of Southern. Only the season ticket bond is required to be backed by cash.

    *based on DfT discount rate of 3.5% in real terms

  239. Dan says:

    Looks good. Investment on the Moorgate branch?! Ye Gods!
    Will the stations be getting a lick of paint too? In a way, I’d be sad to see these “Network South East” Museums disappear…

  240. ngh says:

    New Rolling Stock Plans (ex Class 700 already announced)

    108 new cars in 27x 4car format
    Cost £162m (£1.50m /car)
    Introduced 2016

    GN Moorgate services:
    150 new cars in 25x 6car format
    Introduced 2018
    Cost £225m (£1.50m /car)

  241. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Bye bye First Group – no tears shed here.

    Interesting to see what will presumably be fixed formation 6 car trains for the service into Moorgate with delivery by 2018. Looks like there will be quite an uplift in train service quality in 2018/19 with Thameslink, GN inner suburban and then Crossrail all delivering improvements. Parts of North London won’t know what’s hit it.

  242. AlisonW says:

    “a simplified ticketing structure” could be interesting…

  243. ngh says:

    Re AlisonW
    23 May 2014 at 12:21

    “a simplified ticketing structure” could be interesting…

    That could be as simple as the removal of FCC and Southern only ticket options south of the river!

  244. Anonymous says:

    Only 3 1/2 years left to preserve a 313! Preferably in BR blue/grey with green and brown seat covers. Also reinstated headcode displays and hand-forceable sliding door operation…..

  245. Chris says:

    @Long Branch Mike (Induced Rail Demand)

    Just realized that one of these 2 classes is probably DMU, in which case they could replace the bouncy Pacers…

    Both 313s and 442s are electric 3rd rail designs, the former also being able to work under 25kV overhead wires. 313s date from 1976/77 and so are unlikely to see much if any use elsewhere, and while the 442s ostensibly date from the late 80s much of their traction equipment was recovered from much older slam door EMUs. Their long distance door layout and relatively poor performance also limits their options for re-use.

  246. Fandroid says:

    A trivial hooray from me as we see the beginning of the end of the gloomy First Group brand colours (inside and out) on Thameslink.

  247. ngh says:

    It will be interesting to see if Southern use the FCC rebranding technique from when First won the Franchise (FCC removed the word Thameslink from everything they could which had interesting consequences for “City Thameslink” until someone realised…

    TSGN First Class?

  248. Castlebar (Peoples’ Popular Front for Ruislip L.U. Chord Liberation) says:

    Let us wait and see what happens

    When they are running all the trains in an area, it becomes harder to blame other operators for their failings. And there will be failings

  249. RichardB says:

    @ Chris I agree with one caveat the 442 class enjoyed an enviable record for reliability when it formed part of South West Train’s fleet exceeding 50,000 miles without a casualty. Arguably under SWT they would give both class 450 and class 444 a run for their money. They should never have been used on the Gatwick express run for which their configuration made them unsuited. I wonder whether they might be switched back to SWT territory where they were a real asset and in theory could do so again on either the Portsmouth or the Weymouth lines. Otherwise I fear they are likely to become redundant as third rail stock does not easily translate to other lines without major engineering to fit pantographs etc or alternatively you could use them as locomotive hauled stock which was I think envisaged by British Rail.

  250. Steven Taylor says:


    I would love to see the 442s back on SWT- although the First Class compartments are now gone for good.
    On the Brighton line, the ride quality in my opinion is really good, and whilst their acceleration is not as good as newer stock, there is nothing wrong with there top speed – I have cloaked over 100 mph down the line to Winchester many years ago.

  251. Graham H says:

    @Richard/Chris/Steve – indeed, it was a 442 that held the NSE speed record of 111 mph. I was (and am) a great fan of them: their ride quality and general finish was as good as their reliability. (And I had the originals of those interior Edward Pond drawings on my office wall for many years). For your (wry) amusement, when privatisation was announced and BR managers were conned, briefly, into thinking that the world of innovation and enterprise was theirs for the taking, I and several of my NSE colleagues looked very carefully at using the 442s for a cherry-pickingopen access Silver Bullet commuter service – all first class, high touch customer handling, premium fares, limited stop Haslemere/Guildford/London, Brighton/London, Tonbridge Wells/London and so on. Off-peak and weekends: theatre trains and excursions. Ministers very quickly made it clear that BR management enthusiasm was not required… The rest of the 442 history is dull.

  252. AA (Another Alan) says:

    Re AlisonW
    23 May 2014 at 12:21 “a simplified ticketing structure” could be interesting….

    This will mean the end of the competition between First Capital Connect and Southern on the London Bridge – E Croydon – Gatwick – Brighton route and increased fares for some passengers. A website check for single fares today (Saturday) without railcard discounts show the following. Some fares are higher on weekdays and in peak hours, but it is still cheaper overall to use the FCC trains.

    VIC – GTW = £19.90 Any – incl. Gatwick Express ; £15.00 Southern only
    LBG – GTW = £7.40 FCC only
    ECR – GTW = £5.10 Any; £4.40 FCC only (These fares are available all days / all times.)
    VIC – ECR = £5.80

    LBG – BTN = £9.90 (Southern also have cheaper fares on this route on weekdays on specified trains. )
    VIC – BTN = £26.10
    ECR – BTN = £9.90 FCC only; £18.60 any
    GTW – BTN = £6.40 FCC only; £9.80 Any

    Note the significantly higher fares from Victoria and the opportunities for a cheaper journey from Victoria to Gatwick and Brighton by splitting the journey at East Croydon, often without changing trains. Purchasing tickets via a website and collecting them at a station is a convenient way of getting tickets for split fares for a longer journey without rebooking en route.

  253. answer=42 says:

    Would it be feasible and economic to re-traction the 442s? The older 458s were so treated but there were special circumstances.

  254. Anon5 says:

    When GoVia took over the South Central franchise it initially reverted to that pre-privatisation shadow franchise name. (The name was owned by the reminants of the British Railways Board and like South West Trains, South Eastern, Great Eastern etc still usuable.) It removed the Connex logos and name from the side of ghostly white and NSE stock and continued with the Connex typeface. Trains and stations began to be painted into Southern green but the company stated it wouldn’t launch the Southern brand until quality improved and new 377s arrived. It’s interesting that on winning this franchise GoVia has stated “During the course of the franchise the Thameslink identity will be re-introduced and the Southern and Gatwick Express brands retained.” It sounds to me like the Thameslink brand won’t return until the Class 700s are in service and stations improved. So what name will be used in the interim? Would First allow Capital Connect (minus the First obviously) or might we see the return of Great Northern?

    What of the six-car fixed formation trains? A miniature version of the 700s? For maintenance I assume the northern side of the franchise would prefer a train similar to the new Desiro rather than an Electrostar model more common south of the river. (I know the Thameslink route currently has some 377s and will receive 387s in the interim – the latter with Southern green doors.) Does the six-car unit require front-end doors for the Moorgate tunnels escape route or is there room for walkways? Obviously the 700s have no corridor connection or 378-style escape ladder.

  255. Greg Tingey says:

    or might we see the return of Great Northern?
    Oh please, PLEASE!
    N-2’s thrashing up the bank, Gresley pacifics, their 3-beat audible for miles, whaleback sleek shapes thundering by, articulated, smooth-riding rolling stock ….
    K-3’s & V-2’s pounding away on semi-fasts & fitted goods/parcel trains.

    I might have to go & lie down for a bit after that.
    P.S. Did I note that one open access proposal for extra services along that line were trailing Apple-Green for their rolling stock?

  256. answer=42 says:

    I’m guessing that the new trains for Gatwick Express will make use of Southern’s existing option for up to 140 carriages of class 387 (Electrostar). The demanding timeline for introduction by 2016 almost requires this method.

  257. Anon5 says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier for Southern to keep the 387s it’s ordered (as a stopgap between the 319 and 700) and let the brand new 387s (assuming it’s those) go straight to whichever franchise is earmarked to inherit the slightly-second-hand 387s.

    Of course Gatwick Express had a dedicated airport fleet. But they’re now with South West Trains…

  258. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Alison W – I tend to agree with what AA has said about the removal of “competition” on fares on the Brighton route as part of the simplification process. In this instance simpler means more expensive but I think reducing the scope for potential confusion and being caught out for being on the “wrong” train are good things. Southern has also been quite sensible about zones so I wonder if we might also some more sense about the edges of the Thameslink and Greater Northern services? Here’s hoping for a bit more rationality about where Oyster reaches and where the Key takes over – Hertford East and Hertford North anyone (given past issues about First being in charge of pricing of “Hertford Stns”). The DfT’s more relaxed stance about Oyster reaching Gatwick may be a tiny chink of hope for some more sense breaking out.

    My other guess is what GoVia will do in respect of the “Key” (ITSO) smartcard. Southern are already the most advanced in terms of smartcard deployment and I suspect their experience has won them brownie points with the DfT. I would expect the Key to be deployed right across the franchise pretty quickly which will chime in with the DfT’s wish to see South East Flexible Ticketing extended. It also raises some issues with what Greater Anglia might be doing (on the Cambridge – London route) so as to give a coherent offer at Cambridge and north thereof. Extension of the Key means it is likely that further ticketing integration with the TfL network will happen sooner rather than later and will, of course, be essential when we get to 2018 and Thameslink / Crossrail meet each other at Farringdon. There may also be a spur to London Midland’s efforts when the Key reaches Bedford on Thameslink meaning a need for some co-ordination with the LM service from Bletchley plus at St Albans. I am not certain, though, what LM’s franchise obligations are in respect of ITSO ticketing – they’ve not progressed beyond a trial area in the West Midlands.

  259. answer=42 says:

    Because for a period of about two years, both sets of 387s will be in use on the Southern / Thameslink / Gatwick (Greater Southern; Southern, Midland and Great Northern?) franchise.

    Due Great Western electrification, there will be a great demand for longer-distance EMUs in the next few years. Plus the Mark III carriages on the Great Eastern are nearing end-life. Hence there will be a use for 442s from somewhere, even if non-pantographed and possibly non-retractioned.

  260. Graham H says:

    @answer= (4)42 – in principle, there’s no reason why the 442s can’t be updated although I hear ugly rumours about bodyshell corrosion.

  261. Long Branch Mike (Jr Under-Secretary &c) says:


    “on winning this franchise GoVia has stated “During the course of the franchise the Thameslink identity will be re-introduced and the Southern and Gatwick Express brands retained.””

    Hurrah for clarity, consistency and stability in ToC names! Millions of passengers won’t need to learn a new ToC name and blandly corporate colour branding…

  262. RayK says:

    @Ed 7 April 2014 at 00:37
    “. . . a bit underwhelming for those coming on the Greenwich line. No more trains to Charing Cross . . .”
    Looking at NR’s
    “Thameslink Programme – Complex Projects Procedure for London Bridge and the Surrounding Area”
    To be found on:-
    The “London Bridge lauout Sketches” are to be found on pages 24 and 25.
    We can see on page 25 that, of the four lines which will pass through the diveunder under the TL lines, the topmost one is the line which will go up (and come down, its shown as bi-directional) the ramp that replaces the old Bricklayers Arms viaduct. If it’s purpose is other than to get SE Stopping Services, including the Dartford/Greenwich ones, to connect to CHX, then what use does it serve? Have I missed something obvious?

  263. Chris says:

    @answer=42 Would it be feasible and economic to re-traction the 442s? The older 458s were so treated but there were special circumstances.

    I presume you mean the upcoming 455 upgrade, rather than the modern 458s? As for whether it would be feasible, I can’t see any reason why not but it would be hard to justify – it’s a small fleet to begin with, and it’s hard to see where they’d find a long term use to repay the investment.

  264. Paul says:

    Ray K – I think the fourth reversible line from the Southeastern side which dives under the Thameslink route was there specifically to allow for up direction Thameslink trains from the New Cross route, which was always the intention up until last years decision to cut back the origins in the ‘southeastern division’ to allow for the Wimbledon loop to remain part of the Thameslink core services.

    Back in the day, the split of Thameslink was to be 6 tph through Elephant & Castle and 18 tph through London Bridge, of the latter 14 tph were to be via New Cross Gate, and 4 tph long distance services via New Cross. An example of these services would have been the 2 tph from Tunbridge Wells.

    Following last years change of mind by DfT, the ratio is now 8 tph via Elephant, and 16 via London Bridge, all of which come from the Southern via New Cross Gate.

    From that perspective, the ‘fourth line’ seems somewhat redundant unless it will be used by Southeastern services to Charing Cross – but the corresponding down direction crossovers are intended for moves from the Thameslink route.

  265. Greg Tingey says:

    Ray K
    The fact that a single reversible line can’t possibly handle many trains at all, if they are going in both directions?
    Unless, of course, it is used tidally, so that (say) in the AM peak it is used as an “up” line & the PM a “down”?

  266. @RayK, Paul

    There is always possible use during engineering work.

    I have mentioned this before but another intended purpose in the down direction is to allow empty stock from Cannon Street in the morning peak to use the Metropolitan Curve at Borough Market to reverse onto the Thameslink down line then proceed on the Thameslink down to Bermondsey where the empty stock can then proceed to Grove Park carriage sidings via the reversible line.

    Unfortunately not only will the train have to reverse on the Thameslink down line west of Borough Market, it will also have to cross the Cannon St up lines on the flat east of Bermondsey flyunder. However that is better then going via the full-up Cannon St platforms at London Bridge and it is better to cross on the flat east of North Kent junction than between London Bridge and Cannon St.

    The trick cannot be done in reverse in the evening peak and is in any case unnecessary as SouthEastern operate about 10% less capacity in the evening peak than the morning peak (basically a 22 minute interval timetable instead of a 20 minute one). They can do this because the evening peak is less intense and more spread out than the morning one.

  267. RayK says:

    Greg Tingey
    Yes I see that you are right on both points there.
    If the direction arrows on the Layout sketches are to be believed then the whole thing works slightly differently than you have described. Reversing on the TL Down line and proceeding to Bermondsey involves leaving the TL Down before that passes over the dive-under and directly accessing the Down Kent Fast.
    Again, if the direction arrows on the Layout sketches are to be believed then there will be the option to cross the TL lines completely (which should disrupt TL less) on to the CHX Down Slow to the West of Metropolitan Junction and then proceed through LBG and thence by way of the reversible line through the dive-under, again onto the Down Kent Fast.
    The only things I can see being possible on the reversible link in the up direction are access to CHX and TL. And as the Kent fast lines going through the middle of the dive-under have access to CHX the reversible link seems only to be needed for access for trains off the North Kent East Junction which would probably only be possible off peak.
    There is always the possibility of running TL services along the Kent lines in the future, as was originally planned.

  268. Graham Feakins says:

    @RayK – Yes, I believe that “the option to cross the TL lines completely (which should disrupt TL less) on to the CHX Down Slow to the West of Metropolitan Junction and then proceed through LBG” has been the considered option. However, remember that this will block the TL lines in both directions whilst crossing at relatively slow speed. It is something I think they have only comparatively recently thought through at all because the original plan was to cut off Cannon Street from Metropolitan junction completely.

    The fact that Charing Cross – Cannon Street has seen frequent use as a passenger service recently anyway has also doubtless coloured the thinking.

  269. @RayK,

    Apart the issue Graham Feakins has pointed out, there won’t be any capacity on the Charing Cross down. You can’t refer to the down slow at this point. There is only one Charing Cross track in each direction. In contrast there is spare capacity on the Thameslink down and as the train will be out of service it won’t have any dwell time at London Bridge.

    The idea of using Metropolitan curve is also partly to get a train, which preferably is departing from Cannon Street platform 7, completely out of the way of the tracks from Cannon Street to Borough Market Junction which are critical to the capacity of Cannon Street station.

    If you look at this diagram the situation at Bermondsey might be clearer. Unfortunately I suspect you need to login to Flickr to see the thing at full resolution.

  270. ngh says:

    Re Ray K

    On the bi-directional lines it would be helpful if they put double arrows in the direction of the main flow (if applicable) as it would make things much clearer. Graham and PoP’s understanding is correct on this.

    The key thing is to timetable the ECS move from CST to coincide with the gap that aligns with a southbound Elephant and Castle service from Blackfriars as the service gap will be 5 minutes rather than 2.5 minutes (based on 2.5m headway in core with every 3rd service going to E&C). Now if you were to timetable 2 TL via E&C services after each other (i.e. “South-Eastern” and a Wimbledon loop) there would be a 7.5 minute service gap every 30minutes.

    This gap might also enable 2 fast “southern” services (i.e. LBG terminators) to slot in between the down 16tph TL services if the preceding TL service stops at Norwood Junction and the 1st southern service is a 171 with slower acceleration

  271. RayK says:

    @Graham Feakins, PoP
    Yes! Thanks for bringing me back down to earth. Just because the infrastructure is there doesn’t mean there are paths available. I had also not realised that, once out of the core and split, TL has some capacity available. Probably the most time consuming part of the exercise will be the driver walking the length of the train in order to proceed. As there are two TL Down Lines on the curve out of Blackfriars TL trains can be held there for a short while should that be necessary. This should be less of a problem than the current situation where the down TL lines merge first down to one and then join the TL Up on one, bidirectional line which then merges with the CHX lines just before Metropolitan Junction.

  272. @RayK,

    Probably the most time consuming part of the exercise will be the driver walking the length of the train in order to proceed

    I have often speculated to myself on this as to how it would be done. A rather neat trick would be for a fresh driver to enter the south cab at Cannon St and drive the train via the Metropolitan curve onto the Thameslink down. The original driver, who hasn’t left his cab at any point in the proceedings, now takes the train to London Bridge. He stops very briefly (to allow the other driver to alight) and then continues on his way. The second driver then catches the next train to Cannon St to repeat the process.

    ngh has suggested in the past that there are long term Network Rail plans to make the entire track between Cannon St and London Bridge three track. This would involve widening the bridge over Borough High St. If this were done and all three tracks between London Bridge and Cannon St were made bidirectional then at some point in the future you could probably avoid the reverse and simply send the train from Cannon St to the Thameslink Down via what is currently the Cannon St up.

    It is good to see your interest in these rather arcane issue. Graham Feakins, ngh and myself spend far too much of our lives discussing things like this. It is good to know we are not alone.

  273. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes, the re-enlargement of the CST – LBG lines would be a very good idea, significantly increasing capacity.
    As some of us know, that route used to be 4 tracks wide ….

  274. @Greg Tingey,

    As some of us know, that route used to be 4 tracks wide ….

    True, but it was shared with the Charing Cross trains. Prior to the Thameslink works, you could have designed a layout so that you get 30tph to Cannon Street. But then you can’t have 30tph to Charing Cross as well.

    In addition, the tracks west of Borough High St to Cannon St used to be four track but computer modelling showed that four tracks just on that section did not increase capacity but they did make it impossible to run Networker class 465 trains to Cannon St. For the record and related to an earlier discussion, this was all worked out when deciding the dimensions of a class 465 and reducing this section to three tracks was all part of the big plan to introduce the new rolling stock.

  275. RayK says:

    “On the bi-directional lines it would be helpful if they put double arrows in the direction of the main flow” I suspect that might mean different diagrams for different times of day (or a much more complicated nomenclature). Don’t the arrows just indicate how the line is signalled to operate? After all, track itself is (mostly) reversible.

    I’ve realised that the dive-under reversible line becomes Down only on the LBG side of the crossover onto TL. It looks like it could it be intended to use it for a CHX down from the new p6&7 at LBG, perhaps during AM peak. This would provide much desired flexibility.

  276. Long Branch Mike (Junior Under-Secretary of the Acronyms and Abbreviations Portfolio ie Intern) says:

    @PoP et al

    Is ECS Elephant and Castle?

    Ergonometric Counselled Seating?

    I think it’s an acronym for rusty rail moves.

  277. Graham H says:

    @LBM – empty coaching stock (as it might say on the tin!)

  278. AA (Another Alan) says:

    Re PoP , 26 May, 11.31

    The use of a second driver on a train subject to multiple reversals is a common practice on the Stockholm pendaltag (commuter rail). At Sodertalje, a major town about 35km SW of Stockholm on the original main line to Gothenberg and Malmo, the local trains from Stockholm which run every 15 mins, reverse at Sodertalje Hamn (=Harbour) station and then run down the steep branch about 2 km to Sodertalje Centrum station which serves the town centre and local bus terminal. The EMU trains are 200m length, so that’s almost a 3 mins walk for a driver to change ends. The procedure used is: Train from Stockholm arrives at Hamn – driver 1 remains in front cab. Driver 2 gets in rear cab, and drives train to Centrum. Both drivers remain in their cabs during the 5 minute layover at Centrum. Driver 1 then drives train back to Hamn, and leaves cab to become ‘Driver 2’ on a later train. Meanwhile Driver 2 is already in his cab and is ready to take the train back to Stockholm. Reversal at Hamn only takes a minute. It’s a simple and effective operation. The trains have a guard who travels in one of the centre cabs of the 2 unit trains.

  279. ngh says:

    RE: RayK
    21 May 2014 at 15:37

    “Is there any chance of getting views of what they are doing at the West end of the station to connect the Borough Viaduct?”

    I meant to answer this the other day but only remembered on a quick reread now.

    Unravelled has indeed taken some photos recently of the area you describe. The bus station was closed this weekend so I would expect some changes in pedestrian routing on Tuesday morning.

    On the Charing cross side of the gap they have started work on the unfinished rebar on the protective concrete encasing the steel work on the new viaduct and erected hoardings around that bit of the site.

    To the station side is the all concrete viaduct that Unravelled has been taking plenty photos of over time where the 4 tracks from the new platforms 6-9 merge into 2 tracks to pass over the new Borough Market viaduct to Charing Cross. This is now virtually finished.

    The “gap” between the 2 structures which currently contains the bus info hut, the board with “next fastest train to:” and the in road to the bus station (Station Approach) also happens to be the roof of the underground ticket hall, which partially explains why it hasn’t been touched so far.

    Since unravelled has taken the photos the gap between the back of the departures board and the all concrete viaduct has been tarmac’d (the photos also show the area just before tarmacing) so I would expect the new pedestrian route to be across there with the hoardings moved so than work can take place in the area where the departure board and bus info hut currently are. This new viaduct is also gradually extending eastwards (in the other direction) behind the temporary ticket office and is currently about bus station pavement level (ground level not being a good term to use here!) and should extend to level with the ticket barrier line by the end of the year at which point the next eastwards phase begins with the old P8&9 closing being demolished and replaced.

  280. RayK says:

    @PoP, AA
    Without a second driver and working on a 7.5 min. gap every 30 mins, this would mean just three trains escaping via Metropolitan Junction in a one hour peak (one at each end and one in the middle). Adding an hour each side would mean a total of seven escapes over three hours. This could only be achieved with through corridor stock as there is no convenient platform for the driver to walk along.
    Providing second drivers and utilising all the 5 min. gaps would be sufficient to enable up to eight trains per hour (plus one at the end). This would mean nine trains over the peak hour and twenty five over peak plus two shoulders. This would probably need four extra drivers as twenty minutes to do the round trip, including changing platforms at both ends, would probably be pushing it too far for reliable operation (even with escalators) so three drivers couldn’t be guaranteed to do it. Could a single second driver achieve the same, within the 5 min. gap, as without a second driver and the 7.5 min. gap? A half hour round trip sounds quite relaxed. If this is achievable, just add drivers up to the max of four, to provide the number of escapes needed.
    Yes! I too had thought that a third track all the way round to LBG from CST would solve all this. In the meantime, with the new Viaduct, extra drivers will do the job nicely as long as those 5 min. gaps exist.

    Thank you for the description of what is happening between LBG and the New Borough Viaduct. The hoardings are of course there to keep out the prying eyes of would be thieves. That they also keep out the prying eyes of those who are genuinely interested is just too bad for us. What I was hoping for was an overview of this end of the site. Looking on the NR drawings from the Southwark planning site, Dwg 263260 Stage 1A (current) and 263261 Stage 1B show a ‘Block A’ and a ‘Block B’. ‘Block A ‘ has seen a lot of work as you describe. It sounds fom what you say that they have extended into ‘Block B’ ready to connect into the new p 7, 8 & 9. I think they are planning to work in the Centre Core Dwg 263262_1 before closing any through platforms Dwg 263263 Stage 2 perhaps during Easter 2015.

  281. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Courtesy of Twitter I fell across the wonderful old film of the last rebuilding of London Bridge in the 70s. Such a contrast to the practices of day – just look at what the workmen wore in the 70s. As I’d never seen the old station I learnt quite a bit about how things were back then, I really hope someone is producing a modern equivalent film of the current Thameslink project works.

    London Bridge Film

    I have checked back through this thread and article to see if the film’s been mentioned before and couldn’t see it. However if this post is a repeat reference to the film then JB / PoP can axe it.

  282. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Walthamstow Writer,

    Someone did link to the film before when it was on an obscure website but I felt a little nervous as it was a British Transport Film and could have had copyright issues. I take the attitude that if it is on Youtube (as it now is) then its not down to us to worry about such things and a link is fine. It is very good.

    I remember thinking a while back that London Bridge station seems to get rebuilt roughly every 50-60 years.

  283. Southern Heights says:

    I have just noticed that some of the (now) South Eastern branches of the new franchise are marked as not being for the entire life of the franchise.
    Does anyone know what they are going to do with those? Or at least planning at this stage, before they change their minds again?

  284. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – I had a similar thought about the rebuild question. I noted the remark on the film about the old cramped footbridge and dingy low level corridors, pondered the “strong” views on this blog about the new design being built and wondered what the design of the London Bridge 2065 rebuild will be like!

    It also made me consider, in the light of the forecast increases in population / usage, how many more terminals face big rebuilds or whether they’re even practical. Clearly some are partly resolved by Crossrail, others by HS2 and some are being considered (e.g. Waterloo) but we’re still left with issues at other places (Charing Cross, Fenchurch St and even Kings Cross to some extent).

    One final observation was the volume of people waiting at suburban stops for the slam door trains. It’d be interesting to do a “then and now” snapshot to see how much worse things are today.

  285. timbeau says:

    I see First have also lost the Caledonian Sleepers – a pre-emptive move to take them out of control of Scotrail prior to indepedence?

  286. Chris L says:

    when I started work in July 1972 we only had a train every 30 minutes at Maze Hill towards London Bridge. These were always very crowded at peak times.

    Getting on a slam door train with compartments usually involved giving the standing passenger inside the door a shove.

    Frequently saw fingers squashed in the doors.

    Trains every 10 minutes of 10 coaches nowadays.

  287. Melvyn says:

    With news that evening and weekend services are planned on the Moorgate branch next year then there is a compelling reason to get at least Moorgate to Finsbury Park added to tube maps given how under used the branch is compared to the overcrowded city branch of Northern line. In fact for some journey it is quicker than going to kings cross and then changing trains!

    For at Highbury there is cross platform interchange with the Victoria Line which commuters will know but not those using a tube map to find there way around London -( eh were does that go….?) when come next year people who have been in the west end can catch Victoria Line to Highbury and Islington and cross to GN platform to make there way home without using subways, escalators etc to change at kings Cross late at night, with cross platform interchange at Finsbury Park for longer distance services.

    In fact there is also a case to add Central Thameslink network say Elephant and Castle/ London Bridge through Blackfriars to say Kentish Town and eventually Finsbury Park to tube map with interchange at Faringdon to Crossrail shown come 2018/9.

    As to next London Bridge upgrade well an Eaśt west South London Crossrail linking London Bridge (Southern) to Waterloo and then on to Clapham Junction making through services possible with Crossrail stations en route could occur one day . Who knows with more and more joined up lines we could call it ” Network South East!”.

  288. James Forbes says:


    Design work was undertaken to re-instate the 3rd track at Borough Market junction (the “Cannon Street Chord”) but this will not be taken beyond GRIP 3, at least not for before 2018. The aim was to provide a path for empty coaching stock (ECS) to escape Cannon Street via London Bridge platform 4.

  289. Paul says:

    Southern Heights 30th May

    I think the temporary changes to the ex Southeastern routes are explained in pages 55/56 of the TSGN stakeholder brief, copied here. It’s all to do with the changes to existing origins and re-routing, and changing train crew responsibilities for currently shared operations:

    December 2014 onwards
    4.130 Peak services between Blackfriars and each of Ashford and Rochester,
    currently jointly operated by FCC and Southeastern, will transfer fully to
    Southeastern in December 2014 and will not be required to operate north
    of Blackfriars through the Thameslink core.

    December 2014 to December 2017
    4.131 The remaining trains which are jointly operated, i.e. those that operate
    through the Thameslink core and serve the Orpington routes via both
    Catford and via Penge East, will transfer fully into the TSGN network
    from December 2014 until December 2017 (see below).

    December 2015 onwards
    4.132 Weekday late evening services to/from Sevenoaks, which currently
    terminate at Blackfriars, will be extended to serve the Thameslink core
    and beyond from December 2015 to provide a direct link to the City of
    London and St Pancras International.

    January 2018 onwards
    4.133 From January 2018, the following long term service pattern is planned to
    operate between Kent and the Thameslink core via Elephant & Castle:
    – 2 trains per hour stopping service to and from Sevenoaks via the
    Catford Loop on Monday to Friday. The weekend service from
    Sevenoaks may continue to terminate and originate at Blackfriars;
    – 2 trains per hour to and from Maidstone East arriving in London
    between 0700 and 1200, and departing London in a five-hour period
    between 1400 and 2100 (precise hours to be determined by bidders)
    on Mondays to Fridays. Bidders may opt to extend some of these
    trains through to Ashford International.

    4.134 Those destinations no longer served by Thameslink services, such as
    Orpington, will be transferred back into the Southeastern network;
    services will be curtailed and run only to and from Blackfriars. Additional
    peak services between the Catford Loop and Blackfriars will also be
    provided by Southeastern.

  290. ngh says:

    Re James Forbes

    Thanks for the confirmation on the Cannon Street Chord plans.

    While London Bridge is being rebuild I can’t see much point in carrying out the work as the station rebuilding is effectively the limiting factor on capacity from 2015-2018 on southeastern services so from financial perspective it make sense to hold off as it would involve greater disruption to services in the interim.

    A quick question if I may:
    How would the 3 tracking of the 2 track section to Cannon Street be achieved? The bridge deck structure is effectively 3 tracks + 1 track over the Borough High Street and Station Approach bridges with 2 tracks for Cannon Street and 2 for Charing Cross (now and Blackfriars post 2018). Would the single track structure (currently up Charing Cross future up Blackfriars) be replaced with a twin track structure (possibly using the northern plate girder of the new Borough High Street bridge as a common element?) or would the most northerly 3 track structure (adjacent to Tooley Street) be replaced with a new structure?

    Replacing the single track structure might have made sense in conjunction with the LBG rebuild between 2016-8 when other works are being done to that alignment but any work on the 3 track structure will always be “badly” timed.

  291. RayK says:

    I have trawled through the photo pool and AFAIKT the Bermonsey Dive under arena has seen the following work.
    Demolition of the old Bricklayers Arms Viaduct as far as the new East London Line. Construction of a new Bricklayers Arms Viaduct/Ramp including a new bridge over the new East London Line.
    A lot of concreting under the bridge which carries the Sussex Slow lines over the old Bricklayers Arms alignment just North East of South Bermondsey station. Does anyone know if this is being done to replace an aged bridge or something else? It is not part of the dive-under itself and may just be being done at the same time to take advantage of possesions.
    I seem to recall a recent announcement that a bridge was to be erected over the new East London Line that I thought was for the Sussex slow line. Perhaps I was writing between the lines and it was the one for the new Bricklayers Arms Ramp that was meant.
    Is any visible preparatory work being done in the area of the dive-under proper? Again AFAIKT this will be mostly around and beside the Kent fast lines viaduct immediately North West of Bolina Road.

  292. ngh says:

    Re Ray K

    Bridge 508 is aged / knackered / other suitably descriptive word of your choice and the remaining shorter span of deck (which hasn’t been concreted under) is due to be replaced in the 9 day blockcade in August. The current structure has longitudinal timbers for the rails rather than sleepers (Which is not great if trying to run a high frequency service with long trains at speed.) One of the aims of the rebuild is to sort circa 35 bridge decks outside the station so they are fit for use for many years to come.

    New ELL Bridge – it is the one that links to the Bricklayers arms viaduct and is adjacent to the main set of SE tracks.

  293. Sydney of Sidenham (a relatively well informed source...) says:


    There needs to be a distinction between two options for Cannon Street Lines 3-tracking, as I think there may be some confusion:

    1. Provide a completely new track between London Bridge and Borough Market Junction to the north of the existing 4-track corridor and remodel the connection between the new 3-track section and London Bridge platform 1 – 3 tracks and connections to the three Cannon Street eastern curve tracks at the opposite end. This is would improve operation to a certain extent by removing the limiting double track section and result in three Cannon Street tracks from east of New Cross to Cannon Street station outer throat (where the eastern and western curves meet). It would require widening the corridor on the north side and be expensive. However, I believe further crossovers may be required between London Bridge and Cannon Street inner throat to fully optimise this, but I don’t know what they would be yet and exactly where they would go. Curvature is a major problem!

    2. Provide a connection between the western most track on the Cannon Street eastern curve and what will become the Down Thameslink track (currently the Down Charing Cross track).

    The second option would be very difficult, if not impossible, due to the nature of the existing connection between the western most track on the eastern curve and each of the Up and Down Cannon Street tracks on the double track section between LB and BM on the Cannon Street lines. This would either become a very complicated non-standard item of switches and crossings or be need to be slightly relocated, which may require other adjacent S&C to be moved or removed.

    The benefit of Option 2 would be to enable trains from the higher number Cannon Street Platforms to access the Down Thameslink, without a trip via the Cannon Street western curve up towards Blackfriars. Trains would access the slow or fast Kent (South Eastern) tracks east of London Bridge. Very neat in operating terms and would avoid conflicting moves between the western most track and the Down line, particularly in the morning peak, which is a significant source of delay (my opinion, based on daily experience!).
    This would not work in the evening peak, so some Kent Coast trains would still be required to access Cannon Street via the western curve as they do today. So you couldn’t ditch the western curve, previously proposed via Thameslink.

    This is probably too wordy and confusing! I will try to knock up some diagrams to demonstrate the above points in the next week or so.


  294. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Assuming using the Thameslink Down for Cannon St empties is feasible, is there any indication of how they would get from the Thameslink down to the Cannon St down. Does this involve crossing the Cannon St up on the flat? If so then this would appear to be another problem that needs solving (or can this be down without reducing capacity on the up?). I am presuming that if done south of North Kent Junction there would be sufficient gaps to allow this. And of course if the empty train could sit somewhere and not block any paths waiting for that gap then this would help enormously.

    On the point about a solution not working in the evening peak … I don’t think anyone is too worried about that. South Eastern for years has had a rather awkward 22 minute cyclical pattern in the evening peak which is basically the same as the rather tight 20 minute cycle in the morning. Apparently capacity is more critical in the morning that the evening so a morning-only solution would be good enough – for now.

  295. RayK says:

    Re ngh
    Thanks for the info on Bridge 508. I understand that track on longitudinal timbers is a pain to maintain.
    ‘New ELL Bridge – it is the one that links to the Bricklayers arms viaduct and is adjacent to the main set of SE tracks.’
    That’s the one that Unravelled has photographed. There is/was a second bridge planned to take the Down Sussex Slow line over the ELL after it has emerged from the Dive-under. This second one is the one that (I now think mistakenly) I understood the announcement to refer to.

  296. Kit Green says:

    Sydney: “Provide a connection between the western most track on the Cannon Street eastern curve and what will become the Down Thameslink track (currently the Down Charing Cross track).”

    Back to the 80s? Wasn’t this link removed during the track alterations for the Networker Revolution?

  297. RayK says:

    Re PoP
    ‘And of course if the empty train could sit somewhere and not block any paths waiting for that gap then this would help enormously.’
    The first opportunity that I can see is that after the point of leaving the TL line there is a new gantry planned before crossing the ELL. I can’t read the name of this stretch of down line on the Layout Sketch but I think the gantry is at 4040. I guess that there might be a preferred location further South.

  298. Southern Heights says:

    I have noticed that there are more thing happening at London Bridge this weekend.

    Firstly the big wall of screens seem to have gone from outside the two information points.

    Secondly the ticket barriers at the end of the low corridors coming from platforms 1-4 are now entry only in the evening peak. On top of this half of the actual barriers have gone…

    I also saw a sign that if I read it right, says that the exit will be closed (permanently?) from Saturday 14/6… An arrow points down the stairs as the alternative route.

    I guess this is all to do with the construction of the missing bit of the bridge to connect to the Borough Market viaduct. As usual of course Thameslink Programme themselves aren’t saying anything. Their web-site just mentions the changes at the end of August.

    Does anyone know more?

  299. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights:

    See previous discussion with Ray K circa 27th May on “bridging the gap”.
    Also see Unravelled’s recent photos on the photo pool taken since then.

    Your guess is correct.
    The boards were moved last week to just next to the temporary ticket office (to the left as you face the counters), 2 were working this morning with the engineers connecting up and testing the others so they should be ready in a few days. They have been testing the lighting and sliding security gates for the pedestrian passage ways under the new concrete Charing Cross lines viaduct (the bit behind the former location of those boards and the temporary ticket office). These passage ways appear to run north – south. The ticket gates may have been relocated under the concrete viaduct? Unravelled’s photos show this area as very freshly tarmaced to help identify the right photos! (It was tarmacd about 3 weeks ago). It looks like the construction of the “gap” will be identical to the rest of the new (Borough Market) viaduct to the west of the gap (steel and concrete pillar construction with steel deck) so there would probably be smaller areas closed off for the construction of the pillars initially.

  300. Widely Red says:

    Got to say, the paying customer at London Bridge is surely due a bit of a break, soon, no? I come in on the terminating platforms every morning and work at the biggest cluster of office buildings in the area – the one that starts at the Tooley Street footbridge and ends more or less at City Hall. What used to be a simple walk across the main concourse, through the gates to P1-6, in and out, has got steadily more impractical over the last few years. The intra-platform footbridge was a solution for a while, but then they knocked most of it down. The ‘bus station’ route gets longer every week, it seems, particularly with the switch this week to the P1-6 gates being one-way at peak time. The concourse escalators down to the Vaults are the best alternative now, giving out onto the overcrowded Joiner Street passageway and shuffling a far greater percentage of the station’s users into to the tube-transfer route. It seems there’s no thought given to how people move about the station at all – where people might be coming from or going to. SHUT UP, CUSTOMER, YOU’LL LIKE IT WHEN WE’RE FINISHED. Fair enough. But maybe put a little bit of effort into making it a teensy bit less unpleasant now. It’s not as if it’s over next week.

  301. Southern Heights says:

    @ Widely Red: It might get a little easier next week… It just depends on whether or not you’ll be able to transit through the corridor linking platforms 1-6… But then you’ll probably get run over by the masses coming down the ramps.

    I just wish they’d put up something on the web-site or hand out leaflets when they start making changes… That would help…

  302. I happened to be at London Bridge today. All a bit chaotic as the old way in to platforms 1-6 is no more and everyone had to use the Joiner St escalators. Hopefully on Monday the new entrance will be in use otherwise it will be bedlam.

    A view from the bus station looking north shows the entrance nearly ready although there is a lot of finishing work to do.

    A angled view from in front of the station concourse give a slightly different perspective.

    For those familiar with the area the red crane may help clarify exactly where we are talking about.

    Clearly they need to get this entrance in use under the newly built viaduct as they have already closed the old one. Work can then continue on eliminating the gap in the viaduct by progressing working from the London Bridge station end. If nothing else the work done so far will give them a lovely bit of storage space.

    Hopefully in the fullness of time Unravelled will keep us updated with a more comprehensive set of photos.

  303. Ian Sergeant says:


    Bedlam is surely at Liverpool Street?

  304. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Actually nowadays it is near Eden Park. Its where Jo Brand once worked as a psychiatric nurse I believe. They built a railway from the Hayes Line at Eden Park to the hospital to assist construction. No trace of the line left of course.

  305. James Forbes says:

    I understand that the plan is to have the western passage open on Monday, providing a route from the Southern concourse. A link to the station map can be found here:

    Sydney of Sidenham has it pretty much spot on with option 2 for the Cannon St chord. An element of track slewing would be required, as well as relocation of signalling equipment. Any plan would have to consider the impact on the market, especially if structural work meant cordoning off areas usually occupied by stalls. The chord would be used for empty stock moves in the morning peak (out via the LBG down Thameslink platform 4). Evening moves would be in via platform 3. But all of this is academic, as no further work appears planned (in the near future at least).

  306. ngh says:

    Re PoP

    Nice to see a newly installed NSE clock (red with original logo) in those photos that will now survive for another few years…

  307. Anonymous says:

    Some people clearly think we can make a new station sized omelette without breaking any eggs. I’d be interested to know how they would rebuild a place the size of London Bridge and largely keep the services running without making their little walk across the concourse more tricky for a while.

  308. As if on cue, Unravelled has just put up a lots of London Bridge photos (and other stuff). The last one of the new entrance is here. There are some nice night shots of a couple of evenings earlier if one clicks through them. The entrance was looking much more complete today.

  309. James Forbes says:

    Anonymous @ 20:39

    I’m sure the point was that the programme does not always give out enough information to keep the regular station users up to date. I tend to agree that the focus is on the next low level stage, but even that message doesn’t seem to filter through to the right audience (the flamenco dancers anyone??).

    As for the challenges, maybe more use of the many timelapse films?

  310. ngh says:

    Re James Forbes

    Precisely just general lack of info sharing.

    One of my colleagues (a Greenwich line user) was blissfully unaware that anything was going to happen to her service until a conversation we had last week – her response was that the publicity had probably missed most passengers then!
    (She will just stay on till Cannon Street so no major impact just a slightly longer walk though as she remarked possible quicker as it is easier and quicker to escape Cannon Street…)

    Straw poll suggests only 40-50% of my colleagues who come in via London Bridge actually know how they will be affected over the next few years.

  311. MikeP says:

    The weekend’s changes to pedestrian flows seemed to have been completed by this morning, and things were flowing well.

    Better than the last few months in fact, since there is no longer a conflict on the S side of the Tooley St bridge between high-level arrivers heading in the Borough High Street direction and low-level arrivers heading for the City.

  312. Widely Red says:

    Yes, Anonymous, I don’t feel you can make an omelette without breaking eggs. What a rancorous remark.

    It’ll be a better station in the end. It’s worth some disruption. My point is that the information given out is scant and of low quality, and that the balance between Getting The Work Done Without Nasty Passengers Getting In The Way and Allowing Those Bloody Passengers To Slow The Work Down is too far in favour of the former. If this was too big a project to do while keeping the station open, then that’s a lesson to be learned. As it is, there are far too many restrictions on the station actually working as a station, and some of them create safety concerns elsewhere (the transition between the underground and NR station being unpleasantly crowded on a regular basis). Rather like the mad and arrogant Olympic restrictions at the same station, they’re causing overcrowding and not thinking of ways to ease it. Either lighten some of them up, and accept a six-year timeline possibly taking seven, or extend/repeat the August closure and work without those pesky passengers under your feet.

  313. Southern Heights says:

    @ MikeP: Except that there still is that conflict, I will now be heading out the platform 6 exit, to head for either the Shard escalator or Railway Approach and crossing the low level horde there instead, but now head on rather than at a 90 degree angle… Oh well!

    I wonder what’ll be going on in those passageways that they’ve closed off?

  314. Widely Red says:

    And as if by magic, the passageway reopens. Good.

  315. Theban says:


    Some of us are not convinced that a rebuild was a sensible investment decision in the first place. I suspect many passengers are at best ignorant of why it is being done. Until that failure of communication is resolved of course there is going to be a lot of irritation from service users.

  316. MikeP says:

    @Theban – I’m a passenger, not a service user. Unless the rail system is now part of Social Services 🙂

  317. Walthamstow Writer says:

    South Eastern have released the timetables for the Jan 2015 changes due to the London Bridge works. I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable to know if the changes are a disaster or wonderful. I do note that Victoria – Lewisham (and Dartford) gets a daily all day service.

  318. timbeau says:

    As feared – for three years Charing Cross/Waterloo to Deptford/Westcombe Park will only be possible via Charlton, unless paying extra for DLR Lewisham- Greenwich or Tube CX- Cannon Street. I understand there are also fewer peak hour services (presumably to provide a few direct trains between Cannon Street and some destinations currently only served by connections at London Bridge) but given the number of people for whom the Greenwich line will now be useless (or at best, will be going counter-peak to connect with the CX services at Charlton) crowding may not be such a problem as people fear. I suspect Blackheath and Lewisham will see a significant rise in usage.

    It affects the Greenwich line most because there is no opportunity to switch between CX/CS (or even Vic or Blackfriars trains) at Lewisham.

    I think I read that New Cross and St Johns will lose their CX services too – again doubling back to Lewisham will probably be the quickest – or, for phase 2, using New Cross Gate, which still has a service to London Bridge

  319. Greg Tingey says:

    Err – isn’t Lewisham in both zones 2 & 3?
    [ The on-line map is difficult to read ] If so, then going via Lewisham is no more expensive, if a lot slower …..

  320. Southern Heights says:

    Summary of changes for the London/Tonbridge/Hastings route:

    The Tunbridge Wells -> Charing Cross services will now terminate at Cannon Street, calling additionally (not all the time) at New Cross.

    Hastings services unaffected

    Summary for London/Grove Park/Orpington and Sevenoaks:

    Charing Cross trains will no longer call Lewisham (most of the time), Cannon Street services will call at Lewisham (off peak) and New Cross (off peak).

    The surprise is that Blackfriars trains will route via Lewisham instead of Catford…

  321. MikeP says:

    Quick glance on the Dartford lines (separated into 3 timetables, haven’t worked out what overlap there is yet…)

    Seems the Dartford Loop (Sidcup line) trains – at present all CHX – will alternate between CHX and CST, so every other one will stop at London Bridge. At present, that’s the line I use both ways for my commute. The usual evening train is rerouted to CST, so that works for me. But the morning one isn’t, so I need to be 10 mins earlier for the existing CST via Abbey Wood semi-fast, which doesn’t change.

    I see Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association is comparing & contrasting the total TL project cost (£6 Billion) with the sum being spent on improving passenger information for this phase (£0).

  322. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg / Timbeau – Greenwich to Lewisham on the DLR sits on the Z23 boundary. However I’ve not checked whether NR tickets / seasons are inter-available on the DLR. On PAYG I’ve looked at the fares from Woolwich Arsenal to Lewisham for NR only and DLR only fares. As the stations are described differently in the Fares Finder there are different fares for the same journey by the different modes.

    On the wider question of how people with London Terminals seasons reach Charing Cross if their train is diverted and there is no London Bridge change available then the details haven’t been announced. I know various London Assembly members are watching this very closely as they expect there to be no financial penalty imposed on people *and* for there to be a plethora of free rail replacement bus links as well. Personally I think they’ll be disappointed on the latter point and I imagine TfL will want to avoid people gaining the equivalent of Zone 1 Travelcard validity if they hold a South Eastern season into London Terminals. Given the complexity of the service changes I think they’ll have a struggle to define system settings that can treat people fairly and not leave a fraud risk. PAYG users will be especially difficult to deal with. One to watch.

  323. Anomnibus says:

    Residents of Deptford and Greenwich might want to consider using the buses anyway, given that it’s not that much slower than taking the train to London Bridge. (For those who would ordinarily change at London Bridge for the Jubilee Line, there’s also North Greenwich.)

    The bus might not seem an obvious choice, but the rebuilding works aren’t going to make the old path / platform-supply delays go away until said works are completed. If you were already used to a 10/15-minute crawl into London Bridge station itself, you’re not losing out on much, and buses can pick you up and drop you off on the street, rather than at a much more limited set of stations on top of viaducts.

    I used the 47 service from Lewisham to London Bridge when I was doing Jury Duty at Southwark Crown Court about 10 years ago, and it was definitely quicker than the train once you talk the walks at each end into account. This was despite the one-way system around Surrey Quays station.

  324. Anomnibus says:

    I should probably add that buses also tend to be more frequent than Southeastern’s own services, so there’s often less waiting involved too.

  325. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anomnibus – I don’t disagree with your general remark that buses may well be a valid alternative. The problem, though, is that a number of bus services are now badly overloaded in the peak. The 47 is one such service given it’s had a near 60% increase in patronage in just over 10 years. I’ve created a rather “rough and ready” capacity calculator for bus routes and the 47 flags up as needing more capacity. I’d never claim my calculation is statistically robust but it gives a suggestion that there may be problems on a route. I’ve also read a lot of anecdotal comments that the route is under strain.

    Several other routes in the same area as the 47 such as the C10 and 188 are also heavily loaded. The 381 doesn’t seem quite so bad. When there were problems with the Jubilee Line resignalling these routes were badly overloaded and had to have extra peak journeys added. I suspect TfL would happily run extra buses during the closure provided they don’t have to pay for them. I don’t see the DfT or South Eastern rushing to the project piggy bank to pay for extra buses.

  326. timbeau says:

    @ Anomnibus
    Frequency is irrelevant to waiting time if you know the timetable, as most regulars will.
    North Greenwich: well over a mile from Greenwich proper – nearer two if you can’t walk on water: Canada Water is probably nearer

    @WW As for Lewisham and Greenwich being in the same zone, remember that South of the Thames (and east of the Lea) , PAYG fares using NR + DLR or Tube are higher than NR-only (which are in turn higher than TfL-only fares (or should that be TfMx?)
    And because of the convenient locatoins of the southern terminals, many NR users still only need point-to-point seasons rather than zonal travelcards.
    “TfL will want to avoid people gaining the equivalent of Zone 1 Travelcard validity if they hold a South Eastern season into London Terminals. ”
    It should be posssible to enable the ticket gates at Cannon Street, Blackfriars, Embankment, Charing Cross, Waterloo and London Bridge to recognise “London Terminals” seasons (as they do at Baker Street for example) , thus allowing the Underground to only be used to transfer between where you ended up and where you wanted to be (or where you are and where your train is going from)

    “Greenwich and Lewisham sit on the Z23 boundary” … so you only need a Z12 travelcard or fare to go up to town. But for some the most direct route will be via Charlton, which is in Zone 3. Will this be permitted?
    We have a similar anomaly out west – Strawberry Hill is in Zone 5, but half the direct trains from Waterloo pass through Zone 6 to get there, and there are consequently two different prices of point-to-point ticket.

  327. Anomnibus says:

    @Walthamstow Writer:

    Capacity may well be a problem today; it’s been a while since I used the 47 myself. However, the problem is mainly due to the A200 itself, which has the traditional London “variwidth” design. There are only so many vehicles you can squeeze onto it, and there aren’t any real alternatives.

    I daresay trams might be worth looking at in future as they can provide a higher capacity, but the prospect of closing large chunks of the A200 (or the A2!) while laying the tracks don’t bear thinking about.

    What the 47 bus route needs, I contend, is some kind of longer, articulated, vehicle that can provide greater capacity. Something like… a Mercedes Citaro G.

  328. HTFB says:

    Is it news that Charing Cross seems to be closing entirely on Sundays? On the Bexleyheath line on Sundays we do gain the service to Victoria but lose anything at all via London Bridge.

  329. timbeau says:

    I hadn’t spotted that!
    (Actually, it will have a service on Sundays – departures at 0002, 0015, and 0022)

  330. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau – your gate reprogramming idea is technically feasible but it’s not sophisticated enough to stop some level of revenue loss. You could probably do something cleverer but not sure how you take into account season tickets issued and encoded many months ago on the basis of current arrangements. Clearly there may well be easements to allow “backwards” travel via Charlton without penalty and we have to wait to see what the TOCs, DfT and TfL come up with. I do get a sense that the full set of temporary and permanent changes caused by the Thameslink works will simply exacerbate the lingering dislike of South Eastern by London area commuters. It is also likely to turn political at some point.

  331. ngh says:

    Re HTFB

    Presumably to allow work on the new platforms that the trains will have to pass by without stopping the other 6 days a week during some parts of phase 2. So technically news but I had suspected that might be the case for a long time as night working wouldn’t be that productive.

  332. IslandDweller says:

    “Residents of Deptford and Greenwich might want to consider using the buses anyway”
    Buses might be viable for London Br area, but if you’re aiming for Trafalgar Sq then the bus journey becomes painfully slow.
    On the ticketing issue. Could someone who understands railway rules better than me answer this… If a commuter has a rail season ticket (rail only, not a travelcard) for Greenwich to CharingX, is the railway clearly obliged to provide some form of free replacement alternative travel (given that there will suddenly not be any rail route from Greenwich to CharingX). Is there scope for DfT /Southeastern to just say “tough – buy a travelcard instead”.

  333. Chris L says:

    There is no so thing as a season ticket to Charing Cross. The tickets show London terminals.

    A Zone 1/2 Travelcard is valid on the DLR between Lewisham & Greenwich so no need to travel via Charlton.

    The real problem for the Greenwich/Woolwich area is that most trains (and the DLR) head to the City area. A lot of people want the West End. Mind you it has to be remembered that Bank station (for the Central Line) is a very short walk from cannon Street.

  334. Southern Heights says:

    @ HTFB: Look at Saturdays as well, for the Orpington services: Nothing before 8:06 and a massive gap between 21:06 and 00:15….

    Sundays: Nothing to Charing Cross. Mind you, last train from Cannon St. to Orpington 01:02 on Monday morning….

  335. timbeau says:

    “your gate reprogramming idea is technically feasible”
    As I said, some TfL ticket gates do recognise “London terminals” tickets

    “but it’s not sophisticated enough to stop some level of revenue loss. ”
    Tough – let’s share the pain a bit. Anyway, so it gives a few SE ticket holders a free ride from Cannon Street to Charing Cross which they would otherwise have had to pay for (or go via London Bridge).

    “A Zone 1/2 Travelcard is valid on the DLR between Lewisham & Greenwich so no need to travel via Charlton.”
    You can’t use the DLR (or go to Lewisham) if you have a point to point season, as many do. (Greenwich – London terminals annual season: £740, Z1/2 annual Travelcard £1256) If you work near Charing Cross, that’s a big difference.

    “Mind you it has to be remembered that Bank station (for the Central Line) is a very short walk from cannon Street.”
    But Charing Cross (and Waterloo for those going there, or wanting to change to an SWT service) are not such a short walk from any Central Line station -indeed the Drain would actually be slightly more useful. And again, you would have to pay more for a less convenient journey.

    And remember, this is not just for a week or two – this is the long haul: England might win the World Cup before it will again be possible to change at London Bridge.

  336. Southern Heights says:

    From the timetable it looks like New Cross is going to become very crowded, I wonder if that’s the driver behind the lift going in now…

    Are they planning a second tunnel as well? The current one is very cramped.

  337. Greg Tingey says:

    This London Terminals bit is interesting
    The Boss has one such – it’s a lot cheaper than a Z123 & she walks to work from Liverpool St, onwards to Cheapside.
    However, occasionally (Much less frequently than under WANGLIA) the direct service falls down & punters are, correctly, told: “you can use the tube”
    However, she actually wants to exit at Aldersgate & Barbican, as the nearest stop to work.
    And the tube grippers tell her, that she MUST go forward (i.e. back) to LST – which is a longer journey.
    So far, she has snarled at them for a minute or two, & then they have always let her out.
    What are the actual rules for this, I wonder?

  338. Greg Tingey says:

    If / when the Walthamstow Central / Midland (Queens Rd) walking route opens, would W’stow – Barking – Fenchurch St be valid under such circumstances?
    ( Obviously not, if the normal service was running)

  339. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @Island Dweller – in theory I guess South Eastern could say “tough” but the reality is that the passenger is not at fault here. There are obviously no guarantees that train services remain unchanged forever but this is a project that is removing the ability to change trains to reach certain destinations with certain types of ticket. The public will rightly expect not to be burdened with additional expense through no fault of their own. They have limited choice about accepting the reduced train service and longer journey times for several years.

    I expect the basic issue is that people will want a much better set of alternative arrangements (services and ticketing) than will be offered but such is life. I am thankful that I rarely have to use South Eastern’s services so I am a mere observer. I might feel differently if they decide the GOBLIN has to close for months on end for the upcoming electrification works!

  340. RayK says:

    @SE Driver 29 June 2014 at 18:38
    “platforms 4,5 and 6 being closed at london bridge for 18 months from January 2015”

    Either something has changed or SE Driver is misinformed on this. Thus far the LBG rebuild has gone to timetable and after new p12 & 13 are brought into use in Aug. the new p10 & 11 are due to be completed and brought into use by Jan. 2015. All through lines are(were) then planned to remain in use until May 2015 when p6 and the bypass line are withdrawn from service and the CHX service pass through begins.
    Best description of the planned stages and their timings is to found above at:- ngh 8 April 2014 at 00:09.
    Note that the plans show, at any stage, at least five through lines in use and at least three through platforms in use.
    If Thames link services are to rerouted from Jan 2015 I can’t see any reason not to go straight from Stage 1B to Stage 2 (which appears to be just an expansion of the Centre Core Stage). Can anybody else confirm or deny this change?

  341. timbeau says:

    @Ray K
    Either something has changed or the article in April is misinformed on this.

    From the horse’s mouth:
    “From January 2015, construction work will start on Southeastern platforms 4, 5 and 6 at London Bridge station. ………..This means:
    From January 2015 – August 2016: Charing Cross services won’t be able to stop at London Bridge.
    From August 2016 – early 2018: Cannon Street services won’t be able to stop at London Bridge.”

    The link in the 8th April post is broken.

  342. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    A little more detail has now emerged, I’ll update the 8th April post shortly. The original planning drawings were never a complete set / info source.

    **Firstly the connection between the Southern and SE Lines on the approaches is removed over Christmas /New Year 2014/15 blockade.**

    “Core and Stage 2 enabler” Phase (Jan-May 2015) involves just 2 tracks in use to CHX, UP Loop and P4 for the down services (with no stopping). This enables the demolition of the P5/6 island in addition to the P8-9 and former P7 area on the low level side. (not shown in PP drawing).
    Much demolition… not much construction.

    ** Hence no capacity for TL services via LBG as just 2 tracks**

    Stage 2 (not including 2a) has 2 sub stages 2/1, 2/2,

    2/1 (HL03 May to Aug 2015) Up line switches to P5 alignment with slew at the the CHX end to the current Up alignment which needs the demolition of the CHX end of P5/6 island (as per planning permission drawing) during the core phase.
    Concludes demolition of the rest of the existing between the white line on the edge of P5 and the new P10

    2/2 (HL06 Aug -Dec 2015) Construct new P9,8,7 and install track on Borough Market Viaduct.

    2a (Jan 2016…) Use new track through new P9,8,7 and new viaduct, refurbish the old viaduct.

    The Phasing on the SE side also has to align with the Bermondsey dive under and complete reconstruction of all track to New Cross…

  343. RayK says:

    My thanks to Timbeau and ngh
    **Firstly the connection between the Southern and SE Lines on the approaches is removed over Christmas /New Year 2014/15 blockade.**
    I expect this will enable the demolition of the TL/Sussex Fast viaduct at Bermondsey so that the diveunder boxes can then be constructed.

  344. Southern Heights says:

    A huge tangle of reinforcing steel has suddenly appeared in the newly fenced off area at London Bridge. What is somewhat strange is that it appears to be at an angle to how the bridge will run…

  345. ngh says:

    Re Ray K
    Correct on the diveunder construction.

  346. Melvyn says:

    Details of Thameslink programme can be found on their site with link below –

    As for alternative route from South East London to West End then jubilee line provides this although its Bond Street station will be closed until December then exit only until new year.

    It seems that provision of rail replacement buses occurs for short term closures but nothing often happens for long term closures unless its a TFL service like the Overground closure which included replacement buses a few years ago !

  347. MikeP says:

    Hadn’t seen that one before, Melvyn. Seems the whole website has had a makeover with better information than was there before. Someone must have been reading LR 🙂

    I don’t recall seeing this regarding ticket acceptance/routing before. Shame it’s an “objective” and not a “commitment”. The reference to “crucial work” sounds like a mealy-mouthed get-out clause.

  348. ngh says:

    Re Mike P
    Indeed but it may not always be entirely correct on the TL website they currently say P5-9 will be closed from January 2015 however P4 will also effectively be closed as they won’t be able to stop trains there as they need to get upto 28tph through but only 14-16tph max would be realistic if stopping services at P4. And they recently released draft timetables suggest services diverted to Cannon Street at weekends etc when services levels are lower. P4 will technically be open as circulating space for P3 as they are the same island.
    A small difference between technically and practically correct…

  349. Southern Heights says:

    And the whole through trains to St Pancras begins again…

  350. Graham Feakins says:

    @Southern Heights – I suppose the trouble is that those who complain today either have short memories or unaware that the relatively few rush hour services starting at Beckenham Junction/Kent House only ever went (since electrification, anyway)as far as Blackfriars and vice versa in the first place. Whilst some changed at Blackfriars for the very short hop to/from Holborn Viaduct, it will be understood that those services were never intended to provide much beyond that but were always provided as a convenient service to the City. Hence I see no significant problem in reverting to the original arrangement of terminating those peak trains at Blackfriars. Today, a similar change at Blackfriars will still get one to City Thameslink (effectively Holborn Viaduct Low Level in old money) and beyond if desired.

  351. More properly in Losing the plot whilst looping the loop but the comment in the report is exactly the point I was trying to make:

    The Department of Transport confirmed it intends to safeguard the Wimbledon Loop ahead of south-east lines, despite Network Rail previously recommending transport is shared across the south.

    As I originally wrote:

    To add to the ease of making the decision is the fact that those who will lose out have still not been fully identified, as the department still has not told us what other routes would have otherwise formed part of Thameslink.

    So, for a fair an proper consultation, this should have been known about at the time of the Wimbledon Loopy Decision. It is too late for the people of Beckenham, or anyone else, to argue their case and they couldn’t have argued it earlier as they did not know whether or not it would affect them.

  352. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – on one hand I can understand people being a bit upset if they lose a service they’ve relied on if only for a short time. On the other hand “get real people (of Bromley)!”. I haven’t got direct rail or tube services to many places so I have to change. Perhaps I should start a campaign for direct Victoria Line services to Charing Cross, London Bridge, Blackfriars and Paddington? It is not the end of the world to have to change between routes / lines even if people don’t especially like it. As you say it is all too late now for Thameslink. You have to wonder if the residents of Beckenham understand the new Thameslink trains will be huge (mostly) and much more frequent than now making connections relatively simple and straightforward?

  353. Malcolm says:

    Sorry to nitpick slightly, but I do not quite see how a huge train (or even a mostly huge train) is any easier to change to/from than a tiny one. If anything it’s harder, because there’s more penalty for being at the wrong end!

  354. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Walthamstow Writer,

    I have no particular sympathy for the people of the loop or Beckenham or anywhere else. I agree with you that the greater benefit of Thameslink for the people of Beckenham etc (even if it involves a change at Blackfriars) alone ought to give them cause not to complain. I am just saying this dissatisfaction was bound to happen when you are trying to balance the desires of an identified group (Wimbledon loop users) with another group, not yet identified. When the other group find out they are bound to feel they haven’t had their say.

    In my personal opinion they should never have made the loop decision before they identified who would lose out and would therefore not be given a timely opportunity to have a say. How much this should have been allowed to influence the routes selected compared to establishing a robust timetable that benefitted the maximum number of users is another matter.

  355. Dan says:


    It is easier to change to/from a huge train than to/from a smaller train if both have the same number of passengers. For example, if a 4-car train is so full that you can’t board it then by replacing it with a 12-car train with the same number of passengers should make boarding easier. That is until suppressed demand results in the 12-car train being as equally rammed a few years later.

  356. Dan says:

    A better outcome for the Wimbledon Loop would be transfer to Overground. Tfl could use the money saved by running Crossrail 2 direct from Clapham Junction to Wimbledon to build two new platforms at Blackfriars on the western side of the station, new stations at Walworth Road and Camberwell, partial grade separation at Herne Hill and double track through Wimbledon station. They could operate a 8 (or more) x 8-car service into Blackfriars which should be attractive to some of the current users of Northern Line and make the loss of direct connection to St Pancras a bit more acceptable.

  357. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Malcolm – all I was trying to say, perhaps with some imprecision, was that the Beckenham users may not be aware that they will be gaining new trains which may well offer more capacity than now. In short has anyone tried to “sell” Thameslink’s overall benefits to them or are we yet again suffering from “you can’t change *my* train syndrome”? As we have remarked before Thameslink does not seem to be “on the front foot” when it comes to explaining the longer term gain while users face years of disruption in the short term. It’s all very well people banging on about reaching Kings Cross (or not) on direct trains but what’s so special about that? There are wider benefits from the new links *north* of Kings Cross plus the higher service levels through the core.

    I completely take PoP’s point about consultation but the whole thing was a mess because it got hijacked by the “who shouts loudest” contingent. I recognise there is now a duty to consult placed on government but I do wonder how that sits alongside the concept of private companies having “commercial freedom” to set out train service patterns and frequencies in a subsequent franchise competition? It strikes me that Thameslink south of the Thames has become horribly compromised by trying to keep too many groups of people “happy” and we have infrastructure being built at great cost which may not be used which is even sillier.

  358. Greg Tingey says:

    Give it until about 2018-2020, & the services will be changed, anyway.
    old to the shouters of Wombledon by giving them a 15-minute service, that terminates @ Blackfriars, I suspect – unless, of course we have approval for CR2 by then.
    Which will change everything agin.
    Provided, of course, that the shouters ( Worcester Park? ) are ignored…

  359. Graham Feakins says:

    @WW et. al. – I fear there may be some confusion here concerning the Beckenham services (Beckenham Junction and Kent House peak services – all via Herne Hill and starting/terminating at said stations). Even after Thameslink started, they long only ran as far as Blackfriars (some were extended as far as City Thameslink but were cut back). That is the intended future pattern. To quote from Govia: “Additional services to/from Blackfriars will be operated by Southeastern in place of the ‘peak extras’ that will cease to be part of this regular Thameslink pattern”. Thus Beckenham passengers will not “be gaining new trains which may well offer more capacity than now” and Southeastern will replace like-for-like today’s Thameslink services but they will in future once again terminate at Blackfriars.

    For the avoidance of doubt, most trains serving Beckenham Junction and Kent House run on the Victoria route and there are only three morning peak trains (perhaps four if you count the one shortly after 05.00) which start at Beckenham Junction towards Blackfriars and only ONE which starts from nearby Kent House. There are no other through trains which happen to stop at Beckenham Junction on their way to Blackfriars, if indeed any do in the first place. Everything else goes via the Catford Loop. Thus the latest ‘political’ and commuter fuss is hardly worth a light, is it?

    As for the Wimbledon Loop saga, another point that perhaps needs a reminder is that the argument stemmed from (a) those on the Catford Loop via Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye being initially assured that their services would run through beyond Blackfriars (with hopefully, perhaps, an increased frequency above the 2tph by providing another 2tph starting from Bellingham and later Bromley South), *then* (b) the proposal that the Wimbledon Loop services would thenceforth terminate at Blackfriars, then (c) the fuss made by Wimbledon Loop folk over that and (d) the resultant compromise of Wimbledon Loop services running through after all with the consequent loss/non-starter of increased through services on the Catford Loop. Of course, the local worry was then that all Catford Loop services would have to terminate at Blackfriars instead of the Wimbledon Loop ones.

    So, reading comments here and elsewhere on LR, it is clear that many have lost the reasoning behind the Wimbledon Loop pressure for through trains, as it only concerns the services on the two loops – Wimbledon and Catford.

    As things are, everyone now seems reasonably satisfied, save the latest eruption from the Kent House/Beckenham Junction area, who are lamenting the intended loss of a precious few through peak-only services beyond Blackfriars via Herne Hill. They will still run to Blackfriars and there remain the stable connections at Herne Hill between Victoria and Thameslink services during all other times.

    If they can increase the Wimbledon Loop services, then surely those extras can run as far as and terminate at the otherwise nearly empty terminating platforms at Blackfriars (say 4tph through and 2tph terminating or whatever). Storms around teacup handles come to mind.

  360. Graham Feakins says:

    P.S. Reviewing my own reference to “political fuss”, I am reminded that local politicians jump on local constituents’ complaining ‘facts’ without themselves checking them and then spouting forth. I am guilty of that with my own MP (Tessa Jowell), who faithfully made a complaint on my behalf regarding a proposed telecommunications mast, which I mistakenly quoted as going to be 20 metres high. In fact, it was ‘only’ 20 feet! She got it stopped, though…. I didn’t dare admit my error at the time.

  361. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham Feakins,

    I am pretty sure all the slots into the platforms are spoken for at Blackfriars post 2018. The reason they aren’t used now is that the paths leading up to them are and will be used by Thameslink pre-2018 by the through Thameslink via East Croydon service (4 paths) and they are reserved to cater for future services that are currently through but will need to terminate there by 2018 and it seems like we will now see them much earlier.

    Network Rail seems to currently treat the Blackfriars terminating platforms as a super place to divert trains to during engineering works but doesn’t want any permanent stuff there yet because it would clog up the network and they have learnt that they won’t be able to get rid of any such service post-2018 such is the political pressure.

    A classic case of temporary use, which you yourself pointed out to me, is East Grinstead – Blackfriars during the August blockade.

  362. Graham Feakins says:

    @PoP – I was basically referring to 2018 services onwards. What other services to fill those slots did you have in mind for those terminating platforms from 2018?

  363. Theban says:

    Blackfriars is not going to be a popular place to change in the morning for passengers travelling northbound. The trains people need to board are likely to be very busy at best, or hopelessly busy at worst.

    I agree with WW that Thameslink has not been on the front foot in explaining the long term benefit from several years of disruption but I doubt it would have made much difference. Those who will see the biggest benefit are not those who will have “enjoyed” the years of disruption.

    Passengers from Cambridge, for instance, will like being able to get a through train to Gatwick Airport after 2018 but between 2014 and 2018 are barely inconvenienced by the redevelopment.

    There is widespread recognition that the West Coast Mainline upgrade was a nightmare project which, in part, is why rather than upgrade again HS2 is planned. I suspect in retrospect the same will come to be seen about the Thameslink Project and that the pain has been disproportionate to the gain. Something needed to be done, but I don’t think this was it.

    Since many of the same passengers will be affected by any BML upgrade works, I think Thameslink is likely to have a huge impact on any BML upgrades which involve considerable disruption. Passengers and their MPs, I predict, will be saying to Network Rail that they must find a way to improve BML which doesn’t require more years of disruption.

    I also wonder whether at the end of the project somebody will do a post-mortem. In PRINCE that is part of the project management discipline. Is it possible that the extra costs of spreading the project out so long and having to keep services running (at least to a fashion) throughout might in hindsight have ended up costing more than putting a new twin bore tunnel between somewhere south of London Bridge and St Pancras?

  364. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham Feakins

    I really can’t remember (and can’t be bothered to work it out) but I am quite sure there is no available terminal capacity because that is what Paul Harwood (Network Rail) said when in front of the GLA transport committee last March .

  365. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham F – thanks for the “teach in”. As I have said before I am not very knowledgeable about “Southern Region” services so apologies if I’ve got the facts wrong. One day I might understand where the trains go but the next few years is perhaps not the best time to learn! I guess what all this shows is that there are lots of us clueless or partly clueless people around and far too many hares are set running with the help of a clueless media. I still think the DfT could be more assertive about what Thameslink will deliver although I accept Theban’s comment that those south of the river may be underwhelmed at the end of all the work.

  366. James Bunting says:

    @ Theban at 1344

    It will not only be the morning northbound change that will be difficult. The southbound evening will be worse. Those travelling to destinations to Beckenham Junction will have two choices. Either take any train from north of Blackfriars and do a walk across the Thames and back to get from Platform 1 to Platforms 3 and 4, or wait for a Wimbledon train, changing at Herne Hill to an already crowded Orpington service out of Victoria. Having tasted a through train they are, understandably, not happy about it being taken away again.

  367. Anonymous says:

    Apparently the off peak “pain” here at Purley is to have 2 of our London Bridge services diverted to Thameslink and a doubling of the service to Gatwick. Brighton will have an extra train per hour and Gatx has new trains. All from next January. The pain will be for a small number of trains into London Bridge. Of course the real pain will be for Southeastern passengers who have precisely no gain from Thameslink.

  368. Graham Feakins says:

    That’s OK WW; maybe one day I should organise an afternoon out in ex-SR (Central & Southeastern) Metro territory for LR readers (Travelcards &c. at the ready) so that I can show those interested first hand some of the layout of the services and routes not easily obtained by glancing at maps. You and Theban are right about being underwhelmed – we are now, let alone at the end of the project! My particular route via Tulse Hill to London Bridge (and LOROL to Clapham Junction) has been blocked most weekends since Christmas, so we’re getting used to it. Doesn’t earn the railways any revenue, though.

    @PoP – I’d forgotten what Paul Harwood of Network Rail had said (your links to the ‘broadcast’ now broken) but you summarised thus: “a proposed service was from Orpington but that this will now run via Elephant & Castle or at least we presume this is true. So it would appear that the bay platforms at Blackfriars will be used to 2tph from Orpington with the remaining 6tph likely to be coming from a combination (0 or more) of Kent House, Beckenham Junction, Bellingham and Rochester.”

    Thus, presumably that is 2tph out of today’s 6tph Orpington – Charing Cross and 2tph Orpington – Cannon Street off-peak via London Bridge, except that I thought the Bellingham service (new) had migrated to Bromley South and was intended for Victoria via the Catford Loop rather than Blackfriars, not that there’s been any whisper of it recently at all.

    I can’t see Kent House being used for an all-day 2tph reversing service on the Chatham main line, even if there are loop platforms there – the run between there and London is too short to bother about (BTW a short walk around the corner from Kent House is Clock House on the Mid-Kent line, serving London Bridge), and the bay platform at Beckenham Junction (where trains would reverse) is at present used for most of the day as a stabling siding, so that leaves the Rochester service.

    Even if cleared, services to/from that ‘siding’ (bay Platform 4) would block the main line during movements across it (ditto Kent House), whilst one also has to consider the Herne Hill junctions further up the line, where there would be even more conflicting movements than now between the Thameslink and Victoria services. That’s why Bellingham/Bromley South via the Catford Loop is preferred.

    Maybe we won’t know much more until the 2018 Southeastern franchise renewal period.

  369. MikeP says:

    @Theban – If only these long-term disruptions that upgrades lead to were properly understood by those who claim that nice, simple, cheap upgrades to the network will be just a s good as, if not better than, HS2 🙂

    Back to topic – maybe us Dartfordians should join in the clamour and demand our TL service that was around in the plans 5+ years ago. Then if we get the local MP on board, we can ask him where the paths would magically come from whereas if TfL had taken over SE Metro, the rail service to the coast would have been destroyed.

  370. Greg Tingey says:

    Maybe those confused persons should consult “Carto Metro” more often? Though that does not show what actual, current/past/future services are actually running – another problem entirely.But I do like the idea of a day out – there are one or two excellent pubs, tucked away in odd corners of sarf Lunnon, strange to say.

    Mike P
    Love your snark about the MP…….

  371. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I imagine people may already be aware but GoVia have provided some additional info sheets about the different service groupings covered by the new franchise and the planned improvements. It also gives some info on rolling stock changes.

    One interesting little highlight is a plan to extend Oyster PAYG to Luton Airport Parkway and to have smart ticketing on the shuttle bus to the Airport terminal. Not clear that this means Oyster per se but if Oyster does reach that bus service then that’s an interesting precedent. The plan is contingent on TfL’s agreement but mirrors the proposal to have Oyster PAYG valid to Gatwick. It’s not clear if Oyster will be extended to intermediate stations north of Mill Hill Broadway to Luton.

    Two other interesting aspects are the increased “first to last train” staffing arrangements at a lot of stations plus oodles more ticket gates. Not sure I can see how Hornsey and Ally Pally can be gated but hey! I am also pleased to see the Moorgate GN line gaining 4 tph to WGC and Hertford North at off peak times so that’s a 7-8 min joint headway which will be reasonably attractive to people.

  372. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Sorry to double up on posts but looking at the main presentation I see a desire on the part of Govia to extend Oyster PAYG to cover the entire “Metro” area so out to Epsom, Hertford N, Welwyn GC plus Luton / Gatwick Airports. This is on top of franchise wide ITSO ticketing too. If that all happens then it’s quite a shift in policy by the DfT but mildly ironic given TfL will (probably) be moving away from “clever” Oyster to “dumb” Oyster if the later phases of the Future Ticketing Project are approved.

  373. RichardB says:

    @ Graham Feakins I certainly like the idea of a day or an afternoon out exploring the unknown or little known transport choices offered in South London. I live in the south west and I think the old Southern Railway network in South London is a remarkable asset in spite of the unfortunate engineering legacies that the former SER and LC&DR have bequeathed us at places like Lewisham.

  374. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Of course the real pain will be for Southeastern passengers who have precisely no gain from Thameslink.

    Well, I have argued it actually makes their situation slightly worse except possibly they got Tanners Hill flydown doubled. As an alternative viewpoint with rather more authority, at the Kent Rail Summit mentioned in “HS1 to Hastings?” the head of South Eastern did seem rather upbeat and about it. I am not sure if he was just being politik or not. He did say that SouthEastern would get a super new station at London Bridge.

    I suppose that is true and there is a limit to how much more people capacity the old station could have handled. He did not say this in so many words but his sentiment was that it would also get those horrible Thameslink trains off his patch. Not only do they take up both route and platform slots but they get priority. I am sure all railway managers are convinced other services get undeserved priority over theirs whether true or not.

    I do think he has a point and we should not just obsess too much about number of trains before and after which I have to admit is what I have been doing. I suspect that a case could be made that it is worth the pain for SouthEastern management and passengers just to get over the problem of platform 6, reputedly the busiest in Europe, which is surely going to be more and more untenable as years go on.

  375. Theban says:

    I love platform 6 at LB. It is a fantastic place to change, made even better by the neighbouring platform 5 being almost as busy. I am going to miss it – definitely one of the negative outcomes of the Thameslink upgrade.

  376. Long Branch Mike (Faisons un tour du sud-est) says:

    @ Graham Feakins

    I’d be very interested in such a tour as well. Any chance of August 9 or 10 or the following weekend? Would gladly pay for your pub fare.

  377. Anonymous says:


    Sorry if it’s obvious, but do you understand the Caterham-Welwyn off peaks to be all-stations or semi/fasts?

  378. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – would the Head of South Eastern have been Mr C Horton? If it was then he must have known he was possibly in the frame to be, oh, CEO of the TSGN operating company. 😉 He has a new train set to play with and can enjoy wielding the wand of operating priority.

    If the end result of the Thameslink works are that South Eastern’s trains actually get through London Bridge smoothly and reliably without crawling / halting on the approaches then that must surely be worth something? We must also wait to see what, if anything, can be agreed in the direct award deal to extend the current SE franchise term. Given some of the things proposed for TSGN one wonders if the DfT might “twist South Eastern’s arm” to be a bit more reasonable about Oyster, station staffing and off peak services. In other words a form of “Overground lite” as a short term benefit up to franchise renewal but recognising the constraints on train services because of the London Bridge works. I imagine SE will be under pressure not to reverse the short term gain of a regular, daily Victoria – Lewisham – Bexleyheath line service once all the disruption has ended. If they can keep that service going then they might gain some brownie points from regular SE users.

    @ Anon 1459 – my reading of the service pattern map is that Caterham – WGC is peak hours only. It runs both ways in the peak between Finsbury Park and Caterham with WGC only served in the peak direction – i.e. from WGC in the AM peak and to WGC in the PM peak. Presumably there will be some clever operating with trains terminating at F Park n/b in the AM peak and starting from there in the PM peak. I think it is impossible to know from the map what the detailed stopping pattern would be (Govia say as much themselves!).

  379. Anonymous says:

    Re Caterham-WGC I would guess that as the current peak Caterham/Tattenham is fast from Norwodd Junction then the same will be for the new ones. However the question that occurred to me was will the peak Tattenhams stop at South Croydon and Purley Oaks as now or will this be left to the Caterhams (no service loss but no service gain). There does seem to be a doubling of capacity Caterham and Tattenham to LBG at the peak.

  380. @Walthamstow Writer,

    Of course. I overlooked that (to my shame).

    @Anonymous 16:54

    The London Bridge (future Thameslink) services will no longer split at Purley so roughly doubling that service. But in future it is proposed that the Victoria ones will. I can’t imagine any overall improvement until East Croydon gets sorted out in the next decade and even then there is no guarantee that the extra paths will be used on metro services.

  381. Greg Tingey says:

    So GoVia’s policy wrt Oyster is the exact opposite to SWT – who refuse to use it outside the GLA area, even on a self-contained branch, like Shepperton – which can be a real pain, let me tell you….
    I wonder if guvmint/DafT/GLA will get involved in arm-twisring if this sort of gross inconsistency goes on?

    LBM & others
    Got to remember that GBBF is 12-16th August, so not that week, I’m afraid ….

  382. MikeP says:

    @Greg – Not so re: SWT – Ewell West is in Zone 6 and accepts Oyster, following a strong campaign from EEBC ex-colleagues, and is outwith the GLA area.

    Stoneleigh had always been in Zone 5 despite also being in Epsom & Ewell, presumably because it’s right up against the boundary.

    The talk from GoVia of Epsom finally entering Zone 6 (also long campaigned for) will be music to everyone’s ears (except, I guess, SWT)

  383. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – All I can do is try to “read the runes”. My sense is that since Baroness Kramer replaced Norman Baker at the DfT there has been a bit of a change towards Oyster. I suspect she sees it as a “no brainer” sort of issue if it makes life simpler for people. Stephen Hammond represents a London constituency so knows all about how Oyster is valued so why would they deprive people of something they’re asking for? If I was asked to guess I suspect Norman Baker was a very keen advocate of ITSO and perhaps not so keen on Oyster. That might explain some of the inertia in getting Oyster extended as far as was rumoured (e.g. on bits of FCC / GA).

    The programme of direct awards for franchise extensions gives an ideal opportunity to extend Oyster “over the border” to logical railheads and it would bring benefits to commuters likely to vote Tory so there’s electoral sense too. It also neatly sidesteps the “TfL takeover” nonsense from politicians outside Greater London. Extending Oyster to a few stations is small beer in the context of a wider franchise deal possibly worth hundreds of millions of pounds so *if* the DfT have changed their minds there are some sensible opportunities to deliver some easy wins in the run up to the election. I’m just speculating but I am pleasantly surprised by what is included in the TSGN scope of improvements and look forward to them being implemented. They could provide impetus for similar changes elsewhere.

  384. AlisonW says:

    Every time someone mentions the Thameslink core I again feel the wrong design choices were made over Blackfriars. Instead of the bay platforms to the side – making changing trains so painful except if northbound from 3 to 2 – if they’d gone with the ‘Dalston Junction’ plan of the bays in the middle and the throughs outside then all interchanges would have been cross-platform (or via end of platform, but not requiring going up or down to get over). Why was that?

  385. Greg Tingey says:

    Indeed – interesting, isn’t it?
    Maybe there ought to be a rule that: “If it’s an all-stations suburban service, then the terminus of that service should be the limit for Oyster”
    Examples, some of which already take Oyster, I think :
    Dartford, Sevenoaks, Caterham, Tattenham Corner, Epsom (or Leatherhead?), Feltham (Staines?), Watford (any route), Hertford (either route) & Welwyn GC, Shenfield, Grays (Tilbury Town?)

  386. ngh says:

    Re WW

    The spread of Oyster:
    DfT can probably see the effect of extra usage and revenue that Oyster brings in as soon as it can be introduced rather than an ITSO based solution that always promisies jam tomorrow. Far easier to roll out Oyster now and then introduce an ITSO based system later if you want to bring the users in (and their money) if you want to reduce subsidies.

    Or may be also increase user numbers to help make it easier to justify new capacity improvements.

  387. Long Branch Mike (Faisons un tour du sud-est) says:

    @Greg T

    “Got to remember that GBBF is 12-16th August”

    Good Lord, I’d forgotten it was the Great Britain Billiards Final! 😉

  388. Melvyn says:

    The spread of OYSTER is more likely connected to the spread of Southern KEY smartcard which is ITSO compliant and is gradually expanding its use on Southern and with Govia winning the combined TSGN franchise then its Key card will no doubt have oyster added in due course . Govia also run South Eastern and London Midland !

    As for Wimbledon loop services this seems to be connected with those who like west London with WEZ know how to lobby but whatever is promised the limited capacity of Snow Hill connection must mean its going to be a case of use it or use it and I mean travelling beyond Central zone.

    Its worth remembering that rebuild of Blackfriars lead to temporary extension of services beyond Blackfriars .

    For South Eastern passengers they should look at new 2 track route above London Bridge onto which their trains will be diverted as part of increase in through platforms helping to separate their trains from Thameslink trains .

  389. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Walthamstow Writer,

    I don’t know whether you are right or wrong about Norman Baker but it could explain a lot. I am starting to sense a potential conflict building up between:

    i) London based politicians or ones that represent London and other London based significant people taking the attitude that we have an model and ideas that work so lets extend that to the rest of the country.

    ii) the non-London based who pursue their ideas and think that London, being the minor element, needs to get in step with the rest of the country.

    It will end in tears.


    Simple answer. It was more important to avoid conflicting train movements that to provide convenient interchange. A comparison with Dalston Junction is not valid because the approach is two track at Dalston and you don’t have the additional issue there of a junction immediately to the south of the station.

  390. AlisonW says:

    PoP: thank you for reminding me. I knew I should know the reason why but I was thinking about passengers again. Silly me ;0

  391. Greg Tingey says:

    Thank you for nothing… try HERE, instead !!

  392. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ NGH – good point about the extra revenue and patronage from offering Oyster over the boundary. I assume they have seen what has happened with Greater Anglia and C2C where there have been extensions. Of course the more you stretch Oyster outwards it will also encourage travel from in London who may want to use Oyster now but have to rebook with another ticket. Also the “auto extension” beyond zones also makes Oyster very convenient for occasional trips.

    @ Melvyn – you’re mixing your technologies. ITSO and Oyster have different security provisions so you need ticketing and IT infrastructure that can cope with both. That now exists on Southern so it’s no shock to see TSGN incorporating an expansion of the Key (ITSO) to their entire network. It makes a great deal of sense to do that even though the DfT will have demanded ITSO ticketing. What was a genuine surprise was the franchise commitment to *also* extend Oyster to what Govia term the “metro area” and Luton Airport which is an additional commitment. Let’s just hope it happens and that we get sensible extensions like Greater Anglia out to Hertford East and SWT accepting Oyster to Epsom so there is coherence in the offer to the public.

  393. IslandDweller says:

    Oyster to Gatwick would be great. But doesn’t the new franchise also perpetuate “premium” fares for trains branded express? How would Oyster cope with that? I seem to recollect (happy to be corrected by the many folk on here who know more than me) that Oyster is close to the number of fare “zones” that it can handle?

  394. Graham Feakins says:

    @Richard B, LBM, Greg T & anyone else interested – Afternoon out on ‘Southern’ Metro area – I’m happy with 9/10 and 15/16 August but the Saturdays will be better than the Sundays. In view of what Greg says, as he seems to be full time at Olympia consuming ales (GBBF) on 15/16, that leaves 9th August. I can also accommodate many weekdays with prior notice.

    I’ll need to check engineering works but a basic, rough plan would be something like meeting downstairs at midday at Blackfriars (north end near main entrance), down part (or all if time) of Thameslink Wimbledon Loop, and then crossing to Southern/Southeastern services, ending up at London Bridge (for Blackfriars). Permit me to work on it.

    To avoid cluttering up LR with this informal tour, I suggest that anyone interested send me an e-mail on:

    graham_feakins ‘AT’

    and we can work from there. Of course, I can post final* details once the date is settled.

    * Never think that they will be finally settled and there may be impromptu ‘diversions’! All the excitement of missed connections/lack of in the first place spring to mind….

  395. Southern Heights (Alps explorer) says:

    @Graham Feakins: would love to join you all, but if I have counted the days right, I’ll be exploring somewhat less densely populated areas of Switzerland around that time (Kandersteg rings a bell)!

    I expect a full write-up afterwards!

  396. Greg Tingey says:

    No, actually – at the weekend (In fact Thurs-Sun I will be at Excel Loncon3 …. [ World SF convention ]
    However 9/10 Aug would be OK….

  397. Graham Feakins says:

    OK Greg et. al. Just keep Saturday, 9th August free, starting at Blackfriars around midday. Further information (once settled-ish) will likely be posted by JB on my behalf within a couple of weeks.

    I have replied to everyone so far who has sent me an e-mail – see my post at 14 July at 17:07 for details.

    For folk like Southern Heights, who will be exploring elsewhere, I am happy to duplicate the little trip another time.

  398. Greg Tingey says:

    Remember that there is a VERY good pub, which is a very short walk from Carshalton station – the “Hope”

  399. Josh says:

    There are some aerial photos of London in the Telegraph today. One of them showed London Bridge.

    Though the twilight lighting makes it difficult to make out, you can see the first of the new platforms with the long, curvy canopies.

  400. Ian J says:

    @IslandDweller (belatedly):Oyster to Gatwick would be great. But doesn’t the new franchise also perpetuate “premium” fares for trains branded express? How would Oyster cope with that?

    The last time it was looked at in 2007, the thinking was to have a special fare zone with dedicated validators on the Gatwick Express platforms at Gatwick and Victoria. There are apparently 5 spare fare zones – beyond that it could be possible to do something clever with caps instead of using a zone.

  401. IslandDweller says:

    IanJ. Thanks, but I’m still skeptical. The Southern services with an ‘express’ sticker stuck on them tend to use the same platforms at Gatwick, but not 100% of the time. This idea also implies oyster readers/validators at the foot of the platform steps which sounds like a recipe for congestion.

  402. Anonymous says:

    I was under the impression that they were bringing back on train purchase, which works well as they could have readers onboard set to cancel any tap in and take a flat fare like on Thames Clippers or the dangleway. No extra zone needed. Then the tap in would only be needed for those going on other northbound trains.

  403. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I’ve skimmed back through the comments and I don’t think this time lapse video has been linked to before. Shows what I imagine is a weekday AM peak at London Bridge. The loadings off trains on the terminating platforms are quite staggering especially when trains arrive in short succession on opposite tracks. The flow of trains is also a bit mesmerising.

  404. ngh says:

    Re WW

    Although that video was posted at the end of March (2014) it is actually quite old as it has 9 terminating platforms in operation and demolition at track level has only just begun where the old offices were. The terminating platforms now have a much higher occupancy.

    Recent London Bridge progress:

    The tracks into the new P12 & 13 have been laid recently.

    The extensive works on the approaches from Thames junction inwards look to be progressing well in advance of the August blockade.

    The work on the new viaduct supports in the forecourt (above the LU ticket hall) looks to be progressing well.

  405. ngh says:

    In terms of the August blockade disruption – I tried out an alternative route this week (which happened to coincide with some Southern cancellations for added realism).

    I usually get a Southern service into LBG and walk across London Bridge so the initial “August” plan A I was testing was to use overground to Shadwell then take the DLR inwards (first train with space and then walk onwards). [Got on the overground at CP (after changing)]
    This worked quite well and due to the disruption that morning a large number of others did exactly the same thing as I did. The usually expected exodus for the Jubilee Line didn’t happen probably because virtually none of the usual ELL users could get on… – virtually no one could get on after Sydenham (plenty of dismay at Forest Hill!). Therefore I would suggest that all users Forest Hill & inwards (particularly overground users) look for non rail alternatives (excluding New Cross of course) for that week as all the standing space will already have gone by the time any train gets to your station in the am peak…

    I suspect some ELL services will be effectively full when leaving Crystal Palace / West Croydon during the blockade.

  406. ngh says:

    Passenger counts were going on at London Bridge (Southern) this morning.

    Not sure why, but August probably isn’t a good time to do them if major decisions are going to be based on the results (unless Dr Beeching is alive and well). Hopefully just to calibrate the seasonality effects and help everyone involved plan for the August Blockade better or possibly platform allocation for services post September a platform P9 will become very narrow etc.

  407. Graham H says:

    [@Anonymous post & link deleted as was an advert. LBM]

    [Most of us who have been involved with building systems, starting back with CLASP in the ’60s, have had many unhappy times with them].

  408. Greg Tingey says:

    At Easter 2012 serious counts were done @ Reading & other places between Paddington & there, to calibrate for the blockade the next year.
    So, not a surprising move, but a very sensible one.

  409. Michael Grosvenor says:

    I am totally sick of the delays that the narrow platforms are causing. We arrive at platform 12 around 8.20am – bit it then usually takes up to 20 minutes to get out of the barriers.
    The narrow platforms are a health and safety issue also.
    It’s a joke, my train journey is 22 minutes, but it takes 20 minutes to get off the platform and through the barriers.
    When is it going to end?

  410. Southern Heights says:

    @Michael Grosvenor: by 2018 at the latest… 😉 Seriously though probably before then, after Christmas, I think the concourse will be built for the low level platforms, once this is done your journeys will get easier. Another two years? ngh?

  411. @Micheal Grosvenor, Southern Heights

    As far as the low level platforms are concerned they will be complete by January 2015. If you are arriving at London Bridge low level platforms and leaving the station then life will be much better then as far as London Bridge station is concerned. No guarentees about your inward or outward journey though.

  412. Sad Fat Dad says:

    About half the Low level concourse opens August 2016.

    20 minutes is a gross exaggeration though – people have been out timing trains unloading since September 1st; the usual time for a fully loaded 12 car on Platform 12 is 6-7 minutes. Not good, granted, and the hoarding on P12 should have moved over the weekend to help (now that some of the platform has been finished behind it).

  413. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Yes, thinking about it 20 minutes is a gross exaggeration. It would mean that the train Micheal had arrived on had departed and the next one had come in and deposited a fresh load of arrivals on the platform. Clearly such a thing would be unsustainable and result in the platforms getting more and more crowded as the rush hour continued.

    Could we please still to facts and not indulge in hyperbole? It really doesn’t help.

  414. Theban says:

    I cannot contribute to the facts of time from train stopping to being through the barriers, although 20 minutes does seem as though it should be an exaggeration.


    1. Presumably the time Sad Fat Dad mentioned is the time for the train to empty? If so, then the time for the platform to clear will be longer from arrival (unless that is what was measured?) even then, for passengers that’s not the end of the story as, presumably, there is a separate queue at the barriers. So while (I guess) that 20 minutes is an exaggeration, it might not be quite so much an exaggeration as it appears.

    2. There’s an error in PoP’s logic. It is possible for passengers to take longer between the train stopping and leaving the station than the time between successive trains. What matters is throughput, not time taken.

  415. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Theban – It’s timed from doors opening to the last passenger being off the platform and approaching the ticket gates.

  416. Walthamstow Writer says:

    It is well known that crowded conditions can make people feel that time becomes extended compared to the actual time taken to move through the area. People can also feel as if they have lost personal control in such situations as the crowd takes over and there is no obvious escape route. This is why waiting, moving through and travelling in crowded conditions is a weighted measure in (TfL) business case methodology. I am not at all surprised to read the sense of frustration / desire for the situation to end in the OP’s comment.

  417. ngh says:

    Re Theban,

    Passengers always seem to clear before the train leaves (otherwise the driver struggles to get ot the other end!). The worst I’ve experienced is about 9 minutes from P15 when the NR blue jackets operating the “cattle” pen were absent resulting in complete log jam. P12 is similarly narrow but doesn’t have a pen. Usually Sad Fat Dad’s time of 6-7 minutes is the norm.

    Post Xmas – NY blockade there will just be 2 narrow platforms P15 and the new P10 which should hopefully be a little wider initially than P15 or 12 currently are even if the full width takes several years to appear in stages (presumably more space on P10 progressively August ’15 and Aug ’16)

    Re Michael Grovensor

    Presumably you are on 2L78 from East Grinstead? due to arrive at 0818? (getting on at East Croydon or South Croydon?)

    2L78 performance over the last week:

    WTT – P12 Arrive 0818 depart 0825 (as 2L77) i.e. 7mins turnaround.
    The previous service is due to depart p12 at 0812

    Tue 21st p12 arrived LBG 0828.75 departed 0847 i.e. 18.25mins turnaround (it was already 12 minutes late at ECR)
    (previous service departed P12 at 0825 that day)
    Wed 22nd p9 arrived LBG 0821.75 departed 0830.75 i.e. 9mins turnaround
    Thursday 23rd – cancelled
    Friday 24th p12 arrived LBG 0825 departed 0831 i.e. 6mins turnaround

    Monday 27th p12 arrived LBG 0816 departed 0829 i.e. 13mins turnaround

    The bad news is 2L78 moves to the new P10 in January…
    The good news is it will go back to Selhurst Depot empty so no one should be trying to board.

  418. Melvyn says:

    I noticed on Monday that the new viaduct has now reached the roof of the new tunnel passengers heading to and from London Bridge Station so progress on the new through route is also continuing with demolition of part of old station also underway next to where viaduct will run.

  419. RayK says:

    I’m sorry to say that your last night’s post is just too cryptic for me. Can you, or someone else, fill in some details please.

  420. Sad Fat Dad says:

    @Ray K. I think what is meant is that the main steelwork for the new station approach viaduct is now largely complete. This is the viaduct that links the new Borough Market Viaduct with the station across Station approach, next to the News UK building and the bus station. The ‘tunnel’ referred to is the passage between the bus station, the bottom of the passenger access ramps from platforms 1-6, across to the ‘Hays’ GE across Tooley St.

    @ Michael Grosvenor, Theban, etc. People were out this morning timing platform clearance times. The arrival into Platform 12 at 0825 (the late 0818 arrival from East Grinstead formed of 12 heavily load coaches) took 6 mins from door release to the last person being off the platform. The train unloaded concurrently with two others on platforms 13-15, and whilst it was very busy, there was no queuing at the gates.

  421. ngh says:

    Re Sad Fat Dad.

    Again Southern/NR/TL project team pick the wrong week(s) to check the traffic loadings (they have learnt much from Dr Beeching!)

    This week the loadings are lower as it is half term week…
    Any they wonder why they get unexpected outcomes that don’t fit the output from the modelling done – Garbage In Garbage Out…

    Also see my 12th August post above for the previous passenger counts during holidays.

    Agree there aren’t any delays at the gates, though the gateline will get shorter and move towards the new buffer line at some point?

  422. @ngh,

    A tad unfair. Sad Fat Dad stated earlier that “people have been out timing trains unloading since September 1st” (27th October 20:29). You can’t blame them for timing in the school holidays as well as at other times. He also refers to the 12 heavily loaded coaches.

  423. ngh says:

    Re Pop,

    Ok possibly a bit unfair but the counting doesn’t appear to happen every day/week (it is easy to spot those doing it) and appears to be fairly targeted so a bit more care needs to be used with data from holiday periods before extrapolating the results to non holiday periods.

    For example the timetable changes a month ago for reliability improvements had obvious counting before and after counting the change.

  424. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Should have mentioned, the arrival from East Grinstead was one of two trains this morning that picked up people at East Croydon who had been turfed off the 0553 ex Littlehampton, which itself was diverted at short notice to Victoria. So it was rather more heavily loaded than usual.

  425. T33 says:

    I hope they are checking platform changes at East Croydon too. As many passengers off Redhill route stations will be forced to change at East Croydon in Jan 2015 as 4 direct trains to London Bridge will have been cut, adding around 900 passengers per cut train all trying to change across the footbridge etc. on top of existing loadings

  426. IslandDweller says:

    A new announcement has appeared on the Southeastern website and shows which tube routes will be permitted for NR ticket holders who cannot change at L Bridge, and therefore cannot continue their journey to CharingX. It also confirms that Greenwich line users can use the DLR between Greenwich and Lewisham. It’s not clear about PAYG users, I’m suspecting they’d pick up a “mixed mode” fare (as now) rather than the “national rail” only charge.

  427. Anonymous says:

    Thameslink are saying that PAYG users won’t be charged extra subject to sticking to the proper sections of route. There is a comprehensive list on their website. Haven’t seen one on Southern yet which is odd as they are all owned by the same group.

  428. Anonymous says:

    In fact Southern have given a list of underground stations but said that PAYG will be charged for use of the underground as normal.

  429. ngh says:

    Re Anonymous 31 October 2014 at 14:49

    I think the idea is that PAYG users could use traditional 1 day paper ticket(s) instead which isn’t without it problems as they wouldn’t be able to buy the paper tickets at all the alternative stations etc.

    Ignoring the closure aspect, due to the number of bank holidays and taking more leave then there likely to be far fewer weekly ticket purchases with passengers more likely to use day tickets instead so presumably the ticket machine / windows will be extra busy?

  430. Anonymous says:

    Southern and SE may be owned by the same group but are run as entirely different companies. There are driver depots for both companies at Victoria and even though they share mess rooms, lockers etc, book on , admin and management functions are in different offices who neither communicate or co-operate in any corporate fashion.

  431. dvd says:

    I have a question which I can’t find the answer to. From January when platforms 4,5 and 6 close and Charing X services cease stopping at London Bridge, will there still be one up and one down line for services to and from Charing X ? Or will there be only one reversible line ? I have seen warnings that journeys to and from Charing X will take longer (and the timetables from 12 January imply a slightly longer journey- although this may be due to anticipated longer dwell times at Waterloo East for passengers wanting to  head back to London Bridge via the Jubilee line or other means). The closure of platforms 4,5 and 6 implies that three lines (four if you include the fast line next to the up line at Platform 6) will be out of use, although that cannot of course be the case. I appreciate that the tracks used for Charing X services are likely to change during the first 18 months of the Southeastern rebuild, but does anyone know the initial arrangements ?

  432. MikeP says:

    Definitely one line (at a minimum) in each direction through London Bridge itself.

    The cynic/realist in me says the “longer journey times” will mostly be down to the signalling breaking, if recent experience on that route and the one into the Southern platforms is anything to go by 🙂

    I note that lots of the AWS magnets & associated kit in the area have big green Xs painted on them. Does this mean “OK to remove” or “In use, do not touch” ??

  433. MikeP says:

    Oh, and if you want to see what’s happening at each phase, download – that link was posted in another LBG thread a few months ago

  434. RayK says:

    Yes! As they will be working on P5 and 6 they will run trains through P4 and the P7 bypass line. So No, they are not shutting down four lines as two are required for running through. I guess they have decided to forego using P4 as too many people would fail to cope with only down trains stopping. Perhaps the longer journey times are to allow for the effects of two things. 1) Trackwork between London Bridge and New Cross which will take out two tracks. 2) Bermondsey Diveunder work requiring re-routing of some services.

  435. timbeau says:

    I guess they have decided to forego using P4 as too many people would fail to cope with only down trains stopping.
    Also, I guess with only one line in each direction the dwell times would not allow the timetable to be adhered to – you may be able to squeeze the frequency through two tracks on Borough Market Junction , but the trains definitely overlap at waterloo East

  436. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I believe that longer journey times are down to the need to impose speed restrictions due to workers potentially being near the track.

  437. dvd says:

    Thanks for the replies. I guess that use of the bypass line will only be for a limited period of time as they will need to demolish that whole area in due course to make way for the fiur new Charing X platforms.

    The last remaining section of the Southern part of the old London Bridge seems to have gone over the weekend. Half of the brick wall which adjoined platform 8 and which formerly supported the old roof had been left in place, but it was being pulverised away by hefty looking drills this morning and there doesn’t seem to be much left.

  438. Walthamstow Writer says:

    There is now an updated TfL Rail Map that reflects the changes to London Bridge stopping arrangements and impacts on Thameslink and South Eastern services.

  439. timbeau says:

    I know the current convention is for maps to be used to mark territory rather than be useful routing guides, but isn’t it likely to confuse to have “Thameslink” services which don’t go through the core for the next few years? At least once the TGN franchise becomes TSGN, couldn’t the London Bridge-Brighton services be flagged up as “southern” services.

  440. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau – as a South London rail “ignoramus” I admit to wondering why Thameslink was shown reaching London Bridge. I then remembered that there will still be a partial service from there to Brighton as there was when the core was closed for many weekends. Amazingly, for me anyway, I have actually used Thameslink from the “Southern” side when the core was closed. As I am not a map designer I’m not going to trigger more debate about “rights and wrongs” on a vexed subject like maps. I only gave the link to let people know of the existence of the revised map.

  441. Ed says:

    A bit off topic, but looking at the lines on that map and all I see is forthcoming improvements around London rail in the next couple of years except southeastern, on the whole. I’ve probably got blinkers on, but in the east there’s the GA Shenfield line going to Crossrail in May, along with the three GA lines going to LO. Then you have Moorgate on the Great Northern which is seeing late night and weekend running. c2c are increasing frequencies and putting in a very generous delay repay scheme. Thameslink & Southern getting a steady stream of new stock. South West trains the same. FGW not so good in the near future but electrification in 2016 (?).

    As for Southeastern…err…later Victoria to Dartford services at just 2 trains an hour. Anything else decent for metro routes the next couple of years?

  442. Ed says:

    And LO going 5 car, and electrification of GOBLIN. Not so sure about Chiltern but they don’t serve a great deal of London suburbia stations and already a brilliant TOC. Some new stock is going to them though in the next year. Southeastern are lagging in any sort of forthcoming improvements.

  443. ngh says:

    Re Ed,

    SE improvements (off the top of my head, so not a comprehensive list):

    Crossrail to Abbey Wood (2018)

    4 tph SE Thameslink via E&C (2018) (2 Maidstone East, 2 Sevenoaks)
    25x 4 car 377s (2017)

    More stock (6 377/2 as well as the stock above won’t provide the uplift in seats at the re-franchising announcement so possibly the surplus Dual voltage 365 that were originally with “Southeastern”)

    Complete replacement of track from Metropolitan junction to New Cross (or /North Kent East Junction on the Greenwich Line)

    New Signalling equipment

    All Charing Cross Services stopping at London Bridge

  444. ngh says:

    Re DVD, RayK, PoP

    Up loop out of use…

    They are also using the up loop for works trains see:

    Unravelled has been the out snapping on Saturday (photos in the LR photopool) – Not bad progress for about half a days work when the photos were taken.

    Not stopping at P4

    It wouldn’t be possible in the peaks as you couldn’t get the throughput of trains on a single track so probably best not to just do it off peak else it will confuse too many!
    The No3 (Up Cannon Street) and No4 (Down Charing Cross (1 of 2 down CHX lines, the other being No.5)) are out of use for complete relaying and other works from Spa Road to just north of New Cross. The other SE tracks will get the same treatment in due course.

    Spray paint colours
    Effectively match NR drawings. Red = New , Blue to modify, Green to remove

    There are 3 more days of Cannon Street -Waterloo East – Charing Cross Shuttles over the holiday period: Sat 27th, Sun 28th December & Thursday 1st Jan 2015

    No Charing Cross Services for the works on Sun 28th, Thursday 1st Jan, Sat/Sun 10th /11th and Sat/Sun 17th/18th (No Cannon Street Service the later 2 weekends either)

  445. Mike says:

    WW, Timbeau

    The new Tfl map doesn’t actually show Thameslink – but there is a new franchise called Thamkeslink…

  446. Graham H says:

    @Mike -marginally better than Thameskink, I suppose…

  447. MikeP says:

    @ngh – should have come by here and read that before this morning. The reason (and why the timing was so precise!!) for the non-stopping at LBG became obvious when I saw the passing loop out of use.
    Although a posting on the Dartford Rail Users’ facebook group said that the 07:54 from Crayford (I think he meant 1D52 @ 07:56) did stop, and doors opened, even though the driver had announced it as nonstop.
    Couldn’t believe the number of people beavering away and the amount of kit out there.
    Made me wonder if the whole London Bridge rebuild couldn’t have been done in two or three months with that much concentrated effort !!! (not really).

  448. RayK says:


    Thanks for your infill at 01 41.
    I’d read your could as couldn’t. Quite good at that sort of typo’ myself. Not so good at staying awake till 01.41. Better at early bird times.
    I’d wondered about the paint colours. Helpful to know those on the ground match the dwgs.

  449. Ed says:

    ngh – Fair enough with Crossrail but that’s 4 years away and only accessible to a small amount of SE London with just the 2 stations. I was thinking of quicker improvements like much of the rest of London will be seeing so I listed things happening up to 2016.

    How many of those other schemes benefit London metro routes? Things like all Charing X trains stopping at London Bridge are good for Kent but London commuters see no real difference. Indeed, post 2018 there may be a cut for London metro routes.

    As for more stock – no real solid news has come out like for pretty much every other TOC around London. Looks like any more will be 3 or 4 years away for metro routes. Amusingly when the need is reduced as crossrail will greatly aid overcrowding on the Greenwich SE line, and other Dartford lines to a lesser extent, as people coming in from Kent alter travel patterns away from the other Dartford lines.

    As for Thameslink and “4 tph SE Thameslink via E&C (2018) (2 Maidstone East, 2 Sevenoaks)
    25x 4 car 377s”.

    The early ideas of going to Dartford were scrapped, and isn’t those very limited services pretty much what we have now? And they seem to benefit people mainly in South London or out in Kent. A few SE London towns are served with this very limited service but nothing like the improvements other parts of London will be seeing.

    For the majority of people in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich & Lewisham boroughs I don’t see much improvement in the near future. Not on a par with the rest of London.

  450. timbeau says:

    “a steady stream of new stock. South West trains the same”.
    SWT inner suburban services have had no new trains since 1984. Even the Desiros are ten years old now, and no new trains are on order except the Class 707s (for the Windsor line, not the inner suburbans) due in 2017.
    There is a trickle of secondhand stock but both the 456s and 458s are taking forever to actually get into service. (Two 456s, and no more than six 458/5s, two of which are simply existing units with one extra car added (as will the remaining 28 units). Ten-car trains (never mind 12) on the “main suburban” lines through Wimbledon are a pipe dream until they have rebuilt Waterloo. No other major changes are expected until pending XR2 – unlikely to be in my lifetime.

    “FGW not so good in the near future but electrification in 2016 ”
    That’s less than two years away, and Crossrail will be there not long after.

  451. Ed says:

    FGW electrification & Crossrail are 2 years apart. Not much in the grand scheme of things perhaps but it seems a long time for SE metro users on overcrowded trains with London Bridge works going on and service cuts throughout that and no additional stock.

    By ‘new’ for SW trains I did mean additional stock arriving i.e. the heavily reworked 456 and 458s. Should have clarified. I know they are very late in being finished but at least a plan was there. SE metro have no confirmed plan for any more trains. With the cuts from January most would take older trains from wherever to boost services. It is also one of the areas with the largest house building plans, along with east London, which is seeing a huge number of schemes lacking south of the river. By the way I’m not suggesting SW improvements are good enough. From an outside perspective though it at least seems that something is happening there which isn’t with SE stock any time soon.

    It’s too late now though for SE metro any time soon – it all should have been worked out over the past 5 years.

  452. GTR Driver says:

    Hmm…SE improvements….

    Crossrail – NOT SE – misses most of the metro network

    4tph Thameslink via E&C but STILL no extra services to what is nigh on the worst served line – ie the Catford Loop – a major broken promise

    More stock – well hopefully we’ll get longer Networkers on the metro routes but without the short platform issues sorted let’s not hold our breath. And the Vic-Orpington line will only take 8 cars anyway.

    Though new track and signals are welcome if they don’t increase frequencies and reduce journey times then the average punter isn’t impressed as not unreasonably they expect these things to work and be maintained anyway!

    All Charing X services stopping at London Bridge – well only a few in the peaks didn’t, there was usually an alternative anyway

    NO increase in frequencies after 8pm or in Sundays
    Crap service on the Catford Loop and Vic-Lewisham

    A later service on the latter is about the best you can say

  453. Graham Feakins says:

    @GTR Driver – Catford Loop – you have reminded me to press to see where we are with what was proposed for the Catford Loop (originally a Bellingham service but more recently Bromley South).

    Apart from what I see as a drawback of terminating and reversing extra trains actually at Bromley South (only four platforms serving both the Catford Loop stopping and ‘fast’ services, as well as the main line via Herne Hill), the scheme was supported both by the GLA and, perhaps less willingly, by Southeastern. When first mooted, it was coupled with a proposal to maintain a 2tph South London Line service to Victoria by splitting the Overground 2tph to Clapham Junction and 2tph to Victoria but LOROL/TfL wouldn’t entertain running fewer than 4tph on any branch.

    Now we have an all day 2tph Victoria-Dartford via Lewisham service, the time seems ripe to get that Catford Loop up to 4tph running with the present 2tph into Blackfriars and the extra 2tph serving Victoria, thus providing 4tph to Victoria inwards from Nunhead and Peckham Rye.

    The unannounced reason why Bellingham couldn’t be used to reverse was that the sidings were used off-peak to stable Thameslink stock but perhaps that usage will be eased. Any thoughts? Don’t rush; after all, it’s only taken since the withdrawal of the South London Line services in 2012 to now to get some sort of substitute with the enhanced Victoria-Dartford service.

  454. MikeP says:

    SouthEastern tell me they’re “committed” to 12-car working and that “once technical and power supply issues are resolved (they) hope to introduce these on the services next year”.
    Unfortunately, it’s not clear which services those are. And the Metro commuters of South-East London deserve more than a hope. They deserve a clear plan. What with subsidising HS1 and all that, let alone surviving the next 3 years.

  455. Greg Tingey says:

    There’s an obvious answer to “new” stock for the SE area (though the provinces will be furious if it happens:
    The D-train of course!
    * cough*

    Indeed, 4tph on the Catford loop would be a good idea. but more delay.
    All this is not down to the infrastructure though, is it? Which makes a change.

    [Usual snip PoP]

  456. Ed says:

    Southeastern are a turgid, complacent operator who never seem to look for innovation or scope for improvements. The lethargy in Victoria-Bromley or Dartford-Vic services later than 8pm shows that. It’s the kind of thing TfL with LO would make a roaring success but it takes effort so no chance until forced to do so.

    SE seem to have even less foresight and ambition than GA, but GA were only given 2 years. SE had 8 years before their renewal to improve and innovate and did little. Now given another 4 years. Fair enough that now with all the upheavel it’s perhaps not the wrong time to do much. Can’t say that for 2006 to 2014. That was the time to get all preparations 100% ready for January 2015 and the major changes occurring. SE, NR and the DfT are all at fault to varying degrees.

    MikeP – that SE response is poor given the decades of work and numerous missed deadlines to get 12 car working – see the other post on that. I know its NR and the gov who hold almost all the cards on that, and they’ve had years to sort out the technical issues to be ready by the time London Bridge rebuilding commences.

    SE is probably the worst London train company along with GA, but within London at least, GA passengers can look forward to most services going to London Overground or Crossrail in May 2015. SE seem to care about HS1 and not much else. The DfT seem to only focus on that too.

  457. MikeP says:

    @Ed – it does feel like that. The lack of planning is further shown by their recruitment for the expansion of the twitter and customer comms teams having a closing date of 17 Dec – can’t see a full team being in place for 12 Jan on that basis!

  458. AWSTPWS says:

    I’m sure someone here will know this… Can anyone tell me what theses things mounted between the rails are…

    AWS, TPWS, something else…?

    Thanks in advance.

  459. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Is it not slightly simplistic to heap all the blame on South Eastern? OK they’ve got a dreadful reputation but they are merely a contractor and are there to do what the DfT specify to the required minimum standard. If the incentives are inadequate to reward performance above the required minimum then no private company is going to throw money away. I appreciate that doesn’t change anything but without a requirement to improve services then it’s not going to happen voluntarily on what is really a commuter franchise. Govia have not offered anything extravagant or costly on South Eastern because there’s no obvious pressure from Kent for such change and there’s not much extra money to be earned from commuter services in the zonal area. Season tickets don’t bring in marginal revenue but can bring in more bums on seats at weekends if people use the trains then.

    We’ve seen what political pressure from Kent results in – not much change at all because they don’t want it. It’ll get worse if we see a swing to the right in the 2015 Election. Oh and I don’t need any reminders from Anomnibus about how Kent really feels – let’s agree to have differing opinions. I don’t want to sound grumpy (but probably will!) but I got the message many posts ago that you are deeply disappointed with the rail service and the operator. However nothing said here is going to change anything between now and 2018. The next battle line is the 2016 Mayoral Election in order to commit the next Mayor to more rail devolution and South Eastern inners in particular. What is interesting is that Govia have had to admit to being useless on Thameslink and Great Northern in the face of public criticism from London Travelwatch but there’s never been a similar tide of public criticism in respect of South Eastern despite all its bad performance (winter weather excepted). Perhaps South Eastern’s passengers need to complain more if the service really is “pants”?

  460. Kingstoncommuter says:

    Thameslink and Great Northern have only started relatively recently so I think people should wait until the Thameslink programme has finished and the new rolling stock has arrived before they make judgements (at least it means first group have lost yet another franchise).

  461. Pedantic of Purley says:

    One of the many rumours going around when there was talk of TfL taking over SouthEastern was that TfL breathed an enormous sigh of relief when they did not get hold of it. One reason was simply that expectations were high and there was not much money in the pot. The other was TfL were well aware that all they would get was three or four years of grief while Thameslink got sorted out.

    Far better to let the current incumbent suffer then aim to take over in a post Thameslink completion world and have people associate the improvement with TfL.

  462. Ed says:

    Walthamstow Writer – in my post I lay the blame at various parties (DfT, NR etc) and do not heap all the blame on southeastern. I merely said they are complacent, lack innovation and never went above or beyond. I know the structure of the railways does not exactly encourage it but some other TOCs have tried a few things here and there. Can’t really say SE have ever done that. Generally poor at promotion and using marketing skills to increase off peak travel to tourist areas compared to many other TOCs.

    You’re very right about SE passengers perhaps needing to complain more (though there’s a ton of it), or more importantly directing their complaints in a more worthwhile direction and getting MPs on board. That also depends on decent local politicians – maybe the Kent and SE London brigade don’t stack up or have influence? The lack of media coverage doesn’t help. Look at Cannon Street’s closure last week – mass disruption and almost no mention on the TV news, BBC online news or Evening Standard. Totally different story when something happens in areas affecting the more leafy, middle class parts of London and the home counties.

    Pedantic of Purley – Yes it’s not a great time to takeover SE metro. I worry with very large future cuts in funding for transport that in 2018 tfL will not be able or allowed to takeover and the ship has sailed. Even if they took over in 2014 there’s still huge scope to utilise what’s there and improve revenue e.g. more services from Vic through Denmark Hill off peak, better than 2 tph on busy lines in the evenings and simply the perks of being on a tube map and decent promotion, staffing a largely unstaffed network which loses tons in fare evasion etc.

  463. James Forbes says:

    AWSTPWS – the device in the photo is a track circuit impedance bond.

  464. Anomnibus says:

    Southeastern are in the unusual position of having little, if any, viable inter-city revenue. That’s where the big money is in railways: trains are most efficient when shifting things in bulk over long distances. You’ll note that most of the other major networks out of London have long since handed most of their urban commuter services over to the Underground. They’re far more focused on inter-city trains as a result.

    Quite why anyone expects Southeastern to do any better than any of their predecessors, including Connex, British Rail, the SE&CR, and so on, I’ve no idea. You get what you pay for, and Kent’s rail network has seen precious little serious investment for generations now.

  465. Graham H says:

    @Anomnibus – that used to be the conventional wisdom, but it is interesting to note that the TOC which consistently pays all its fully-capitalised access charges,makes a profit for its owners, and returns a premium to the taxpayer is … SWT (and definitely not those arch intercity TOCs, EC and WC). I suspect that the reason for this is that the SW outers have just the right balance of volume and cost, and there isn’t the heavy discounting of fares that goes on with EC/WC. The work I did for BR showed that the Portsmouth line was very profitable (without fully-capitalised access charges, only “opex” access charges,suitably spread), closelyfollowed by the Solents and Salisbury, with the semifasts also showing a “profit”. Translating those findings into the era of full access charges’ I would expect the Portsmouths and Salisburys to benefit from their simple track requirements (basically a pair of tracks with few station complexities). SE lacks the distance factor and distance volumes (did I mention before Ashford as being small?) but does have quite intensively complex track requirements = especially as discussed under other threads, nearer into London.

  466. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anomnibus – and yet South Eastern have cocked up the service provision today. They’ve had to apologise to customers, declassify first class and ask people to travel later because trains are so full – this all via Twitter. Needless to say not one person who has responded on Twitter has a good word to say. Interestingly Brian Cooke, ex Travelwatch and a TfL Board Member, is complaining that he’s paid for first class but isn’t getting it! Talk about not being able to win no matter what you do.

    Why run short trains on what is still a working day for some people, people are travelling to visit others and you have last minute shopping madness? This sort of thing should have been learnt years, if not a decade, ago.

  467. Ed says:

    Walthamstow – Indeed. A lack of investment in Kents railway network in prior decades doesn’t explain cock ups like today.

    Plus, much of the criticism on here is about SE London metro services and not the state of the network 50 miles away. The infrastructure there doesn’t explain short forms in London, general lack of stock for metro routes, lack of staffing, terrible communications over their franchise (better now) and not publicly pushing for better services years ago eg Victoria via Denmark Hill to Dartford. And once again SE are not only to blame of course, with the DfT and Network Rail responsible to various degrees.

    As for getting what you pay for, SE passengers should be getting rather more then after having RPI + 3% from 2006 when other London area TOCs had RPI + 1%.

  468. AWSTPWS says:

    @James Forbes – thanks – I know what to Google for now 🙂

  469. timbeau says:

    @Graham H

    The Solent is no further from London than Dover and Thanet, so I find it hard to believe greater distance is a factor in SWT’s greater success than SET’s. More to do with the SWT franchise being one of the first to be let, HMG were desperate to make sure they got some bidders, and consequently Stagecoach got a bargain. Noticeable that Stagecoach won no other franchise in the first round, as they stuck to their guns whilst other bidders indulged in a frenzy to get a pece of the action.

    Yes, SWT has the Exeter line, but as a diesel island, and with faster competition for the longest hauls, it is unlikely to be a big money spinner for them.

  470. Greg Tingey says:

    And yet .. we get many commentors on here, noting that SWT are “short-forming” trains & treating fare-payers badly, yet even they don’t seem to have the appalling record of SE.
    I still think the ultimate nadir was when we had the snow two (?) winters back & people were trapped overnight in a train, in sight (just) of Orpington & not one single railway employee seemed to have the necessary gumption to even try to get them out.
    They could put more evening trains on, couldn’t they? But they don’t seem to bother, or care. [ Note: “seem” ]
    Without going all misty-eyed about the past, I do get the impression that the only time, since 1838, that Kent & parts of Surrey have had anything like decent services, was when Sir Herbert Walker was in charge …..

  471. @Walthamstow Writer,

    SouthEastern have been notorious for running short trains. I never know if this is down to genuine lack of stock or just trying to avoid costs. I suspect the latter. It does seem madness. I know I go on about it but half-hourly to Hayes on Sundays with four car units is bonkers. (The ideal solution in this case is not longer trains but more of them but if you must have a half hourly service ….)

    If TfL ever took over SouthEastern then lengthening the off-peak trains would be an incredibly easy win.

  472. Ed says:

    SE had a torrid time for a few months with short forms in 2011 on metro routes. Never, ever gave an explanation. Communications were terrible. Then as quickly as it began it improved. That was a miserable few months. The snow issues around that time begun too. They were always (about 3 occasions at least) the first to call off all services the following day whilst other third rail operators like Southern & SW trains at least attempted to even though Surrey & Sussex forecasted worse weather forecasted 24 hours before. SE blamed NR for those decisions.

  473. MikeP says:

    @Ed – SE passengers should be getting rather more then after having RPI + 3% from 2006 when other London area TOCs had RPI + 1%.

    They are getting what they paid that extra money for – the HS1 service. Only trouble is, those who use it are paying twice over, and getting very upset on the (increasingly rare) occasions when the hoi-polloi are allowed to use it without surcharge when the classic lines go mammaries-vertical. Whilst, as we all know, the classic lines received service reductions for that increase.

    The reason for shortforms has to be money-saving. It’s also clear that there isn’t a sufficient pool of drivers on-duty to deliver the sort of resilience to delays that the complex network needs – again, finance is the only reason for this.

    Anger over shortforms is compounded by an inability to board a train being described as “passenger choice” by SouthEastern and thus not being an event permitting a delay-repay payment. Utter madness and contemptuous treatment of customers.

  474. Greg Tingey says:

    SE blamed NR for those decisions.
    There is another possible explanation …
    The number of pick-up shoes per unit.
    A lot of (all?) the networkers only have four – two at each end.
    Whereas a lot of SWT ( & some of “Southern’s”) units have eight – which makes keeping the conductor-rail tops clear a lot easier & gives you double the chance of getting a “good contact” from somewhere.
    Looking at a “networker” it seems that one could fit extra shoe-beams at the inner ends of the outer cars, but no effort has been made to do so.
    When SE ground to a halt & stranded passengers, SWT tried to keep the lines (at least as far as Woking) open, by running trains through the night, to “sweep” the rail-tops – or so my signaller-friend (who lives in Woking) told me.
    What did I say earlier about “gumption”?

  475. Malcolm says:

    South eastern certainly run ghost trains in snowy periods to try to keep conductor rails clear. I think the practice is universal on the third rail.

    As to whether they (South Eastern) run enough of them, run them at the right times, and in these respects perform better or worse than the other operators, I have absolutely no idea, and I suspect it is one of those unanswerable questions, particularly as the microweather is sure to be subtly different in different places.

  476. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – I’m not denying that Stagecoach got a bargain(apparently not entirely to Souter’s satisfaction) with SWT, but Dover has a very small population compared with the Solent and Bournemouth (50 000 plays 200 000 + 200 000). Add in the likes of Winchester, Basingrad and Fleet, and SE is seriously disadvantaged.

    BTW to be strictly accurate, Stagecoach did also win the IOW franchise but the day they did, Souter had Eccles in and said “Now win something sensible”.

  477. GTR Driver says:

    There is always an inherent problem for SE TOCs in terms of a complex network that has no obvious cash cow routes to bring in significant revenue. Couple that to the inherent problem of the franchise system ie one that discourages innovation because it does not reward the operator for trying to provide a better service in terms of frequency or train length (indeed it may levy penalties for doing so for this is seen as exceeding the franchise terms). However the average punter neither knows nor cares about this so all they see is an enormous bill for their season ticket and short late cancelled trains in return.

    But instinct tells me that bad publicity is never a good thing, and SE seem spectacularly bad at generating it. During 2014 I have seen all trains cancelled due to frozen points at Orpington – no effort seemingly to marry drivers and stock at other depots to recover some sort of service; all trains cancelled due to wind related damage while SWT and Southern had started running again; almost a dogged insistence on running 4 car trains throughout the height of the summer heatwave at weekends when they could be in no doubt that more people would want to travel; rather than accept the service element of a franchise and just swallow and pay the higher access charges for 8 car trains. The latter would have been an easy win. I do wonder if there is an issue with the upper echelons of TOCs being distant from the realities for their product eg don’t travel on them, don’t pay if they do, if there is heavy disruption they may just get cabbed. So when the franchise is awarded again the negative stuff just doesn’t permeate, maybe they just think that regaining it means they have been doing a good job! And let’s face it, it’s a game of executive musical chairs for the highers – FCC big cheese goes to SE; SE big cheese goes to Southern etc etc.

    Representation is also an issue. We have heard much from Kent politicians about resistance to TFL running metro services. But there is no concerted voice from the London MPs. I wrote to my own MP about the Catford Loop, he informed me he had passed the issue to SE. I am still waiting for a reply. Next thing I know the franchise has been awarded to Govia, they announce no change to Sevenoaks trains, and when SE publish their 2015 timetable, they disown them rather rapidly, in the manner of a comedy ticking bomb being passed from person to person!

  478. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ GTR Driver – I am not particularly convinced that London MPs are very clued up about mainline trains. The Tube is something many of them use so they think they understand that. There is the odd exception like Jeremy Corbin who’s battled for GOBLIN electrification. It is actually the London Assembly members (AMs) who seem much more clued up but I suspect that is because they pull in people from TfL, Network Rail and the TOCs on a regular basis to discuss issues. The Assembly Transport Committee also has ultimate oversight of London Travelwatch so will be aware of where the problems are. It’s also pretty clear that a number of AMs also use trains (and London Bridge!) regularly based on their Twitter feeds. Overall they just seem to be more involved and more aware of the nonsenses that their constituents experience.

  479. MikeP says:

    @WW- Indeed. But this is simply more grist to the mill that the alleged “democratic deficit” that would be the result of transfer of SE Metro services to TfL (the Kent MP’s argument against it) is pure hogwash, since the MPs who allegedly represent their constituents have absolutely no significant influence over the service provision.

  480. GTR Driver says:

    Re MPs not being clued up about the mainline; an interesting possibility that hadn’t occurred to me. Though for SE London MPs this should be rather curious as only about two of them can represent constituencies that tubes reach(!)

  481. Chris Patrick says:

    Yet again this morning we have signalling problems between London Bridge and Charing Cross.

    Why wasn’t the signalling replaced before the Thameslink work?

    It will be replaced as part of the project but when things go wrong post January it will get really messy.

  482. Greg Tingey says:

    Because the track is all being replaced, so you do the signalling at the same time, particularly as the new signalling is a different system (all axle-counters) & the main control centre will no longer be the decaying structure outside LBG itself, but the new centre @ 3 Bridges.
    It looks as though my friend will earning his overtime, then, given what you said!
    ( Quote: “We will be working like b*****y for the first two days & then, we hope, twiddling our thumbs … unless, of course, something goes wrong…” )

  483. ngh says:

    Re Chris Patrick

    I think there will have been alterations to one of the “SE” panels in the London Bridge box on the 25th and 26th to remove the links to the BML tracks (used by the Thameslink services). If this didn’t go to plan the charing cross services would be affected.

    There will be a lot more signalling work (including removal of lots of crossings) shortly on the charing cross tracks, as from the 11th January all up services will use the Up loop and all down services P4.
    Anything with a green (cross) sprayed on it is going.

    Replacing the signalling beforehand would then require major signalling works during thameslink works so would be much more expensive and not that much less disruptive.

    Welcome to the joys of signalling problems faced by southern users for the last while that are now almost over…

  484. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Greg – whilst the new signalling is indeed a completely new system, there won’t be a single axle counter involved. It will all be track circuits, mostly of the jointless type.

  485. John B says:

    @WW In my indignation about 35% fare rises I wrote to 3 local councillors (2 replied – not our department), DFT and TFL – “here’s an answer to a question, just not the one you asked”, my MP Jo Johnson – “I will write to Mr Boris Johnson” … when he could have asked him over X-mas lunch, and AM James Cleverly who gave a detailed technical response as to why he supported the changes. I didn’t agree with his reasoning, but he clearly had done some.

  486. Southern Heights says:

    New images of the future entrance on Tooley Street were released today

  487. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Southern Heights – I see we have the now customary “no more Glasgow Airport car bomb attack” anti terror concrete blocks disguised as seats and 9 million metal bollards protecting the pavement edge. I understand the thinking about these things but they do create a horrible visual clutter as well as not doing much for pedestrian flow if you’re encumbered, pushing a buggy, wheeling a bicycle. Surely we can do better than this nonsense?

  488. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights,

    Also confirmation in the associated text you linked to that demolition will start on the Tooley Street side at Easter 2016…

  489. Greg Tingey says:

    I trust you know about the metal protecting bollards @ Liverpool St – at the top of a set of steps?
    No, you couldn’t make it up.
    Oh for a revival of the “Railway Eye” web-site – which appears to be “parked” at present,

  490. Greg,

    (assuming the steps are going down from the road)

    And why not? A suicide bomber is hardly going to be put off by steps. I would have thought any Land Rover owner would have worked that one out.

  491. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    I suspect more that they don’t want the repair bill for the escalators getting rammed…

  492. Greg Tingey says:

    The steps, in both cases are UP & in the case of East side are behind a set of railings as well ….
    Try google street view for a full scenario, I think.

  493. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @WW: I hadn’t noticed that! How retro! You’d almost think the IRA was still around… Ahem…

    What does please me is that the Shipwirght Arms does survive… A proper, old school pub, next to a station…

  494. AlisonW says:

    When discussing the possibility of cars driving up or down steps I would refer you all to the first (and best) ‘The Italian Job” film.

    I rest my case.

  495. Anonyminibus says:

    The Old Law Court in Belfast has a bomb proof wall around it (disguised as a classical podium), but they have built a new court next door made of glass.

  496. Southern Heights says:

    The Cottons bridge seems to be missing…

  497. MikeP says:

    @Southern Heights – you could leave it there. But there won’t be anything on the station side for it to connect to. A bridge to nowhere.
    Come to think of it, that would make good company for a subway to nowhere not a million miles from there.

  498. Sad Fat Dad says:

    @Southern Heights, @Mike P. The Cottons Bridge stays, but the barrier line at the station end goes; that passage under the tracks at the bottom of the existing ramps becomes unpaid, and the route for the emergency exits from the London end of the through platforms.

  499. ngh says:

    Re Mike P and Southern Heights,

    It will be there (both footbridges are a little ugly and tend to get left out of the nice looking renderings for some reason…) and it will connect with the bus station and upper level concourse. The Western end fire escapes from the new platforms 1-9 will open on to the area beneath the tracks it connects to.

  500. timbeau says:

    Cottons Bridge? What is that?

  501. Paul says:

    @ timbeau,

    Cotton’s Bridge is the eastern of two footbridges over Tooley St near the north entrance to the station, Google Street View shows them well.

    On the architectural merit scale they are both possibly about “-1”

  502. MikeP says:

    Ahhhh. Thanks for that, all. That makes sense. I seemed to remember last time this got discussed no-one came up with a definitive answer, and there was much discussion of Tooley Street being full of people heading for More London and heading for London Bridge via t’other bridge.
    Just too much “artistic license”, obvs.

  503. MikeP says:

    And then architects wonder why people don’t trust their wonderfully attractive impressions of what a new development will look like.

  504. Kit Green says:

    The two footbridges are in the wide picture looking up Tooley Street towards Duke Street Hill.

    There is an odd perspective that makes them seem rather distant, but zoom in and they are there.

  505. Herned says:

    Just had a look at that on Streetview, not sure I have ever come out of the Joiner Street entrance, certainly not paid attention to it anyway… but there is something impressive about the way it is layers of pure civil engineering with no ‘design’… although there are also hints of an entrance to Mordor there, which at 530pm is probably not too far from true…

  506. RayK says:

    @Paul ‘On the architectural merit scale they are both possibly about “-1”’
    That is a bit harsh. The larger bridge, when viewed from the West, blends well with the Building to the North of Duke Street Hill. They look as though they were built together. When viewed from the East it is the concrete carbuncle which is the end of that same building which is the worst of the view. The smaller bridge is a much lighter looking construction being see-through until one is close up. Neither could possibly be said to blend with the massive, dark looking brick edifice that is the Northern face of the London Bridge Station viaducts. This is what detracts from any view on Tooley street or Dukes Hill Street. Anything to blend with that would be an offence to the rest of the architecture in the area. The brickwork may have it’s historical value but for a North facing wall it is altogether too dark. The new concourse entrance will bring some much welcomed relief for the part that is changed. As far as I am aware here appear to be no plans to improve the rest.

  507. Paul says:

    I wonder if the bridges would still be built now if they didn’t already exist? Aren’t the planners basically going back to crossings generally rather than subways or footbridges?

    And of course many of the pedestrian flows in the wider area will presumably be completely different once the main concourse is at ground level.

  508. timbeau says:

    @Southern Heights
    as well as the absence of the footbridges, there is another thing absent from that picture. The bus in the foreground is running with an open platform – south of the river! Even if the 47, 343, 381 or RV1 is in line for Borismasters, it is not expected that any more routes will run in that form, and in act the most recent re-design has made it impossible.

    I noted the “Tosca” branding on the shopfront – in the colours of a well-known anagrammatic caffeine-peddler.

  509. ngh says:

    Re Ed,

    Colechurch House – I believe the owners are (still) the Corporation of London.

    Workers getting into the City while not screwing up traffic over London Bridge would appear to have been the main aims when they built it (and may still be?).
    Hence they may not think like any most other potential owners…

  510. Ian J says:

    @ngh: technically the Bridge House Estates, as administered by the Corporation of London to fund the maintenance of London Bridge – some of the land in Southwark has been in continuous ownership of the Bridge House Estates since the Middle Ages.

    Southwark Council have agreed to sell them the wide pavement in front of the building to enable a larger redevelopment, with some suggestion of a two storey pedestrian colonnade through the site.

  511. Ian J,

    technically the Bridge House Estates, as administered by the Corporation of London to fund the maintenance of London’s bridges within the City of London. So, according to Mr Wikipedia, that is currently Blackfriars, Southwark, Tower, London and the Millennium bridges.

  512. timbeau says:

    As Mr Wikipedia also points out, Tower Bridge is administered by the Bridge House Estates even though its northern landfall is outside the City. (If built, Lumley’s Link would also be just outside the boundary) Both Southwark Bridge and the Millennium Bridge were built by other organisations (although the BHE provided some of the funding for the latter) and their management was taken over by the BHE later.

    The more westerly of the two bridges actually spans Duke Street Hill – Tooley Street runs behind Colechurch House and under the approach span of London Bridge. The original Bridge House was somewhere in that area – on part of the site now occupied by the London Bridge Hospital, between Tooley Street and the river.

  513. RayK says:

    RE ngh ‘both footbridges are a little ugly and tend to get left out of the nice looking renderings for some reason…’
    Architects will quite happily delete from artistic impressions anything which obstructs a clear view of their new creation. The most beautiful of objects will be deleted if it’s considered to be an obstruction to their view: even if it blends in well.
    So Colechurch House is to be replaced at some time and the bridge is said to be ‘likely’ to disappear and the pavement only ‘likely’ to remain accessible as a colonnaded walk. It all sounds very iffy. Would the lack of the bridge have any consequences?

  514. T33 says:

    I still wonder if they have really worked out the passenger flows. The Westerly bridge currently takes a significant number of passengers across Tooley Street from the terminating platforms and form the large numbers crossing London Bridge in the morning and evening.

    In the new station plan, from 2018 onwards these passengers from Surrey & Sussex will all be driopped onto platform 5, down into the “Wembley Stadium Sized” pit and come out the main entrance. Effectively meaning there will be a large continuous stream of passengers crossing Tooley Street, which will surely cause traffic problems?

    Unless someone knows better than me

  515. timbeau says:

    “the “Wembley Stadium Sized” pit “…….. is actually only the size of the PITCH at Wembley – which is the standard size for all football pitches specified by UEFA.

    You could just about fit London Bridge station inside the actual stadium.

  516. Ed says:

    T33 – you’re not wrong. Tooley Street seems jammed up a lot of the time as it is. There’s still a need for a bridge. Any redevelopment looks likely with the story above of Southwark selling land for it. A 100m tower is plausible. It should contain bridge access.

    Another development of 25 storeys is being proposed to the east of the station, though at least no road crossing involved.

    It does however give a hint of how London Bridge will evolve in future. Quite a few more towers.

  517. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Ed: Actually the Southern passengers will be quite lucky, they will retain the use of the overpass to Colechurch House, it’s the drect link from the Southeastern platforms to that link and the direct link to the Cottons & Hays Galleria that is going… A bad mstake I think….

  518. MikeP says:

    @SH – I thought like you at first, then realised that it isn’t just the SouthEastern passengers, but the Thameslink ones too – which will be a lot of the people who currently exit on the High Level side.

  519. T33 says:

    @MikeP Yes all the Horsham/East Grinstead/Brighton/Redhill/Purley/East Croydon passengers will be moved from the Terminus to Platform 4/5 – so all will now be crossing Tooley Street.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is the depth of the new concourse – there are 4 flights of stairs from the platform to Ground level – when changing platforms it’ll take 3 or 4 extra minutes. They will need to create a footbridge almost as soon as the station is open.

    IMO this thoughtless design is becoming very common – the new footbridge at East Croydon being similarly bad – now three flights of stairs to go up instead of a simple ramp meaning quick changes are now virtually impossible as you follow huge crowds lumbering up the stairs – the older and less fit members struggling with the steepness (I’m in both groups so know very well)

  520. MikeP says:

    @T33 – the discussion about the depth of the concourse (and the alleged need for a footbridge) has already been had hereabouts. The counter-claim is that the escalators will do the job just fine. More than that I will not say for fear of being moderated.

  521. Milton Clevedon says:

    Since the core issue is the actual time from platform to/from the office (or at least the main onwards street or Bridge that people are aiming for), couldn’t London Bridge regulars time the current entry/exit times before big changes, and then afterwards, and then compare the two. At least there is then comparable data to make a case that the railway shouldn’t think in future schemes just about passenger entry/exit times to/from the ticket barrier.

  522. Pedantic of Purley says:


    There is a world of difference between thoughtless design and design that has been carefully thought about but you don’t happen to agree with.

  523. Anomnibus says:


    Any new footbridge would have the same issues as the new ones at East Croydon and the two New Cross stations: they’d have to be built higher up above the tracks than the old Yorkie bar one built in the 1970s, so you’ll get lots of steps either way.

    In mitigation, the old interchange involved long ramps or stairs, while the new one will also have escalators and lifts. Furthermore, by untangling the tracks, services will be more frequent, so even if you’ve just missed one train, there’ll be another along very soon after.

    This was not the case with the old layout, where the notionally ‘cross-platform’ interchange between Charing Cross and Thameslink services could still involve a long wait while a couple of delayed Charing Cross services inched slowly through, eventually followed by an utterly rammed and laughably short-formed service to Luton.

    Yes, it’ll take slightly longer – seconds, for most – to change platforms, but when you get there, the more frequent trains will more than make up for that. And there’s lots of shiny new shops selling untold variations of the artisanal, organic sludge they call ‘coffee’ that they’ll sell to you for truly insulting amounts of money. What’s not to like?

  524. Chris C says:


    The time to measure time to office from time getting off the train to be able to compare it to when the works have been completed have long gone.

    It should have been done before any of the works started and should have been done over a reasonable period of time.

  525. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @PoP: The difference between the two depends on what the design priorities were… I’m not sure if they coincide with those of the most common type of user of this station.

    But then we’ll have to see what happens at the end of the project…

    @T33: A large number of those passengers may however stay on and continue on to one of the next three stations: Blackfriars, City Thameslink or Farringdon. As for them new travel opportunities have opened up…

  526. Anomnibus,

    Just for the record:

    I don’t recall ever having seen a Thameslink service to Luton at London Bridge. They were always Bedford services.

    In fact for me just about the only good feature of the old station was changing from a Southeastern service to Charing Cross to a Thameslink one to Bedford. Not even cross-platform interchange. Just get off at platform 6 and wait for a Thameslink train from the same platform. When travelling with an elderly relative this is substantially even better than lifts to all platforms.

  527. Anomnibus says:


    In my defence, it’s been a while. I do remember taking a train to Luton from Platform 6 at London Bridge. Whether it terminated there I can’t recall, but I’ll defer to the better memories of others.

    The same-platform interchange was great in theory, but I remember spending some time waiting for the Thameslink trains to make their way to the head of the queue. The ratio of Thameslink to Charing Cross services was rather low.

  528. T33 says:

    @MikeP Apologies I must have missed that part of the discussion

    @PoP You are of course right, thoughtless is the wrong word. It is of course properly designed in a Mechanical and structural sense. I was trying to express an opinion that the design is not very good for passengers which it will make changing platforms more difficult as has happened at East Croydon.

    @Anomnibus whilst the footbridge would probably have to be built over the “imaginary” AC wires, an alternative to the only exit from the platform would be welcome for many passengers to swap platforms as there will be inevitable huge crowding around the 2 exits from the platform – As someone who has got off the wrong end of a train at the terminal platforms and taken over 5 minutes to get off the narrow platforms – the narrow escalators will cause the same issue although full width platforms will allow passengers to get to the escalators faster.

    @POP the 6:56 from Redhill (origin I think Brighton) to Luton was a daily train for many years calling at London Bridge – It was cut in the Jan 2015 timetable. I think it extended to Bedford but when I used it regularly around 2011 it was a Luton train

  529. T33,

    But in what way is arrangements for passengers changing trains not fully thought out?

    You might not like it because it takes longer but that does not mean it hasn’t been carefully thought through for the benefit of the greatest number of passengers taking into account all sorts of factors such as circulating area and any engineering restraints there may be. There will always be many passengers for whom shortest interchange time is an absolute priority but that is not universal and there are other issues such as ease-of-access, safety when overcrowding, regulations concerning safe evacuation etcetera. Remember that when the station gets rebuilt all the grandfather rights are extinguished.

  530. MikeP says:

    @MC: so many origins, so many destinations, and then many of the origins move from high level side to low level. I tried some educated guesswork, but gave up as the matrix was getting stupidly big. It’s easy to forget just how far down Tooley Street the new entrance will be – people in More London will be hugely advantaged.
    SH raises an interesting question as to how many members of the massive tide across London Bridge will find TL quicker after the re-opening. I’d discount Farringdon from that equation, not being London Terminals from the south – and the north-west corner of the city (say Museum of London) is only a brisk 20 minute walk. I used to do Cannon Street to there in under 15 minutes.

  531. T33 says:

    @PoP I respectfully disagree – improved stations are supposed to enable passengers can get to where they need to be quickly. I accept that we now have a higher H&S standard but the majority of passengers (particularly commuters who generally know where they are going) do not want long and complicated diversions.

    I fear the situation is the same at London Bridge, longer changes than previously and massive queuing getting off the platforms. Why because a single escalator each side is not going to clear the platform quickly when a 12 coach Class 700 arrives from the South. Not many will take the stairs as it is 4 flights high. Hence why an additional footbridge would have been very wise probably at the country end to spread passengers down the train.

    I do not think either that many will swap to Blackfriars or other core stations because they are already accessible directly from most of the Southern Network by the existing Thameslink trains. So these customers are not travelling through London Bridge currently.

  532. timbeau says:

    “Blackfriars or other core stations are already accessible directly from most of the Southern Network by the existing Thameslink trains”
    Only from the Brighton Line, not any of the branches.
    Not very fast via Tulse Hill
    Not very frequent either.

    If everybody bails out of Thameslink trains from the BML at London Bridge after all this is over, the whole project will have been a pointless waste of money.

    Quite a few who currently walk across London Bridge (or along Southwark Street – don’t forget Blackfriars has an entrance on the South Band) or change for Cannon Street may find Blackfriars or CTL preferable when TL services are faster, more frequent, and serve more destinations

  533. T33,

    improved stations are supposed to enable passengers can get to where they need to be quickly

    I think you are going to be very disappointed with future station rebuilds. Nearly always they result in passengers taking longer to change trains. I used to be able to easily make a four minute connection westwards at Reading when arriving on a train from Redhill. It now can only be done with great difficulty.

    Stratford is another case in point. Creating two new big platforms for DLR trains to Canary Wharf may have done wonders for crowd safety and being able to provide a more frequent service but means a longer interchange if arriving from the east on platform 5.

    Its the same on the Underground with stations such as Paddington on the Hammersmith & City line built for spaciousness and being able to handle large volumes of people resulting in longer interchange times. King’s Cross is especially famous for this with the shortest routes being discouraged and not actively signposted.

    It may be that the lack of capacity to the lower concourse at London Bridge is deliberate to avoid the concourse being swamped with a train load of passengers. For pedestrian flows the main concern is that the platform is cleared before the next train arrives. Of course, if the new station cannot achieve that then there will be serious problems.

    If you had an additional footbridge at the country end you could possibly make things worse as you would then get conflicting flows on the platform.

    I am not saying you are wrong. You may be right. I am just saying these things are complicated, generally much more complicated than people appreciate. I remember Anomnibus once suggesting a reversal of direction of escalators at St Pancras because he thought they had got it wrong but I also remember being given a tour of the station and having the pedestrian flow explained to me and how and why they dealt with it the way they did and it is a lot more complicated than people reading this website would give credit for.

    I simply go back to my original point. You probably would not believe how much thought does go into the design to safely accommodate passenger flows. They may occasionally get it slightly wrong. King’s Cross main line was a case in point but once realised it was quickly and easily rectified. They don’t do this thoughtlessly nor do they fail to take into account passenger needs. Passenger needs and passenger wants are two different and sometimes incompatible things.

  534. Alan Griffiths says:

    Pedantic of Purley 27 September 2015 at 22:58

    “Stratford is another case in point. Creating two new big platforms for DLR trains to Canary Wharf may have done wonders for crowd safety and being able to provide a more frequent service but means a longer interchange if arriving from the east on platform 5.”

    Not if you’re cheeky enough to take the short cut from platform 3 to 3a via a convenient Central Line train.

  535. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – I understand the points you make but I do feel we have a spectacular ability in this country to just get things about 85% correct and the remaining 15% becomes a progressively worsening nightmare that is nigh on impossible to fix. LU has an apparent aversion to providing escalators on certain climbs up from platforms. This causes jams and delays for people because of differing levels of fitness. It won’t provide escalators from ticket halls to street level except in very rare cases (TCR being such an exception). I used Putney NR station for the first time in decades the other day. Nice new staircase – pretty steep and no central railing to help split the flows and allow fitter people to bypass the slower ones. LU would provide a central railing. Why the difference? I fear London Bridge will end up with some very real issues once people acclimatise themselves to carriage positions relative to escalators. I can see real problems for the operators getting trains away because of huge bulges of people wanting to get down the escalators. Apart from shouting at people to “stand clear” there’s no easy fix after you’ve spent hundreds of millions of pounds on a redesign that doesn’t work. What happens when you have people dashing up escalators meeting a bulge of people at the top of the escalators on the platforms waiting to go down? Isn’t this precisely the issue with the SE to / from Thameslink interchange flow? We all know what happens when people see “their” train – it’s a mad push through whoever is in the way to get on it. That’s the psychology that exists and lengthening interchange times will just increase the determination to get *my* train. “I must get the 0831, I must get the 0831 must must must, death to anyone who gets in my way”. Sounds bonkers but people act like that.

    The impression I get so far is that the London Bridge platforms are not overly wide and certainly not near the escalators meaning you have natural pinchpoints that will become trouble spots every few minutes in the peaks.

    When I use redeveloped stations in countries like the Netherlands they seem to have got it right somehow – plenty of space, multiple entry and egress points on the platforms, lifts stairs and escalators where heights have to be overcome, decent wide platforms designed to cope with crowds and planned interchange between trains on opposite platforms. They have historical space constraints like we do but somehow they manage better and their sort of rail operation – frequent, long trains carrying lots of people is precisely the sort of railway the South East is becoming. We have much yet to learn.

  536. Alan Griffiths,

    There is a direct link between platform 5 and the end of the DLR platforms so using the intermittent link between 3 and 3a won’t be shorter than that. The direct link is still longer than previously when it was simply across a narrow platform.

    For some reason the short passageway to platform 5 isn’t signposted when you get off the DLR. I can only presume it is because they don’t think people will catch the DLR to Stratford in order to go to Liverpool St.

  537. Walthamstow Writer,

    There was an article on London Bridge in this month’s Modern Railways. One of the comments was that when planning they considered increasing the size of the station footprint but the costs would have been phenomenal. So basically they are putting 15 platforms – the absolute minimum number they need – in the space available.

    So it is back to all the old issues. Do you get it right which makes the scheme unaffordable and it never gets approval? Do you do what you can?

    I am not totally convinced by all this gloom and doom. Would that many people really want to get off at London Bridge? The main way to the Victoria line at Victoria is a single escalator. It is quite surprising how many people that escalator can shift in a short period of time. It is (or was) more than the trains could carry in the rush hour – northbound at any rate. Now I know Victoria Line trains are shorter but the come ever 105 seconds in the peaks – not 2½ minutes apart followed by 5 minutes apart which is what you will get on Thameslink at London Bridge.

  538. timbeau says:

    “the lack of capacity to the lower concourse at London Bridge is deliberate to avoid the concourse being swamped with a train load of passengers”
    The concourse will get swamped if it can’t clear one trainload before the next arrives. The best way of avoiding congestion in the station is making it as easy as possible to get out.
    We get this nonsense at Waterloo – closing an exit “because of congestion”, as well as being highly dangerous if there were an emergency, actually makes the concourse more crowded.
    Stopping people getting in is almost as bonkers – if you close one entrance but leave others open, people will still get onto the concourse, and if as a result of having to walk round they miss their train, they will spend more time on the concourse clogging it up.

  539. timbeau says:

    “the determination to get *my* train. “I must get the 0831, I must get the 0831 ”
    If the next train to your destination is at 0834, then yes it is silly. If it’s not until 0901, then yes, it is important to catch it (and it’s not my fault the timetabled connection between two 2tph services is only six minutes, and in practice often less)

  540. timbeau,

    Stopping people getting in is almost as bonkers

    Well if they had done that at Medina 717 people who died might still be alive.

    There have been loads of precedents. Ibrox Park and Hillsborough show the importance of having appropriate crowd control as does Bethnal Green in wartime. It is a complex issue and very often the safest way to handle it often isn’t what the person on the ground determined to get the 0831 wants.

    I know this all may seem daft but if you ever had a chance to visit a control room and see cameras showing the situation in various places you will start to appreciate why the situation as it appears from one position on the ground isn’t necessarily giving a good picture of what is going on.

    If, having made their first cock-up, the staff at Finsbury Park after Christmas stopped people getting into the station when they could have done then there would have been a lot less distress as people who wanted to travel would have suffered a minor delay rather than a near-complete meltdown of services for a couple of hours.

  541. Ian J says:

    @PoP: I am not totally convinced by all this gloom and doom

    It reminds me of the gloom and doom that preceded the opening of the rebuilt King’s Cross station.

    It’s worth being aware of the extensive pedestrian modelling made as part of the planning application (here, here, here, here, here) – it’s one thing to disagree with the conclusions that the modellers have made or argue that they didn’t make the right trade off between cost, capacity and different pedestrian flows, but it just isn’t true to say that these issues weren’t considered in detail when designing the station. And yes, one finding was that a proportion of passengers would stay on through trains who currently change from terminating trains. One thing I found interesting was that a higher proportion than I expected actually head south from the station.

    @timbeau: If it’s not until 0901, then yes, it is important to catch it

    Certainly an issue in the evening peak, but in the morning peak there will essentially be a constant stream of trains to each of the three inward destinations, so I doubt many passengers will be aiming for a specific train.

  542. Greg Tingey says:

    but when you get there, the more frequent trains will more than make up for that. Until … there’s a last-minute platform alteration (all too frequent, at least before the rebuild) & everyone has to scramble – not over the “Yorkie-Bar” bridge, but down all the escalators & up again, thus missing their train(s).

    But in what way is arrangements for passengers changing trains not fully thought out?
    Errr … the gating arrangements at the NW corner of the remaning platforms?
    Previously discussed in the pub, IIRC … & the predicted jams.
    As in King’s Cross (which you also mention) the “new” design is so “successful”, that, most of the time, they simply leave the gates open …
    As for your Paddington case, we all know that was due to lack of foresight, or they ran out of money.
    Either way it is a ridiculous go-round-the-houses farce.
    For pedestrian flows the main concern is that the platform is cleared before the next train arrives. Of course, if the new station cannot achieve that then there will be serious problems. As mentioned above, you mean? One or two down escalators, or a narrow end-exit from the terminating platforms?
    Could be very, very embarrassing, couldn’t it?
    I must admit, I really can’t make a prediction as to how it will actually work in practice.

    We used to have that at Liverpool St exit from the SSL lines – restricted exit lines & would you believe it … “tensabarrier” taped-off lanes …
    I & others, did our best to simply unsanap the tapes, since they were a trip/tangling hazard … until, suddenly, the practice stopped.

  543. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    But there is much a lower chance of platform alterations in the future (post 2018).

    1. Most of key potentials for alteration will be on the same platform island i.e. down Charing cross services – you just walk across the platform island. The issues would likely be Down Cannon Street i.e. P1 to P2 changes (see note 2.) or southern terminating (see note 3.)

    2. The whole area will have Traffic Management Software (TMS) and be controlled from Three Bridges on a line basis (i.e. 4 groups: Cannon Street / Thameslink / Charing Cross / Southern Terminating) so there should be far fewer platform changes.

    3. There should be far fewer terminating platform changes when the works finish as there will be the 4th track and mostly local services. And you just run round the buffers like everyone does at the moment not up downstairs.

  544. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – haven’t seen the MR article yet. We have touched on the “do something” vs “never do perfection” appraisal point before. I understand that having written plenty of business cases in my time and read even more of them. However we have also touched on the point that the underlying data quality used by NR has been poor and incomplete. We appear to have an acknowledgement in some quarters that the pace of change in demand and travel patterns is far greater than anyone imagined or hypothesised about. I accept we can’t accurately predict the future but I am concerned that we will have spent a massive amount of money and the end result “won’t work” (to some extent) from day one. It would be interesting to know just what sort of “out there” scenarios NR tested and evaluated for London Bridge and whether they are now worried that what seemed like lunacy as a scenario is going to become reality in 2018 or not long afterwards?

    I am going to disagree with you about your Victoria comparison. It only holds true if you consider having people queue for many minutes outside the LU station, inside the LU station and then wait for the 4th train to be an acceptable way of handling people. The escalator only copes because people are delayed in their access to it. LU clearly doesn’t consider that to be acceptable as it’s spending £800m to add lots more escalators, entrances, ticket hall space and connecting tunnels to remove that unacceptable level of queuing. It remains to be seen whether their lack of work at platform level was the right thing to do, notwithstanding a 36tph train service.

  545. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Walthamstow Writer,

    They hold people outside the station at Victoria because they can’t get on the trains and not because the escalator can’t cope. Or at least that used to be the case. Yes there would be spurts of arrivals that overwhelmed the ticket hall for a few minutes but I don’t think it was the case that northbound trains leave with space available yet the people couldn’t get to the platform because the escalator couldn’t cope. It may be true now with the more frequent service.

    More escalators would still be helpful because it would remove reliance on one critical escalator and mean that the escalators would not be so crowded (impossible to walk down). It would also mean that you could clear the platforms quicker of people leaving
    the station which would aid circulation and also evacuation in an emergency.

    So long as the escalators clear the platform before the next train comes the situation will not be too bad. One could wish for platforms to be cleared instantly but that tends not to happen nowadays. New Cross Gate has substantially been rebuilt recently yet in the evening rush hour there are delays getting up the footbridge from trains arriving from the south let alone from London. At Purley I can see my train waiting at another platform but know I will miss it because of the massive queues for the stairs.

    We are told London Bridge was designed for 90m passengers per year. It is currently around 56m passengers per year. If numbers went up by more than 50% you are at the point where you really should be thinking of building additional infrastructure because there is a limit, even with 12-car trains, ERTMS and everything else, to the throughput of trains that you could get through London Bridge.

  546. Jonathan Roberts says:

    Even allowing for more passengers staying on more through trains at London Bridge, the simple fact fact that you have just stated, that the new London Bridge was designed for 90m passengers a year, is the most worrying fact that I have heard about the rebuild project.

    For example, the Deputy Mayor is looking for an 80% increase in National Rail passenger volumes, to address London 2050 issues. If nothing else, this points quite urgently towards a Crossrail 3 (mentioned by Mike Brown at a London Assembly Transport Committee hearing on 8 July), or a Thameslink 2…

  547. Jonathan Roberts,

    That’s my point. Once you are thinking beyond 90m per year then the station, track, trains etc all won’t be able to cope so a different solution will be necessary and you have to start thinking about Crossrail 3 or Thameslink 2. Actually, given the way passenger numbers are apparently increasing even during the rebuild of London Bridge we should start thinking about these now which is the point that you and Walthamstow Writer, Greg and many others clearly think.

    I think the gist of the project team thoughts were that if you are going above 90m then a rebuild of London Bridge station isn’t the solution.

  548. timbeau says:

    “Stopping people getting in is almost as bonkers”
    I take your point, but closing one entrance whilst doing nothing to stop people simply moving round to the next one, which leads to the same concourse, can simply make matters worse. That was not the situation at Hillsborough, (where the different entrances all led to different pens), or Medina (all converging on one entrance), or Ibrox (people were re-entering as other people were trying to leave).

    If they all lead to a common area, you only reduce congestion in that area by closing all entrances to it.

    @Ian J

    “Certainly [next train may be half an hour away] more of an issue in the evening peak but in the morning peak there will essentially be a constant stream of trains to each of the three inward destinations, so I doubt many passengers will be aiming for a specific train.”
    There is a significant contra-peak flow, and they have to fight their way against the incoming hordes.
    And my with-flow morning connection is to a train at 0828, with the next one at 0903, with a huge amount of churn as people surge off the just-arrived train. (It’s a bit easier at the moment as there are no tram passengers adding to the crowds)

  549. ngh says:

    Re PoP, JR and WW,

    See my recent comment in the Sussex Part 9 for demand modelling clangers.

    From what I understand at 90m PAX London Bridge will hit some Ped Flow bottlenecks in a few places but not all.

    However demand and capacity may not align for example:
    Beyond 90m LBG could take more PAX just very selectively for example SLL services going to 12car but that may not be where the demand is…
    Hence TfL CR3 comment and something lurking deeply hidden in their response to the draft of Sussex Study:

    We recognise that in the very long term, a further step-change in capacity will be needed, which could be in the form of a new line. Clearly an intervention of this magnitude would require a large amount of optioneering and development. The Route Study forecasts that this type of intervention will not be required for decades, but we believe it would be beneficial to identify at a very high level the potential options so that these can be considered when delivering interventions in the short to medium term.


    Hmm CR4 or TL2 anyone?

  550. ben says:

    I can’t see anything in the news about it this morning – but the ride in on the Hayes line was so smooth towards London Bridge I looked out the window to work out what was going on. I can only say for certain whatever else might have happened, we were crossing on the new bridge at Borough market – I worked in the area during its installation which must be nearly 5 years ago and Im sure before Xmas it didn’t have track. I’m wondering if a whole new line of track was commissioned over xmas. I have zero knowledge of London transport so can’t offer any intelligent analysis, but it seems a major milestone has been reached?

  551. Alan Griffiths says:

    ben 4 January 2016 at 11:21

    “I’m wondering if a whole new line of track was commissioned over xmas”

    That was the recent target for the project. We’re all awaiting the official claims of how well it went.

  552. Paul says:

    The up and down Charing Cross lines now run through unopened platforms 7, 8 and 9, and over the new Borough viaduct, and are basically in their final configuration through the station except for the down loop track through future platform 6 which will be used temporarily by up Cannon Street trains following stage 3 track switches to be made in August.

    I don’t see any evidence of significant timekeeping problems on the new route, although you’d expect a few minutes here and there as drivers will exercise due caution for a few days.

  553. Southern Heights says:

    The track was in place well in advance of the Christmas blockade…. The “only” bits left to do were to join the track at both ends.

    The restart would have been perfect except for a signal failure at Cannon Street this morning…

  554. ben says:

    aha and thanks – I did wonder if we were passing through new platforms at LB or if hoarding had come down – Well I can say for certain the difference in vibration and noise all the way from Bermondsey was startling – it felt like a brand new train, and there was little of the familiar screeching over to waterloo east, during which speeds seemed a little higher as well, but that could have been my excitement.

  555. Alan Burkitt-Gray says:

    My train from Blackheath went very smoothly along the new track past the still incomplete platforms this morning, and across the new bridge. Everything was running late — but, amazingly, my train was half empty. Perhaps people are taking a few extra days.

  556. RayK says:

    To Ben,
    You are right in everything that you have said. It is indeed a major milestone. It’s just rather overshadowed by the London Bridge Station work and the huge job at Bermondsey. They are all related.
    Now that they have moved the Charing Cross trains on to the new viaduct they will rebuild the tracks on the old viaduct. I expect they will strip right down to the old structure so that they can find and repair any defects. They have two years to do that but I expect they will do the stripping fairly early so that they have time to deal properly with anything that is revealed. Once the structure is all shipshape they will then lay new, separate tracks for the Thameslink trains which will no longer have to share with the Charing Cross services.
    To all,
    We know there is nice new shiny pair of tracks laid on the New Borough Viaduct. How far West has the track been replaced over the Christmas/New Year period? Is it just to the Southwark Street bridge or further?

  557. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    But they don’t have 2 years to sort the old viaduct as some of the old CHX track alignment (east of Borough Market Jn) will be needed from August for the temporarily relocated Cannon Street lines…

    The shops underneath the old viaduct in Borough Market have been temporarily relocated from this morning to allow access to the underside of the viaduct for 3 months (between Bedale Street and Borough High Street) to allow the the viaduct to be worked on.

    Very little track work was done during the blockade only the connections.
    Most of the track on the CHX lines has been replaced to just west of Ewer Street during the Summer and Autumn weekend blockades and the new track through the station was laid from November onwards.
    Charing Cross – to just east of London Bridge was resignalled and transferred from London Bridge to Three Bridges which was the major work during the blockade not the track.

  558. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Also, very little replaced east of London Bridge, basically only 500 metres east of the new platform ends. So that smooth ride all the way from Bermondsey is exactly the same as it has been for months!

    What has changed is that through the station, and all the way to Waterloo East, the insulated joints have been removed from plain track. The new track circuits don’t require them except through point work. This will improve the ride, and reduce noise. The track alignment is much better too.

  559. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Some other changes:

    – An extension to the canopy on platforms 1&2 has been built out of scaffolding at the country end
    – In the corridor just to the Shard side of the old ramp to the former platforms 5 & 6, the ceiling appears to have been lowered
    – Quite a lot of ballast has already been removed in the area where tracks 4 & 5 used to be near the station. That is the area where the pointwork was….

    Down at the diveunder end a cosiderable amout of further track laying has taken place. I wonder if this is in preparation for the August blockade?

  560. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights,

    “Down at the diveunder end a cosiderable amout of further track laying has taken place. I wonder if this is in preparation for the August blockade?”

    Can usefully be done with out getting in the way at the moment (leaving it till later would make it harder). The first track laid doesn’t get used till mid 2017 (track 6) or 2018 (track 5), the track that will be laid later in 2016 (tracks 7+8 (& 9 on the 12 track section)) get used first.

  561. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    12 track section? I thought the viaduct was “only” 11 wide? Or is the a tiny bit of 12 tracks just before it splits into 3?

  562. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ngh – thanks for the video link. Always interesting to see how stuff is done – loved the bit where you can see the platform hoarding going up and being painted (simple things please simple minds!). Also a tiny bit surprised to see Southern were running in but I guess that side of the station is done now and the engineering trains could get in via other means.

    I may have to treat myself to a ride to Hayes to ride over the new alignment and visit the land of myths, opposition and curved platforms in the borough of Bromley!

  563. RayK says:

    Re ngh
    Thank you for pointing out the work that had already been done before the blockade. I had not appreciated that the major blockade work was the resignalling. Nor had it occurred to me that resignalling could improve the track as explained by SFD.
    Thank you also for explaining that work will be done on the underside of the viaduct for 3 months between Bedale Street and Borough High Street. I understand that that will leave a further five months for them to work on the top of that section before it is required for the Cannon Street lines.
    Are there any constraints which will reduce the time available for work on the viaduct between Bedale Street and Dickens Junction?
    East of the station, will the newly laid tracks be available for use by engineering trains until required for timetabled services?

  564. timbeau says:

    @southern heights
    twelve tracks by the time you reach the diveunder

    Somewhere in the unsearchable depths of the comments on one of the threads (maybe even his one!) was someone’s listing of the dates of construction of the various viaduct widenings

  565. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    You can see some old sections of track with insulated block joints being dismantled, separated and put on the scrap wagons in the video from 1:49 to 1:53.

    They will want the track down well before August as that is when the new signalling into Cannon Street is being commissioned as well as the tracks brought into service.

    Most of Bedale Street – Metropolitan B Jn where the Metropolitan Reversible line joins will be done between now and August too.
    Metropolitan Reversible line is in use till Easter ’17 so work along the section west from Met B Jn through Met Jn (where it goes 4-6 Tracks in future) through to Dickens Jn where to where it goes 6-7 tracks (2-3 Blackfriars tracks) is somewhat limited to what can be done before Easter ’17.

    The tracks east of the station – first ones to be installed (5-8) will be rather isolated, inaccessible (and unattached). 9 will be more useful and connected so expect that to get use for engineering trains before it will come into use as the Down Sussex slow on 27th December 2016 well before the other come into service in 2017.

    Re Timbeau / Southern Heights,

    Dive under thread for viaduct dates.
    11 to 12 track st Spa Road Jn 1mile from the buffers on the terminating platforms. Where the terminating approach track go 3 – 4 (the future down Sussex slow starts there) the tracks split 600m east of this.

    Platform 8 is being used for up services, 7 for down and 9 isn’t being used at the moment.

  566. Paul says:

    Can I just recommend viewing David Harvey’s five latest slow motion videos of the route through the station and over the new viaduct?

  567. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Paul – seconded. I watched them earlier and found them a very useful update given I rarely use the main line at / through London Bridge. I like the way he was developed a technique for getting his camera outside through one of the opening hopper windows and is then dedicated / mad ? enough to travel in each direction to get a multiplicity of views.

  568. Alan Griffiths says:

    Paul 5 January 2016 at 17:21

    Wow. That’s my joyride cancelled.

    I note that there are points between the Charing Cross up lines so that a train could pass through platform 9 although it did pass through platform 8.

    I note that the down train from Charing Cross passed through platform 7 and there is not only no track at platform 6, but as yet no points.

  569. ngh says:

    Re Alan G,

    The concrete underneath track 6 isn’t finished yet either!

    5+6 will get used for non stopping Cannon Street services from August ’16 to Easter ’17 so very sensible to keep them segregated (to avoid temporary signal interlocking etc.) so the points will get fitted some time between Easter ’17 and August ’17 (wooden sleepered track in place at the moment where they will go).

    As 7-9 will all need a bit more work I suspect which ones are used will be rotated.

  570. Paul says:

    Is it clear from the physical layout on the ground which is the normal Up line to Charing Cross and which is the loop? Or are they sufficiently similar in orientation that it doesn’t really matter?

    I ask because some of the schematics (linked previously) show the points and routes in a logical sort of ‘tube map style’, i.e. with every line horizontal or at 45 degrees, which don’t really give much of an idea of the lineup of the real life S&C layouts…

  571. Dave Cardboard says:

    Search “From Shard” on Fl1ckr and I’m sure won’t be too long for a suitable photo from which you can make a judgement.

    Personally, I don’t think there’s going to be a “normal” versus “loop” – I see it as (in final config) as 2-up/2-down albeit one shared with Thameslink (not sure whether for normal ops or “pertabation.”) All seem to be “reversible” to back out trains in the down direction.

    However, I’m no expert in these matters.

  572. quinlet says:

    According to the signals, platforms 7 and 8 get the ‘feathers’ while platforms 6 and 9 do not. This suggests that platforms 6 and 9 are the ‘main’ platforms – a bit surprisingly really.

  573. RayK says:

    ‘London Bridge Station Redevelopment January 2016 update’
    can be found at :-

    A couple of items raise questions in my mind.
    ‘-The removal of a section of the remaining foot bridge will take place.’
    Was it considered unsafe to do this whilst the tracks below were in use?
    ‘Central girder removal & deck plate installation will take place during possession hours at track level above the Joiner Street area.’
    Would this be the girder which is visible between the two Cannon Street tracks and the recently vacated CHX track (which will become down Thameslink)?

  574. Sad Fat Dad says:

    The ‘normal’ route, as far as the points lay in the final layout is

    From line 8 up through platform 9
    From Down Ch X through platform 7.
    From line 7 there will be 4 routes available, the points will lay normal for a route into platform 7.

    However, it is all largely irrelevant, as in the final layout every signal on the approach to the station where there is a choice of routes will have a ‘theatre’ style route indicator (rather than feathers) which will be lit for the appropriate line for every movement.

    In summary, there will be no ‘normal’ route.

  575. Stuart says:

    @Dave Cardboard
    “Personally, I don’t think there’s going to be a “normal” versus “loop” – I see it as (in final config) as 2-up/2-down albeit one shared with Thameslink (not sure whether for normal ops or “pertabation.”)”

    Given the down CX side will be beside the up TL route, how can they be shared efficiently ?

  576. ngh says:

    Re Stuart & Dave,

    CHX 2 up 2 down (peak use 14tph/ platform inc ECS)

    Blackfriars 1 up 1 down (peak use 16tph / platform)

    CST 1 up 1 reversible 1 down (peak use 14-16tph / platform inc ECS)

    No sharing malarchy as then you would have to turn off ATO in the TL core and start cancelling CHX services…
    Platform usage in tph terms nicely balanced anyway

  577. RayK says:

    I know this point has been made before. The main purpose of the two platforms in one direction is to enable a train to pull in to platform X before a train in platform Y has pulled out. This is most likely to be needed during the peaks but may, of course, be used at other times. The Thameslink timetable through LBG should not require this.
    The secondary use of the track arrangement at LBG is to cater for the times when a train sits down and blocks a platform. The provision of tracks through an alternative platform allow for at least some service to run.
    Outside of these very necessary requirements there is no reason to prefer one platform over another.
    I imagine that it is advisable to minimise the number of times that any set of points is switched in order to maximise the life of the mechanism. This would mean that points would be left set at the position required for the last train to pass until some other requirement arose.

  578. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Stuart, Dave and ngh,

    I think you are all taking about different things and confusing issues.

    I don’t think there was any suggestion of mixing services between the CX platforms [6-9], Thameslink[4 & 5] and Cannon St[1, 2 & 3]. The originally raised issue was which was the “main” Charing Cross Platform e.g. 8 v 9, 6 v 7.

    From a signalling perspective the “feathers” (white lights) traditionally diverge off the highest speed route. If this were to be the case, this may or may not be the platform most used in preference which may be down to other factors including the gap between the platform and train (both horizontally and vertically).

    As Sad Fat Dad says, a digital display giving the platform number (traditionally referred to as “theatre-type lights”) would be used at London Bridge as feathers would be almost meaningless and confusing.

    In practice, at least in the peak direction, I suspect trains will “flip-flop” from one platform to the other in sequence. Otherwise you largely destroy the benefit if the island platform serving two lines in the same direction.

    Another consideration may be that the platforms will be reversible in the event of a disrupted service. So it might be a good idea to have the outer platforms (6 & 9) as the “normal” ones leaving 7 & 8 available for conflict-free reversals.

    I am sure a lot of thought will go into this if it hasn’t already done so and there will be other factors involved that we will not even think of.

  579. RayK says:

    @ ngh
    Thanks for that explanation. Will platforms 3 and 6 be covered by ATO to cater for perturbation with a sat down train in 4 or 5 or would this cause a conflict of systems?

  580. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Ray K & ngh

    Yes platforms 3 and 6 will be covered by ETCS and ATO, although it is rather hoped they don’t have to be used in this manner very often.

  581. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    “I imagine that it is advisable to minimise the number of times that any set of points is switched in order to maximise the life of the mechanism. This would mean that points would be left set at the position required for the last train to pass until some other requirement arose.”

    The effective life of the points will probably be determined by wheel wear on the frog and switch ends in which case alternating between services will be helpful to even out the wear. The point motor etc is all relativity quick and easy to replace in comparison.

    PoP and quinlet,

    Also as there aren’t speed differences between Normal and Turnout directions in this case there isn’t one of the usual reasons for feathers when everything is complete.

  582. Dave Cardboard says:

    On another topic – in the much referenced 2014 InfraRail presentation – Joiner Street bridge was due to be reconstructed over the Chrismas blockade. With usual caveats about the trusting information obtained in such “presentations” – anyone know if it happened…?

  583. ngh says:

    Re Dave,

    Change of plans a very long time ago – the existing bridge has been strengthened instead of replaced with most of the work done underneath much earlier in 2015 and just the topside work at Christmas.

  584. RayK says:

    Some work on Joiner Street Bridge is mentioned in the ‘London Bridge Station Redevelopment January 2016 update’ to which I referred in my 08:12 post this morning. I sounds like they intend to do some fairly drastic surgery this month. Perhaps the girder needs removing before they reroute the CST services in September.

  585. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    Weak Bridge is the fundamental problem, 2 new beams were put in underneath earlier in 2015 (above a major pedestrian throughfare see unravelled’s photos)
    Saturday & Sunday possessions every weekend in Jan to finish the job off.

  586. GTR Driver says:

    Ngh, off topic, but is the drop in speed when accessing some platforms on the approach to East Croydon why junction indicators are used rather than theatre boxes? I’ve noticed that when for example accessing 6 and 5 on the down, the train is not checked down as the speed is a consistent 45 but when going into 4, 3, or 2, it is checked down to the relevant signal which clears on approach, as the speed drops from 45 to 25 across the points? Because as PoP says, they can indeed seem a bit confusing!

  587. Sad Fat Dad says:

    The use of junction indicators (feathers) vs an alphanumeric light box (theatre) has varied across the country and over the years.

    Convention now is to use the latter in complex route areas that are generally low speed. There is no requirement to use one type or other depending on the speed reduction required for the diverging route.

    What does change for a reduction of speed for the diverging route is the signalling arrangements on the approach. If the diverging route is more than 10mph slower than the main route, then some form of approach control is required. Essentially this restricts the aspects for a train approaching the junction for a diverging route (to red or yellow depending on the circumstances). In some areas flashing yellow aspects are used, and in a smaller number of circumstances a preliminary route indicator is used. Very rarely, you get a ‘splitting distant’. Airport junction in the GWML has one IIRC.

    You can still have feathers or theatre indicators at junctions where the speed in any direction is the same speed. This happens, for example, at Rugby on the WCML Down Fast, where it is 125mph to both Coventry and Nuneaton, and feathers are provided.

  588. timbeau says:

    I would assume feathers are easier to see at a distance – or at least, the difference between on and off is easier than the difference between, say, 8 and 9.

  589. 100andthirty says:

    Fascinating………I’d always know “feathers” as “harbour lights”!

  590. Paul says:

    Thanks for the replies and digression about which are the normal routes and which are the loops. Have noticed Opentraintimes has a signalling map of the revised layout (so far); and if the signal ID numerical sequences are anything to go by they agree well with SatFatDad’s confirmation that in the up direction P9 is logically the up line, and P7 the down:

  591. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: Platform 8 is being used for up services, 7 for down and 9 isn’t being used at the moment.

    Are you absolutely sure? I could have sworn I was going through track 8 in the down direction last night, The platform for 7 just appeared to be too far away…

  592. RayK says:

    @SH, Given the shortness of duration of a *moment* you could both be right. Perhaps the signallers are putting in some practice.
    On a more serious note. On 5th Jan at 21:58 ngh said :-
    ‘As 7-9 will all need a bit more work I suspect which ones are used will be rotated.’

  593. ngh says:

    Re SH and RK,

    Moment = all services that day until the time I wrote the comment. (and the previous day as it happened).

    They seem to rotate somewhere between every day – 2 days based on what has happened so far this week. As mentioned above by several people this should help bed everything in nicely, even up the wear while not cycling the moving parts too much.

  594. Dave Cardboard says:

    On UK Rail Forums, someone – who sounds like they are “in the business” – commented that they are rotating traffic flows for the reasons speculated here – “bed in” new systems, even out wear, prevent rusty rails, etc. They also commented that P9 is still referred to as “up passenger loop.”

  595. Greg Tingey says:

    Just to enliven the informed, which is us, usually …
    What some other people think about London Bridge & other termini, too …
    Worth a quick skim, if nothing else.

  596. Melvyn says:

    One feature that is on its last legs is the passenger interchange bridge at country end of station which now only links joint platforms 1/2 to platform 3 .

    It seems big change will come in August when a large part of the new street level concourse opens .

    Given the lack of press coverage when Network Rail gets it right perhaps they need to look at newspaper adverts ?

  597. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Melvyn: That is still required as it also provides an emergency exit in case of a fire in the normal cross passage. It leads into the old Southern Railway building….

  598. GTR Driver says:

    There were plenty of adverts placed by NR in the run up to Xmas

  599. RayK says:

    Re GTR Driver,
    NR did indeed place plenty of adverts before Xmas. Those adverts were to get people to wake up to their intention to dig up the apple orchard.
    What Melvin suggests that NR do is to advertise the apples which result from the work. They do a little of this on their web site. They highlight just, well, the highlights. They need to give a better idea of what work has been done where, what the benefits of that work will be, and where it ties in with other work.
    Perhaps a whole new section of web site or indeed a separate site is needed. A single page adding the work done in the past week with each weeks record maintained to show that they work hard round the year.
    Currently, the National Rail website under the ‘Latest travel news’ banner emphasises disruption and delay. The ‘Cleared service disruptions’ has the same emphasis. NR need to do something to redress the balance. Once the ‘Good News’ site has been set up to counter the current ‘Bad News’ pages then the existence of that site could be advertised far and wide.

  600. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ RayK – I doubt the public would be terribly interested in knowing that some ballast has been laid or some concrete poured to make a new column. Rail enthusiasts might be interested but let’s not confuse two different groups of users. My sense of things is that Network Rail are getting better at showing progress but its promotion is inevitably tied to the major milestones being achieved after a major possession. That’s just how it is unfortunately. I expect there will be a big push re London Bridge as we approach August when the first bit of the new “downstairs” station opens for business and SE services change.

    Passengers are much more interested in knowing their trains are on time and not cancelled. I expect there would be a cynicism overload if Network Rail went into over promotion mode – it might be seen as an attempt to distract people from other issues. In my view it is much better to be honest about things, not to overpromise and not to make claims about “everthing’s getting better” until there is confidence new assets are working properly. NR have had a bruising time over London Bridge when their claims about the new platforms were found wanting for a pile of reasons. Crossrail are generally considered to have a good PR team but they aren’t issuing updates every week despite having such a large volume of activity right across Greater London.

  601. RayK says:

    I agree with much of what you say. I cannot agree that NR’s ‘promotion is inevitably tied to the major milestones’. This is somebody’s decision. There is nothing inevitable about it.
    You rightly deplore the extremes of detail like ballast laying and of ‘over promotion mode’. As I pointed out, the current situation is that bad news is well promoted but good news of the everyday variety is either not mentioned or has to be dug for.
    Highways England gives equal emphasis to it’s major projects and it’s everyday resurfacing works etc.. They promote their work of resurfacing and drainage improvement as being for the comfort and convenience of road users. NR needs to do the something of the same. Ballasting and tamping are not ends in themselves. They improve the comfort of the passengers and maintain the line speed. Each promotion needs to assume that it will be read by somebody who has not been told this before. And the good news needs to be readily available and pointed to.
    The NR web site has a ‘Press’ section. It is short on news and mostly used by the rail press. Something better needs to be done and itself promoted. The good news needs to be put out there for the public to see.

  602. quinlet says:

    Even where there is not an important milestone, it is also vital to give out the message that progress is being made. Just as with roadworks where nobody seems to be active (because concrete is curing or similar) public and passengers need to be reminded that work towards the goal is still making headway, even when no physical changes will be experienced by passengers for weeks or months to come.

  603. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Does anyone have any idea as yet of when the August blockade will be and for how long?

    Once I know I will start to plan my summer holiday!

  604. Malcolm says:

    Perhaps a bit more good news would be helpful. But writing and publishing such stuff costs money, and there is probably not much of a budget for it. To return to the apples, a commercial apple grower would not waste money on advertising his apples if the state of the market meant that every apple was snapped up as soon as it was picked, due to a national apple shortage. The main beneficiary of the London Bridge work is the peak-hour commuter, and the last thing anyone wants or needs is enhanced demand for peak-hour commuting!

  605. Edgepedia says:

    From this Southeastern website page, (scroll down to August 2016) it looks like through London Bridge services will be diverted over the Bank Holiday weekend, Charing Cross re-opening on the Tuesday and Cannon Street on the Friday.

  606. ngh says:

    Agree with Quinlet, NR were getting quite a bit of flack earlier in programme for why is or isn’t work being done at a particular time and the photos and video help to show it is 24hr site.

    i.e. “why can’t you finish the work quicker by working nights?”
    “We are doing work at nights” with links to photos and videos

    Re Southern Heights,
    August Blockade

    New timetable to begin on Sunday 28 August 2016.

    LBG – SE side closed over the August Bank Holiday (27 August – 29 August inclusive)

    On Tuesday 30 August – Thursday 1 September 2016 there will be no Cannon Street Services. After this date, Cannon Street services will not call at London Bridge.

    Charing Cross services will call at London Bridge from Tuesday 30 August 2016.

  607. 100andthirty says:

    I recently visited Amsterdam and the Visitor Centre for the north-south Metro line under construction (2x original estimate and 5-7 years late!). They originally took what I might describe as the “normal UK public utility approach to publicity” – defensive, work behind closed doors, say nothing unless asked/challenged. After nearly being cancelled because of the cost increase/delay, and in response to a backlash to the disturbance of neighbours in a crowded/historic city, they decided to be truly open – hence the really well equipped Visitor Centre, web site and social media. They don’t make the mistake of deciding for the public what the public wants to hear; they keep their ear to the ground and respond to everyone’s wants.They have, as a result of this policy, published some incredible photos and have described some incredible civil engineering – and some of their tasks have made Crossrail look easy. NR would do well to emulate them. Crossrail is another example of proudly and pretty transparently publicising its work.

  608. Chris C says:

    The New York MTA actively posts photos of it’s weekend work even if some are a bit reminiscent of catalogue poses ‘man pointing at cable box’ and ‘track section being lifted by crain’

    When it carries out its ‘fast track’ work where it closes a line(s) for an extended night period over 4 nights (Mon – Thur) the very next day it posts what work it has done – how many X feet of track it has replaced , Y lbs of rubbish removed and Z square feet of station area painted. They even say how many light bulbs and CCTV cameras and monitors it has replaced / cleaned.

    Now IMHO it matters not one jot how many people actually look at it but it does matter that it spends a little time and money on putting the info on its website – and the link is on the front page as well not hidden.

    I’m looking at the national rail enquires website for Sunday (was planing on going up to London) and all it says for the BML is ‘engineering work is taking place between …’

    Now now hard would it be to say what they are actually doing and why? e.g, ‘we are replacing the signals between X and Y which will lead to a more reliable service’ or ‘replacement of 3 miles of track between A and B which will lead to a smoother ride and when the project is complete shorter journey times’

    They know what work they are doing and they are already spending staff time putting the bland ‘engineering’ works on the website so another minute to type a little more text isn’t going to break the bank is it?

  609. Malcolm says:

    Chris C says “They know what work they are doing and they are already spending staff time putting the bland ‘engineering’ works on the website so another minute to type a little more text isn’t going to break the bank is it?”

    Maybe not. But publicity of this kind can misfire if it’s not thought through reasonably carefully, so I wouldn’t see it as a “zero cost” option. But yes, probably still worthwhile.

  610. Robert Butlin says:

    I tend to think that there is a broad constituency of non rail buff but still interested people out there, not least because after 5 years of commuting people do acquire some kind of interest in the something that they use twice a day five or more times a week. Londonist, Ian Visits and City Metric have transport subsections, and I can’t imagine they are only read by the subset of rail buffs.

    And in London in particular there are plenty of non-car drivers who have acquired an interest in transport, and engineering work because the engineering work stops them being able to travel easily some weekends.

  611. Melvyn says:

    The page TFL produce in Metro newspaper provides a good example of how information on both work to come and post weekend results whicg Network Rail could use as a basis .

    Here is an extract from Network Rail Christmas Report on its site :-


    Progressing the electrification programme was a key part of the upgrade work that took place on the Great Western Main Line this Christmas and New Year. Over 11,700 metres of new electrification wiring was installed as were 174 new masts, all in preparation for the arrival of the new fleet of faster, quieter, greener and longer electric trains.

    I know the figure for new electrification is not clear as to whether 11.7 km is all tracks or single track miles but it still shows how much progress was made something which could counter act the bad publicity electrification got last year .

    In fact I came across an item in a newspaper written this year which still reckoned that MML electrification was not taking place !

    A post Christmas , Easter and August BH report would help explain what happened during say a 10 day Christmas closure .

    It’s worth remembering that now Network Rail is back in the public sector it needs to publicise what it has done in order to ensure future funding if it’s to continue successful upgrade of the network.

  612. ngh says:

    Drivers eye view of the new up Charing Cross route through P8:

  613. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – interesting but what a shame it is quite so speeded up! Actually being able to see the new platforms and what’s going on would have been nice. Pity Youtube only has a pause and not a “slow down” button.

  614. RayK says:

    Youtube Speed:- Click on the gearwheel for settings and speed is selectable between quarter and times two. Quarter speed is still fast.
    It’s a pity the video and the title are incongruent. The video shows LBG station and only half of the new viaduct. I was looking forward to seeing the West end of the viaduct when it finished.

  615. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Re publicity, I agree more could and should be done. But that does require a Client who wants to do it, and a decent budget to be provided for that purpose.

    TfL pay a not inconsiderable sum for their daily page in Metro, and I’ve been told (by someone who should know) that TfLs PR team has 10 times as many people in it than the whole of NRs. I’m not sure I believe that, but it does explain how TfL got away with presenting the new SSL resignalling contract (3years late and well over budget) as “Good News”

  616. Dave Cardboard says:

    Re: Drivers Eye View Speed:

    Download the video, get hold of something like VLC or MPH-HT (Media Player Classic Home Theatre) and change the playback speed. The latter will let yo step through frame by frame if you like.

  617. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ SFD – and there was me thinking that TfL got their Metro page free as part of the overall distribution deal for the London version being distributed on their network.

  618. Graham Feakins says:

    @SFD – There’s a frequent contributor to LR, who visits the Blue Posts on LR nights and who has his own website with photos and fine resolution videos at slowed-down speed of the LBG work as viewed from windows of service train saloons and who I’m sure would be grateful to accept a Network Rail shilling or two to be invited into the cab of whatever is on hand passing and record the scene from there.

  619. Sad Fat Dad says:

    @WW. I suspect you are correct re the TfL / Metro deal. Presumably NR has a similar arrangement, but takes the cash rather than a page in the paper. Ultimately the effect for TfL is the same, they forego cash for a page in the paper.

  620. RayK says:
    is the first thing that I have seen of LBG for some time and the first from this far North. Are the hoardings just too effective to permit good views of what is happening or is there some other reason for the lack.
    This 360 deg. video raises questions. Looking towards St Thomas St. there is a noticeable lack of the much vaunted natural daylight. Is this an effect of the poor quality of the video, the effect of hoardings blocking the light or is it really dim down there?
    The most Easterly of the ‘B’ columns appears to have been completed along with the track beams to the side wall. have the foundations for the other columns been completed or would they be an obstruction at this stage?

  621. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ray K – the place is far from finished. I imagine several areas where light could penetrate to lower levels are blocked off / sealed up. There is also no working lighting at low level from what I can see. We’ve only got 3.5 months to wait before half of it opens so I imagine the pressure is really on to get everything sorted.

    I would suggest the main article / video on the BBC website gives a far, far better view of the newer parts, including daylight, of the revamped station. The 360 degree thing is pretty useless.

  622. ngh says:

    Re Ray K and WW,

    (Plenty of photos on their twitter feed)

    Should improve when the hoardings are removed especially the triangle in the middle between P9 and P10. The Daylight comes from northlights so looking south towards St Thomas Street won’t be as bright as looking north (Especially when the windows along St Thomas Street are boarded up and also the office on the concourse are in the way.)

    Staff start moving into the control room and offices above the new ticket office in the concourse at the end of the month. (And the current office space in the old SER offices get demolished)

    “B”columns – but they are the “C” columns…
    The country end has a short span of concrete decked rather than steel & concrete decked. The piling for the rest of the “C” columns has been done but anything above ground level would indeed get in the way of demolition in September onwards.

    The bank of 4 escalators from the current concourse to the tube are being closed at the end of June to allow the escalators be removed and work on the replacement quadripartite arches on the passageway between the new concourse and tube station to be completed.
    But there is an experimental closure this Wednesday (today) and Thursday rush hours so expect grumpy pax walking the long way round.

  623. RayK says:

    Err! Aren’t the Cannon Street services due to be routed over the ‘C’ columns from September to April?

  624. ngh says:

    Re Ray K

    Opps yes you are right – the danger of post whilst half asleep!

  625. RayK says:

    Another NR video of LBG. This time the new Control Office.
    It had not occurred to me that the cladding under the bridges was anything other than for appearance. Yet we are told (0.43 sec =/-) that it is there to deaden the sound of trains passing overhead.

  626. Alison says:

    Interesting video, shows the works are coming along well. Such a pity that the voices are almost inaudible yet the music blares out.

  627. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Good video and nice to see a better glimpse of the concourse area. How long before the control windows are covered over once the punters work out what it is and who is in there? You can imagine what might happen if there are delays and the concourse is filling with people.

  628. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    Or just make sure the retail establishments don’t sell anything that is solid enough and will have enough momentum to cause damage when thrown to first floor level!

  629. Jim elson says:

    From ex guards presumably. I’ve never known Southern commuters to do anything like that. At worst crawl under barriers perhaps in desperation.

  630. ngh says:

    Re Jim,

    I think WW and I were both being sarcastic…

  631. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – not really! I’ve seen far too many examples of “open” control rooms being designed and constructed and then being made as anonymous and invisible as possible by the operating staff. This is to ensure privacy and to avoid the “punters” being too distracting by gawping through / banging on the windows. It’s a classic case of the theory of the design being completely ignored by those who actually use the space. Pesky users and their human traits!

  632. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    The new control room is at first floor level above the ticket offices (which is at ground floor /street level) on the new concourse so there won’t be many “punters” banging on the windows unless they have a ladder etc.! (Platform level is circa at 2.75 floors)

  633. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – I know where it is from the video. Still won’t stop people sussing out what it is – especially as it’s on Youtube. It also won’t stop them, if they’re “annoyed” (ahem) enough, from standing and jeering and shouting if they’re all stuck downstairs and no trains upstairs. A few choruses of “oh why are we waiting” would probably sound lovely in the new wooden clad under track concert hall. 😉

  634. Josh says:

    Well hopefully once the programme is complete, there will be fewer delays.

  635. RayK says:

    Given that the office is described as secure. And given what that tends to mean these days. I suspect that it might be more resistant than most structures to anything available in the local retail outlets.
    I would also expect the window to be designed to reduce the transmission of sound. The concourse, being the size of Wembly football pitch, can hold the equivalent of a football crowd who can make quite a substantial amount of noise just by conversing and moving about. Perhaps that cladding is intended to deaden the sound of more than trains.

  636. Greg Tingey says:

    Until it snows …..

  637. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    The TL tracks should be in use 24/7 most weeks so there should be some resilience against snow effect service on some of the London Bridge services. When some of the services get out into the more exposed bits of Kent that is different matter. Lots of the de-icing kit seems to be based at Tonbridge (inc Sussex side) so you just have to hope that there was no scheduled engineering works overnight that preclude the trains running from Tonbridge towards your line!

  638. timbeau says:

    “The concourse, being the size of Wembley football pitch, can hold the equivalent of a football crowd ”

    You couldn’t possibly get the entire 90,000 seating capacity of Wembley onto the pitch – which is the standard UEFA Category 4 size of 105m x 69m. (So the word “Wembley” is redundant in that claim anyway). Each person would have little more than the size of an A4 sheet of paper to stand on.

  639. ngh says:

    Re timbeau,

    And even less space & fewer people when you have added a ticket office, 14 stair / escalator banks, lifts, retail outlets, gatelines and help points. 1 person per A5/A6?

  640. Malcolm says:

    The suggested number of people was “a football crowd” – not a very specific number. (The juxtaposition of Wembley being mentioned nearby may have confused us somewhat). The football match I last went to had less than a dozen supporters freezing on the touchline. Your results may vary.

  641. Anomnibus says:

    The commuters there are unlikely to attempt anything more violent than a sternly worded letter to the editor of The Times. Younger commuters currently prefer Twitter, but the effect is likely to be much the same: A collective venting of the spleen, but nothing more. By that time of day, you’re too knackered and running on fumes anyway.

    Commuters know full well they are powerless. It matters not one whit whose logo is on the side of the train: There’s no M&S-style option. No ads with unctuous voice-overs claiming “This isn’t just any old train! This is a Rolls-Royce Class 735 with luxury leather seats, designer lighting, and personal at-seat butler service.”

    You don’t even get a “Tesco’s Finest”. It’s all just the basic J. Tesco Mediocre Value Range service.

  642. MikeP says:

    Little more than the size of an A4 sheet to stand on? Pah, that would seem like acres of space on SouthEastern after service perturbation.

  643. RayK says:

    I’m mildly disappointed that someone hasn’t worked out an approximate crowd number during a typical non-perturbed rush hour. In referring to a crowd i wanted to bring to mind typical crowd sounds and volumes. I would have referred to a shopping mall but then we have to consider the sounds of music. There will, of course, be announcements. I should think that they might present sufficient reason to soundproof the control room even without crowd noises.

  644. Ian J says:

    Modern sports stadiums are often deliberately designed to be noisy, with lots of reflecting surfaces to echo the crowd’s noise back to it and create ‘atmosphere’. On the other hand in a station you would want to eliminate echoes that would make it hard to hear announcements.

  645. RayK says:

    @Ian J
    Thank you for that important observation. I can see how the elimination of echos would aid the zoning of announcements so that each set of passengers gets to hear what what is relevant to them without interference from other announcements.

  646. ngh says:

    The bank of 4 escalators from the current concourse to the passageway leading to the tube are being closed on Thursday 16th June to allow the escalators be removed and work on the replacement quadripartite arches on the passageway between the new concourse and tube station to be completed. The lift between the passageway and the current concourse is also closing on Sunday 26th June.
    The metal staircase (under an arch) is also being closed in peak hours.
    The alternative lift will be the Shard one and there are alternative step free walking routes.

    The existing gate line is also being shortened before the new concourse opening which won’t go down well with users particularly in the am peak… (they haven’t chosen to publicise this bit yet).

  647. Malcolm says:

    RayK: Zoned announcements maybe. But those with perfect hearing here may not appreciate just how much impact the acoustic quality of P.A. has on comprehension. I have only slight hearing loss, hardly affecting conversation, but there are many public announcements which I cannot understand, and those around me, who have understood, do not notice the degradation at all (and are quite surprised when I ask them what was said). But there are also some announcements which I do hear clearly – typically when the equipment is new and well-designed, and the announcer is well trained.

  648. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: “The metal staircase (under an arch) is also being closed in peak hours.“.

    Do you mean the staircase on the Tooley Street side?

  649. Toby Chopra says:

    @ngh How is one meant to get to the tube from the terminating platforms if the escalators and the Tooley St steps are being closed? The new concourse doesn’t open until later.

  650. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights,

    Yes the one on the Tooley Street side under the Cannon Street track arches

    Re Toby,

    The official routes are:

    1. Shard Escalator(s?) from Jubilee in PM peak (tidal flow arrangements suggest both escalators set to up in evening peak?)
    2. The escalator next to the News UK building (other side of the pedestrian crossing that opened last year) for Northern Line
    3. Walk the long way round down the bus station ramp and back along Duke Hill / Tooley Street to Jubilee in AM peak

  651. Toby Chopra says:

    @ngh Thanks. Think I need to do a dry run sharpish! Reckon it’ll be the long walk round in the AM peak for me.

  652. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Toby Chopra, @ngh: Map here. You’ll need to scroll down a bit….

  653. Pedantic of Purley says:

    That finally explains why they have gone to such trouble to create a second parallel walking route alongside the existing one – itself more or less parallel with the bus station – basically route 3 on the diagram.

  654. Old Buccaneer says:

    Could we have a June/July “pre August changes update” please? Pretty please?

  655. Old Buccaneer,

    Personally, I would love to provide one but I know nothing that is not already out there in the public domain. We could take some photos of the concourse when it opens.

    Incredibly, as far as I am aware, the South Eastern timetable following the August closures still isn’t published. That would tell us a lot and give a big clue as to 2018 plans on South Eastern side.

    Decent information is hard to come by. Take, for example, Abbey Wood Weekend Closures. The table is headed with that exact working and some weekends have green ticks and others have red crosses. Does a green tick mean yes the closure applies or that there is a train service?

    SouthEastern’s department of misinformation (speciality is maps) strikes again.

  656. Paul says:

    The web version of the national timetable available via NETWORK RAIL’s website since mid May includes before and after 29 August versions for all the tables in the Southeastern area.
    AFAICS there has been no publicity yet…

  657. Paul says:

    Apologies that should have been separate dated versions as sections within each table…

  658. Old Buccaneer says:

    PoP re: Abbey Wood closures: according to ‘National Rail Enquiries’ journey time at 1150 am on 11 June is 18 min and on 18 June 32 min, from Plumstead to Dartford. There’s a picture of a (red) bus on the train I looked up on the later date too. I deduce green => train.

    ‘Publicly available’ is not what it was.

  659. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    There is plenty that is public but very well hidden and not joined up or explained…

    SE timetable – the draft certainly is available but It won’t tell a lot for the longer term as it is another fudge till the next fudge in August ’17 (Charing Cross services get 4 platforms at LBG) and the proper one in Dec ’17. The new franchise holder or DfT may have other ideas for 2018 timetables! The infrastructure changes mean it won’t be possible to see what the long term plan is as CHX is only 24tph max vs 28 long term and Cannon Street is 24tph passing through without stopping vs 22tph long term. There is net increase of 2 later on and more SE Blackfriars services.

    Quick Post August summary of service that could stop at LBG:

    Am peak:

    Up Charing Cross services:
    All 24tph Up Charing Cross services stop and alternate between platforms 8 and 9

    Down Services:
    All use P7
    10 stop
    10 pass in service (8 465/466/376 type stopping /semi fast distance services and just 2x 375 longer distance services)
    4 run ECS

    Pm peak:

    Is more spread out anyway so fewer tph but a longer peak overall
    All down services stop alternating between P7&8

    Of the 19tph up services between 1730 and 1830:
    18tph stop at P9, 1 tph passes (so similar potential performance to the old P6 at 18 stopping)

  660. Old Buccaneer says:

    Paul – so just the 84MB zip file then? I’ve had a little play with the Southeastern website & rapidly lost the will to live. Makes me grateful I don’t live out that way.

  661. Old Buccaneer,

    The fact that you had to conduct such an exercise to work out what is meant rather makes my point.


    “The draft is available …”

    There would still be a lot of clues. For instance, will we still see a 15 minute evening service alternating between Charing Cross and Cannon Street rather than the 30 minute one Charing Cross only pre not stopping at London Bridge? That on its own would be very revealing.

    Also, the appearance of 12-car metro trains to Charing Cross (or not).


    Thanks. It does not surprise me that the working timetables can be found but they are not an easy read so I generally try and avoid them unless I have good reason to look something up that cannot be deduced from either the public timetable or Journey Planner.

  662. Old Buccaneer says:

    PoP: fully agree. There’s a single sentence explainer on the ‘London terminals weekend closures’ page which could so easily be copied across & lightly edited. Aargh!!

  663. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    I think there may be dangers in reading to much into Aug TT changes.

    As Phase 2 of the electrification works for the 12 car lengthening project has got delayed as the ORR wouldn’t agree with NR’s costing (it wasn’t getting cheaper in line with NcNulty for ORR purposes but real competitive tendering based costing didn’t agree with McNulty!) so the increase in outer metro 12 car services* is much delayed till March 2019 with NR still suggesting that the big TT change is still scheduled for Dec 2018 after a year of bedding down at LBG as the extra space at Blackfriars bay platforms won’t be available till then. (Also happens to align with Crossrail Abbey Wood opening)

    * e.g. CHX – Gillingham via Abbey Wood and Blackheath and the slow CHX – Orpington – Tunbridge Wells being the main affected services (And sensible length Hastings Services!)

  664. ngh,

    I think there may be dangers in reading to much into Aug TT changes.

    Fully understand but nevertheless there are some things that will give a clue and for some of the other things we can take into account current day reality. I agree that will leave a lot unanswered.

  665. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    Evening services (and general off peak pattern)
    Taking Hayes as a detailed example the service is 4tph Charing Cross but not evenly spaced (19min/11min gaps). All stop at Lewisham for interchange (with CST services)

    Blackheath line gets 6 tph; 2 VIC and 4 CHX (2 then via Woolwich)

    Sidcup Line gets 6tph: 2 CHX and 2 CST

    Greenwich Line gets: 6/8tph; 6 CST (and 2 CHX via Blackheath)

    Grove Park Line gets 4tph; 2 CHX 2 CST

    Non-Hayes lines have fairly even spacing of services “via” London Bridge

  666. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Which rather suggest that these extra evening services will live on for evermore. If they were only temporary they could have got rid of them once Charing Cross trains stopped once again at London Bridge.

    All we need now is for a dose of reality and run them on Sundays as well.

  667. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    The off peak looks fairly settled as it optimises the running of the CST-CST loop services avoiding Dartford. (50% loop CST services).

    Improved off peak was a direct award extension commitment…

    Sundays improvements – that would need there to be far less engineering work and bit of Tfl involvement? The last thing they want to have to do at the moment is deal with more altered or cancelled trains on Sundays due to the LBG rebuild.

    Presumably 12car on the CHX via Blackheath and Woolwich services from August would require the new Abbey Wood SE platform to be largely complete and open full length?

  668. timbeau says:

    “Paul, Thanks. It does not surprise me that the working timetables can be found”
    I think Paul was referring to the public timetable, which has been published (albeit (now only available as an 84MB download – individual tables no longer available)
    This does indeed show separate timetables before and after 28th August
    (Read Barry Doe’s report in today’s issue of Rail if you want to know how well the GBTT has been proof read!)

  669. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau – now let me guess what Mr Doe might have said? How about “not very well”? (proof read, that is). I expect that’s a somewhat toned down version. I think we reached the point a fair time ago that the NR timetable pdfs / printed books were not really to be trusted. A crying shame but there’s simply not the requisite attention being paid to those documents despite having volunteer checkers etc. The high volume of engineering works causes a lot of turbulence in the timetables – well that’s my perception (happy to be corrected by those who use trains more than I do).

  670. Pedantic of Purley says:

    And, as if by magic, the timetables appear!

  671. Pedantic of Purley says:

    In such circumstances I always look first to the Hayes timetable because it is easiest to follow.

    The rogue 07.43 Hayes – Charing Cross service now reverts to Cannon St as it should do (times have slightly changed).

    4tph right up to last train Mon-Sat.

    On Saturdays all trains go to Charing Cross (half call at Lewisham but none at St Johns or New Cross).

    On Sundays all trains (2tph) go to Cannon St! So no direct trains to London Bridge.

  672. James Bunting says:

    WW @ 1333

    I am not quite sure what goes on up in Milton Keynes but NR seem to have some difficulty in producing something in a timely manner for me to proofread, and then taking much notice of the feedback that I give. This time around, for example, I was given tables that included services along the sea wall between Dover and Folkestone only to discover that a totally different set of tables, that I had not seen, have been published. Things like seat reservations and catering trolley symbols reappear at each edition, despite South Eastern having long abolished these and me having reported them each time. However, it seems that much is driven by the Working Time Table (WTT) downloads they have to work with. Because someone has puts seat reservations as being available in the draft WTT it cannot, apparently, be removed from the public timetable.

    There is much that can be done with the National Timetable to make it more useful, but I sense that something is preventing the joined up thinking necessary to do it. There is certainly a struggle with the concept of trains that go round in loops as many in (the historic county of) Kent do.

  673. MikeP says:

    There was a little bit of twitter argy-bargy this morning which may have, err, assisted in the (belated) appearance of those timetables today. They were previously promised by Southeastern “by May” and this morning Southeastern were still “working with NR to finalise them.” NR were claiming the ones on their site were final, but would not confirm this after being presented with the Southeastern claim.

  674. Southeastern Passenger says:

    I’d agree that Southeastern probably weren’t planning on releasing those timetables, it’s unusual to have such basic formatting and include train headcodes. These probably are what were presented to the various ‘stakeholders’ before the timetable is produced in the standard timetable book format closer to the time.

    The August 16 timetable does suggest the more frequent evening trains are here to stay. The Victoria – Orpington Weekday + Sat has 4tph after 9pm compared to the 2tph now. Technically there is one half hour gap between the last two trains, but that last train is an additional service. I presume due to the unconventional release of the timetable the accompanying press release hasn’t been written yet.

  675. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ JB – sounds to me like Peter Hendy needs to go into “argy bargy” mode when he has a spare moment to deal with some small stuff rather than the big stuff which no doubt takes up nearly all his time. It’s clearly bonkers that you (and many others) are giving up your time only for your feedback to be wasted / ignored because there is some “immovable” rigidity in the system that means “things can’t be changed”. I don’t doubt that there is some amazing complexity and a shed load of interdependencies in the processes used to create a timetable but what’s the point of presenting “rubbish” to the travelling public? None!

  676. Ian J says:

    Has the time come just to let go of the all lines rail timetable? Does anyone other than enthusiasts use it?

  677. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    It’s SO USEFUL & I cannot trust many TOC’s tt’s because they all-too-often only show “their” trains not all trains.

  678. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Slight change to what you mentioned earlier, the Thameslink web-site now has a news item about the changes:

    To help reduce crowding in the Tube station the metal staircase will be closed during the morning peak.

    Note: This is the morning peak only….

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