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It will probably not have escaped most readers attention that the main portion of the new London Bridge station concourse opened on August Bank Holiday Monday. Impressions are invariably subjective and so London Reconnections breaks its rule about being objective to give you a report on the development.

Space, Minimalism and Integration

Lofty

Much has been said about how spacious the new station looks. On arriving from the Southern platforms it does look open and impressive, but at first it appears that the hype was perhaps a little bit overblown. So, marginally disappointed, one has a look at the detail and admires the minimalistic and functionally integrated design. It is only when entering further one realises that it is indeed big – and lofty. The space between platforms 10 and 9 has been put to good use to extend upwards in a cathedral-like way.

The station might not be to everyone’s taste, but for those who like this sort of architecture it must rank as one of the best in its class. It seems to be even better than what was achieved at King’s Cross. It also feels like it will work well as a station with no bottlenecks and the very open layout – and good quality signage – makes it easy to find one’s way around.

The station is uncannily similar to the computer generated images created years ago, so in that sense there are no great surprises other than how close it is to what was promised. It has to be said that no photo, 360° view or computer image can give you the same feeling as actually being there.

Reality of classic computer generated image

This photo looks amazingly similar to one of the computer generated images publicised a few years ago

Day one is always a bit special

There are some good previews of the station and doubtless its day-to-day usage will be well recorded. Day one of the opening of projects such as this is, if possible, a quiet day for staff to familiarise themselves with the station and to enable minor problems to come to light and be fixed before dealing with the surge of weekday passengers.

The people to help you

Notable in the early hours of opening was a small army of people employed to help the first passengers in case of need. This is not unusual, as staff need to learn about the station too. It will doubtless be a different story on day 2 when commuters return to work.

Construction workers examining the final result carefully

Also conspicuous were the construction staff looking for things to add to the snagging list. Few in number, they appeared to be colour coded with red jackets – to distinguish them from the assistance staff in blue jackets.

Finally, everything had to be spotless and Costain, the contractor, had a roadsweeper cleaning the already immaculate St Thomas Street outside the station. More interesting than the spotless road is the restored facade at the eastern end of St Thomas Street. The reduced width of the roadway is undoubtedly going to make this street much more pedestrian friendly. This looks like part of the big plan which will enable retail outlets to feature underneath the restored arches.

Roadsweeper and restored arches

Entrances

St Thomas Street main entrance

Primary St Thomas Street entrance

Exit to St Thomas Street

Primary St Thomas Street entrance viewed from inside the station

Apart from the wide main entrance on St Thomas Street there is a secondary entrance further along. Passengers needing to purchase tickets at the ticket office will be directed from here along the street to the main entrance.

The picture showing the improvised coffee selling stall has a small sign to the left indicating the way to Tooley Street (the street to the north of London Bridge station). This is presumed to be the morning peak-only exit to Tooley Street. This was added at a late stage to the plan, as the numbers of passengers on SouthEastern were increasing despite the disruption of the Thameslink Programme works. As a result, it was felt prudent to provide a limited-hours direct exit to the north despite the inconvenience that this would create for the contractors who are still working on completing the north side of the station. They will presumably be limited in what they can do in the morning peak whilst the entrance is open.

Still a bit temporary

The ticket gates at both ends of the former Cannon Street platforms have been removed. This provides an extra unpaid area route from Tooley Street to platforms 10 to 15 (Southern terminating platforms).

Former Cannon St platform entrance

Former ramps to Cannon Street platforms have been blocked off

Finally, there is a long, wide and deep staircase flanked with escalators leading from the existing terminating platforms concourse to the new street level one.

Way to new concourse from existing one

Ticketing

Ticket office with no-one being served

Ticketing arrangements at the new station were already known to be problematic. There is a story, possibly apocryphal, that a meeting was set up to determine how big the ticket office should be. Those present had different opinions. Some thought it should be larger than the existing one to allow for growth. Others thought it should be larger to enable a more personal service to be given for those passengers who wanted it. A different view was that, with the advancement of technology, the number of paper tickets sold would diminish and so the ticket office should be smaller. In the end they admitted they didn’t have the slightest idea how big it should be, so agreed to have it the same size as the one that then existed. As a result the new ticket office has seven customer service windows – the same as the old one.

A paucity of ticket machines

What is more surprising is the lack of ticket machines. Putting only four ticket machines at the main entrance of a busy London station may be considered a brave decision. In the Oyster (and post-Oyster) era though, it may be the correct one. It also avoids concourse clutter. Certainly the lack of use of the few ticket machines at Blackfriars (both NR and LU) indicates that some stations tend to have regular travellers who don’t need to purchase physical tickets.

Old Southeastern ticket machines still being used

SouthEastern ticket machines still in use

Moving the ticket office down to the main lower concourse introduces a problem:- It is difficult for passengers approaching via the Shard to purchase a ticket without a long journey between floors. Time will tell if the right decision has been made here, but it appears bets are being hedged:- The existing SouthEastern ticket machines remain in use and a big sign outside the former temporary ticket office directs passengers to these machines.

Oddities

Despite the ubiquity of mobile phones, it was thought necessary to have a couple of pay-phones. The temporary-looking linear loudspeaker next to the phones was one of the very few items on the station that felt as if it was not part of the permanent long term design, but a temporary expedient.

A couple of payphones

More curious are a number of covered signs at the top of various staircases. These could be clocks, as the station currently lacks standalone timepieces. It is possible, however, that they are simply yet-to-be-implemented signs.

Mysterious sign covered over

A nice touch is that the World War memorials to fallen railwaymen of predecessor railway companies have been added to the station in a way that doesn’t make it feel like an afterthought.

Clarity of information

Escalator display in detail

Where the new station scores highly is with the clarity of information. This has clearly been very well thought out. Particularly impressive are the next train indicators embedded into the structure of the building rather than being tacked on as an afterthought, like a solar panel sitting on a roof. The graphic displays for the escalators are lovely and clear, and are also very bright.

Clear and unobtrusive signage

Perhaps best of all are the customer information displays on the platforms. At last there is a design that displays the next three trains and, for all three services, where they are calling at.

Superb platform signage

Platform 6

West end of platforms 6 and 5

West end of platforms 6 and 5

One aspect of the opening of the station that has not been remarked upon in the previews is the near completeness of platform 6. In fact it is currently used for engineering trains. Whilst part of the platform is fully fenced off (but not without small gaps) the rest merely has chains hanging from vertical poles to tell passengers to go no further. As a result one can see the construction progress.

Track 5 and track 6 will be needed by Friday 2nd September when services resume to Cannon Street, as the Cannon Street tracks will be diverted to use these and free up the rest of the original station for updating. Track 5 is in position, but neither track 5 nor 6 appear to have functioning signalling. Both are also lacking a third rail at present. Although track 5 exists, platform 5 doesn’t yet. Clearly there is a lot of work still to be done in the next week.

Ballast train in platform 6

Ballast train in platform 6

Surprisingly, given that it will not be used by stopping passenger trains until August 2017, platform 6 appears to be fully functional – complete with working passenger information display.

Platform 6 operational signage

And finally …

Easily missed, but clearly with a promise of what is to come, on the entrance to the stairs and escalators to platforms 6 (not yet open) and 7 is a picture of how the concourse will look from that position when fully open. By relating what is in the picture to what is on the ground now one gets a good idea of what the finished station will look like.

Now and the future

In the next few days we hope to have a look at all the associated activity and changes made in the London Bridge area over August Bank Holiday.

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There are 349 comments on this article
  1. Walthamstow Writer says:

    You clearly had a better look round and with less hassle than I achieved. Nice article.

  2. Paul/@bitoclass says:

    I basically agree with your conclusions on all this, with one minor exception being the need for the “go this way” arrows above active down escalators to be changed to use downward-pointing arrows, which seem more natural even if they might technically once have meant “go backwards”. See an example here, which confused me on my first visit on Sunday night – I wanted to go down but at first glance it appeared one was no entry and the other was up! https://twitter.com/bitoclass/status/770025442980032514

    Since the Southeastern platforms opened I haven’t tried to get from a Southeastern train to the tube station, but I have the impression this is now significantly more difficult/indirect than it was before this weekend (when you simply left the platform via the slope, then took the escalator ahead of you straight to the tube station entrance). Am I right to think it’s now much less direct? Possibly with the exception of the peak times when that additional route is open? Or have I missed a straightforward, level route from the new concourse to the tube station entrance somewhere?

  3. Paul says:

    The advance info stated there would be peak time only access to the tube station at concourse level, through the western undercroft, but it is still a partial worksite so logically it wouldn’t have been open today.

    Regarding platform 6, won’t passenger trains be passing through later this week? They’ll probably put the usual “stand clear” messages on the display…

    [Whoops. I forgot about that. I have slightly modified the wording. I have also deleted some subsequent comments on this as they are now an irrelevant distraction – but thanks to the two of you who pointed this out. PoP]

  4. Paul/@bitoclass,

    I take your point about the arrows. If they agree it would better if they were “down” then, as it is a dot matrix display, I would hope they could change it.

    The station map is on the Network Rail website and can be found here [PDF].

    As you can see, in peak hours the exit to the Underground from SouthEastern will be very direct and a vast improvement on the old station. Outside peak hours I presume it will be a bit of a pain until they can get the peak hour route open all the time. I would imagine this shouldn’t take too many months. As far as I can see it is only so the contractors can complete the finishing to the route so that you don’t feel that you are walking through a building site.

  5. CDPL says:

    Total lack of signage from the Tube to platforms 8 & 9 when the peak hour short cut is closed.

    The first sign you see takes you up an escalator to the Southern platform level concourse that has been open for some time.

  6. Other Malcolm says:

    So presumably in August 2017 the CST trains will be re-routed via the tracks for platforms 1-3 (though they still won’t be open until Jan 2018), thus allowing platform 6 to open? Is that the plan?

  7. Jon says:

    I really like the concrete and wood. I like the supports which hold up the canopies. I love the vertical space between the Southern and Southeastern platforms.

    I can’t stand the canopy cladding. Does anyone else agree? It looks so uninspired, dull, dark and, well, cheap. I hope I get used to it.

  8. Graham H says:

    Thank you for a pretty comprehensive article – first impressions count… (and the coverage on the national news was altogether positive, when, given the recent history, it could have been knocking copy).

  9. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    P6 completeness:

    1. If it wasn’t it would be very, very difficult to do later…
    2. The points at the country end between P6&7 are already in place, but clipped out of use.
    3. The location of where the future points between P6&7 at the Charing Cross end will be currently has wooden sleepers and check rail visible on the P7. The track at the that end of P6 will be slewed towards P7 later. This will allow an easy weekend addition of the points later.

    P5 is much less complete because:
    1. The temporary down CST track has to be where the platform will be for circa 1.5 car lengths nearest to CST so the pre fab concrete platform units will go in later.
    2. The beams across the concourse area for the P3+4 track bed only went in earlier in August. Substantially complete at the country end though.

    The CST tracks move to the new P1&2 at Easter 2017 allowing tracks 5+6 to come out of use and the CST end of platform 5 to be completed and the tracks at the Borough High Street end to be relaid further southwards. Also at Easter ’17 the new Charing Cross track route through the dive under comes into use. P6 comes into use for CHX services after the August BH weekend in 2017 (just signalling change that weekend).

    The big unseen change over at the weekend was signalling with Cannon Street lines signalling moving from London Bridge to 3 Bridges ROC but with the retention of the existing route relay interlocking retained (till Easter ’17 and tracks 1+2 into use) and the modification to the Charing Cross signalling that was previously moved to 3 Bridges earlier this year.

    Interestingly the new SE Cannon Street timetable doesn’t use the Met curve (for ECS to escape via Blackfriars and Elephant and Castle) so we might see it closing earlier than planned to allow works to start there earlier…

  10. Pedantic of Purley says:

    ngh,

    The signalling changes will be covered in the subsequent article.

  11. ngh says:

    Re Graham H,

    Just wait until something goes wrong on a working day!
    The changes this time are relatively low risk compared to some past and future changes also helped by a slight shift to soft start where possible e.g. Test event the Saturday before the BH weekend, concourse open to Southern users (P10-15) on Sunday lunchtime and then SE Charing Cross users on BH Monday morning.

    The drivers on the CHX platforms having had 8 months to get used to the tracks and signal layout first before stopping. (Less risk on CST side as they go to a new alignment but not stopping so more slack on timing).

    Generally good PR nationwide on BH weekend work (no Finsbury Parks) and in the LBG case plenty of photos of shiny new stuff to fill space on potentially quiet news days. Some very interesting comments from Mark Carne about high growth rates and all the new extra capacity being used up far quicker than expected (1/3rd increase since 2008).

  12. Giovanni says:

    I wonder how often they will be cleaning that huge rather bright concourse! But otherwise it is looking very good. Hopefully much of the signalling problems are behind us now too.

  13. Pedantic of Purley says:

    ngh,

    No need to wait. Delays between New Cross and London Bridge due to signalling problems.

    Not the best worded of announcements bearing in mind that there are no direct trains from New Cross to London today.

    Giovanni,

    Sadly not.

  14. Jim Elson says:

    6,7,8 & 9, the up & down new platforms to & from Charing X,are designed almost straight. Yet on the platforms there are no cctv cams for driver self despatch as happens at Waterloo up main SE platform.
    When Thameslink St Pancras Int replaced the old Kings Cross station, monitors were put in,& at quiet times drivers self despatch. I understand on the Thameslink platforms at London Bridge drivers will self despatch with no CD & RA signals. Are armies of dispatchers going to be employed even at very quiet off peak times on Southern Eastern’s 6,7,8 & 9 for ever more ?
    I reckoned the bill on bank holiday Monday for the 12 dispatchers on 6,7,8 & 9 was £250 an hour. If monitors had been put in,it could have been done on the up side for nothing. The annual bill for these platforms for the excess of dispatchers employed over the number needed for self dispatch must be at least half a million pounds a year; from the taxpayer & southeastern farepayers.

  15. ngh says:

    Re Giovanni,

    You tempted fate, signalling issues near New Cross…

    No change to the unreliable bits on the Cannon Street side till 2017 and the resignalling work out to Lewisham/Grove Park etc, doesn’t get done till 2018.

  16. Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association says:

    Good article, many thanks.

    Our take is at https://srta.org.uk/wp/posts/1882

    At least some of the ticket machines at the ‘old’ entrances to (old) platforms 1-6 need to be move to the new concourse – in addition to the five pictured there were an inadequate two at the Joiner Street entrance. At around noon yesterday on a Bank Holiday there was a queue for the five ‘old’ ticket machines and 3 out of 4 of the ‘new ‘ machines, and a queue at the ticket office too, so whatever the future may hold there is still a need for ticket vending facilities.

    We consider that the provision of only one lift per island is inadequate in normal circumstances, taking account not only of passengers with mobility issues but also passengers with heavy luggage, and would make the platform “inaccessible” if the single lift failed or was undergoing maintenance. There is plenty of space for two lifts per island, either side by side or on either side of the ‘lift bridge’ (there is actually room for four lifts). Similarly there was room for a third escalator in each bank, normally operated on a tidal basis, and giving contingency for when an escalator needs to be maintained (cf TfL). All this looks like penny-pinching.

    We share your concern about signage to the Tube station.

  17. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association,

    Agree with virtually all of that. A very minor point is that they aren’t SouthEastern Lifts – they are Network Rail ones as they manage the station. So a comparision with other Southeastern lifts isn’t valid. A comparison with those at Reading would be more relevant.

  18. Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association says:

    Thanks. It was really a point about lifts in general! We’ve corrected our piece.

  19. ngh says:

    Re SRTA,

    The five ticket machines that haven’t moved are very useful for Southern passengers so they don’t have to trek down stairs and back up again, there are passnegers who use other TOCs apart from Southeastern! Agree about the lack of ticket machines overall though but why bother when it is the customer time (/money) being wasted queueing while NR/the TOCs save by having fewer machines to buy and maintain.

    The demand for purchasing tickets at LBG is unusual in that most of the busiest times appear to be Friday evenings and Weekends/BHs with tumble weed seen rolling by at other times including most rush hours! Which probably means the BCR for extra machines is excessively poor due to the marginal usage.

  20. Greg Tingey says:

    A nice touch was that the World War memorials to fallen railwaymen of predecessor railway companies have been added to the station in a way that doesn’t make it feel as an afterthought.
    Where are they, please?
    I’ll be having a look-around tomorrow ….

    Agree with your comment on indicator-displays – is this to be the new standard? One hopes so.

  21. Greg,

    On the right hand side of one of the Tooley Street entrances as one enters. Can’t remember which one. I did take a photo but the plaque isn’t really very photogenic. I have to say it is “discreet” rather than being given pride of place. Different people will have different views on that but here won’t really be the place to discuss the point.

    You could ask at “Information”. I bet that would stump them!

  22. Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association says:

    ngh

    We hadn’t realised that the five machines were intended to serve Southern customers as well as Southeastern! If so, they would be better placed on the main Southern concourse in a less exposed position and closer to the platforms – we’re surprised that there aren’t machines there already. That would also work for Southeastern passengers arriving on buses since their walking route is now through the Southern concourse.

  23. ngh says:

    Re SRTA,

    That isn’t their final location though. The main Southern concourse is still relatively small compared to its final 2018 size especially with much work along the platform 9 side to do (including creating a floor where the escalators down to the western arcade and tube used to be) so the machines will end up inside when there is more space. The space where the temporary ticket office is and the rest behind the hoardings along side P9 will end up as cafe etc space, with the machines conveniently just outside the construction area for the time being…
    The new cafe /concourse building will extend to level with the end Charing Cross end of platform 8/9 and will act as a convenient wind/rain break for the platforms.

    Always slightly odd that SE do the ticketing at LBG given the relative passenger numbers for TOCs at the station. It might explain the minimalist ticket machine provision though.

  24. John B says:

    Even when the peak-hours only passages are fully open, it will be a more convoluted route from the bus station/London Bridge walk to the Southeastern platforms than before, as you’ll have to descend to the concourse and rise again. Is there enough room for that flow?

  25. Anon E. Mouse says:

    Great article, as always.

    I know I’m only being pedantic here but I think that in the second paragraph, the passage:

    well it is big and spacious but not that incredibly spacious

    should be in quotes as it sounds like somebody who is there expressing their opinion about it.

  26. Ed says:

    Lots of complaints today about signalling problems and congestion for SE. And the expected halving of capacity thus week meaning few being able to board past zone 3.

    Media coverage on day 1 (yesterday) was always likely to be good with NR PR leading most media along who barely have knowledge of these things. The passenger impressions today may not be so good, and then the media will belatedly chase that (and get the issue all wrong in most likelihood)

  27. Alastair Palmer says:

    Thanks, very informative article. Though this Friday is the 2nd of September, not the 3rd. Or did you mean Friday 30th September?

    [Now corrected. Sorry. PoP]

  28. moosealot says:

    Article begins with just a lower-case d, looks like the beginning of a sentence has been chopped off!

    [Corrected, thank you. LBM]

  29. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Today wasn’t the greatest, the 07:42 Orpington to Blackfriars service was chopped to 6 coaches… Previously this would only cause a problem between Hither Green and Lewisham where a lot of people would get off… Not so today… 30 minutes late at Blackfriars after extended stops at Hither Green, Lewisham, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill and Elephant and Castle…

    Perhaps this is the new stock roster for after Cannon Street re-opens on Friday?

  30. Ed says:

    Still lots of delays now as a legacy from this mornings rush hour. Interesting to see how quickly they can recover from issues

  31. James Scantlebury says:

    I think these are the best images showing the overall changes to London Bridge I have ever found. From RailEngineer.uk http://www.railengineer.uk/2016/08/19/london-bridge-station-another-milestone/

    http://www.railengineer.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Screen-Shot-2016-08-19-at-10.47.16.png
    http://www.railengineer.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Screen-Shot-2016-08-19-at-10.47.32.png

    Phenomenal changes. Looking forward to seeing it all finished!

  32. Sykobee says:

    As a Southern customer this removes a lot of pressure from the higher Southern Concourse gate line, as many customers will descend to the Lower Concourse for the tube and the exits there. This should put an end to the two years of rammed platforms when disembarking, and also split the evening crush between the two routes.

    Obviously I went down this morning too to take a look, and found the route through the “peak-hour archway” to Tooley Street fairly easily, lots of space to walk. The passenger load on the P8/9 (I think) escalators down was quite impressive though, and they had a nice easy route to the underground or the exits.

    I liked the architectural style, although my nitpicking eyes thought the wooden facade on the overbridges wasn’t perfectly cut straight.

    I saw that there was a blerdy TM Lewin already open too, so London Bridge users will no longer be shirtless.

  33. Anomnibus says:

    Sorry, but this kind of shoddy “will this do?” approach to Information Design irritates me. Those PIDs are old technology being passed off as new. Like Siemens or Bombardier claiming a Networker is the cutting edge of train design today.

    The information design here is rubbish. The clock looks squashed in like an afterthought, the platform number wastes a huge amount of space and could easily be on a separate board alongside, and the LED matrix display is clearly still divided up into smaller, fixed, displays, drastically limiting the unit’s flexibility. These units are basically the previous technology dressed up in shinier packaging. Someone is definitely resting on their laurels here.

    My smartphone can display all the information those PIDs are utterly failing to show, at a glance, clearly, and legibly, on a display 5″ across the diagonal.

    A general-purpose high-resolution matrix display, taking the full width and height of that board, would allow the information design and layout to be entirely dictated by the software, which is trivial to improve and upgrade compared to replacing fixed display hardware like this. Yes, it would cost more, but compared to the cost of rebuilding LBG itself, the difference would be marginal at best.

    (Before anyone jumps on me regarding accessibility constraints, I’m well aware of those. However, we’re not living in the 1990s any more.)

  34. ngh says:

    Re James S,

    From Rail engineer … who took them from the planning permission documents which were first linked to and discussed on LR over 5 years ago…

    Re Sykobee,

    I still have my suspicions about P10 and P15 in the evening peak but we’ll have to wait and see in a few weeks when passengers numbers are back up and they adjust what they do. (Not all the hoardings on 15 have apparently been removed)

  35. Pedantic of Purley says:

    And before anyone jumps on what should be done by hardware and what by software and how a platform display should look, be aware that opinions will be just that. Some of us like the current offering, others may not. We are not going to have a long debate on an issue that would no doubt devolve into discussing the relevant merits of digital and analogue clockfaces etc. It would be as meaningful as discussing which was the best flavour of ice cream.

  36. ngh,

    The hoardings were still there yesterday. I even took photos of “behind the hoardings” and at one critical point (which would give an alternative route around the stairs) they are just being used as a depository for unwanted building junk (e.g. unwanted bits of wood). There should be a good overview of St Thomas St once they are removed.

  37. DavidG says:

    PoP, ngh the hoardings on platform 15 were still there at lunchtime today, resulting in the familiar crush at the buffers end when opposing streams of passengers meet head-on.
    I suspect they’ll be gone soon.

  38. Sykobee says:

    The information displays are still better than what was there before. I agree they’re not perfect, but then again what do I know about public transport passenger signage?

    And they have to be legible from up to 20 metres I guess, I suspect a 5″ smartphone won’t be 😀

    Yes, they could have been higher resolution bitmapped displays, but I think after the Plasma display debacle (burn in, fade out) Network Rail are being conservative with good reason with what they pick for display technology.

    Just think – they could have been those TINY TINY displays like on the SLL. Or those displays that mostly show **** CORRECTION **** rather than useful train information.

  39. quinlet says:

    From a SouthEastern user’s point of view it’s a huge improvement compared to both the temporary station since January 2015 and the original station before. One strange thing is that, despite all the other attempts to create one station, the departure board at the foot of the escalators to platforms 10-15 still shows only departures from those platforms, thus perpetuating the previous split station heritage. There’s now no equivalent for platforms 1-9, which is fine for regular users who know which platform their train is likely to go from but not for anyone else.

    Incidentally, I now see that the signalling and conductor rail for platforms 5 and 6 have been installed – the signalling is working, too.

  40. Steven Taylor says:

    `Ian Visits` (link below) had trouble with taking pictures and was told it was forbidden to take pictures on the platform. My experience may be of interest. I had expected a long complicated procedure, but was pleasantly surprised.
    I found that getting permission to take photos, including the platforms was `simples`. I visited the Network Rail Reception Desk, and they asked for my name, took a photograph, and I was given a lapel badge, which I had to return when leaving the station. Process only took 3 minutes.
    I took many pictures, all over the station, in full view of several security guards – no problem.

  41. lmm says:

    @Sykobee It could be worse to be sure, but compared to the displays just down the line at Blackfriars, Farringdon or St Pancras it’s a disappointment. One would hope for all the central Thameslink stations to be brought up to the same standard.

  42. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Interestingly, checking the status of the trains home today, the Southeastern web-site tells me that “London Cannon Street to Orpington: No Problems”, which is a little different to “No Service”. But then even London Underground said at Cannon Street on Sunday and this morning: “Change here for National Rail Services”, except that there weren’t any… Surely on the S7’s this can be turned on or off?

  43. Other Malcolm says:

    @Anomnibus The display boards on the other core Thameslink stations are awful. They’re only a few years old but already showing signs of burn-in. And the refresh rate is more than 1s, so embarassingly the clock skips a second every now and then

  44. Malcolm says:

    I’m not sure that turning off “change here for National Rail Services” (as announced on LU trains) is worth doing, however easy. After all, I doubt if anyone ever hears that and suddenly thinks “I want to go to Somewhere on National Rail, so I’ll get off here and see if this station has a train to my Somewhere”. And anyone who believes that Cannon Street is the correct station for their Somewhere, and has missed the announcements that this week it ain’t, is unlikely to be deterred by not hearing the “change here” message.

  45. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Having travelled through the station this afternoon, I have two observations:

    1. There should be signs on the hoardings and general area pointing passengers arriving in the area towards the entrances… This requires co-operation with neighbouring property owners, but that’s not rocket science…
    2. The gap between the platform number and the ETD is too small…

    Otherwise not bad, although I do also question the need for a TM Lewin, how about a train shop instead? 😉

  46. RayL says:

    The Customer Information Displays fail in one important aspect – they retain multi-pages for the first train. The pic shows Page 3 of 3 (in a layout with much wasted space), so Page 2 will not be seen until 20 seconds or so has elapsed – a real pain when time is short.

    It would help if the software could take account of the number of stations on a page and display that page for less time if it is a page with only a few stations. It would be better still if the design avoided multi-pages altogether.

    To add to the irritation, very often one has to wait through ‘customer service’ pages – ‘Engineering work may delay your journey next weekend’ or ‘Please take all your belongings with you when leaving the train’ ( a nonsense statement if taken at face value – surely they don’t mean my washing machine and dining room table?)

  47. Melvyn says:

    @ Southern Heights T M Lewin is needed for when DFT and TOCs have had the shirt off your back when buying a season ticket ….

  48. Anonymous says:

    Great article. I enjoyed my visit to LBG yesterday. Has anyone noticed that the PIDs at the CHX end of 8/9 are not mounted straight?

  49. Fandroid says:

    Perhaps the platform next train indicators are dot-matrix rather than the full digital displays at St Pancras and other Thameslink stations because London Bridge is an above ground station and the extra lumens are needed to give visibility in strong daylight. Although I actually like those on the Thameslink stations I don’t have problem with the London Bridge ones as shown by PoP. The following train information looks a bit cramped, but once a passenger has realised what is being shown the information will be gratefully received.

    It is interesting to see the signs over the escalators. I suspect that someone has learnt a lesson from Reading. They realised after opening that they wanted to discourage people with big bags from using the escalators. The problem was that this hadn’t been designed in to the signage. So they put boards up at the top of the platform escalators encouraging use of the lifts. The difficulty was that it’s impossible to design an arrow that points behind the reader! They had arrows pointing to each side so encouraging passengers to use lifts that gave access to the wrong platforms! The London Bridge solution – ‘The Lift is Behind You!’ overcomes the nonsense experienced at Reading.

  50. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Other Malcolm @ 1637: the screens in the core are all being replaced with a new design. St Pancras was done a couple of months ago, Blackfriars was done last week. The old ones were indeed not up to the job, even though they seem to work perfectly well at various Hauptbahnhofs in Germany.

    PoP @ 1509: Mint Chocolate Chip, obviously.

    Personally I think the station is brilliant.

  51. DVD says:

    I visited yesterday at leisure and then briefly today. Although we only have one third of the finished concourse open, it has already has the “Wow” factor I remember from my first visit to the ‘new’ Kings Cross. I had expected it to be rather gloomy (which it is in parts) but there seems to be just enough natural light to alleviate this. The quality of the retail may be the key to whether it becomes a “hang-out” destination, so little is open yet so it is hard to speculate.

    Ticket machine provision does seem the bare minimum. There are huge queues for tickets to Brighton /Hastings and on summer weekends and when there are special events.

    The St Thomas Street entrances work well. Although I worried about the authenticity of the squeaky clean fake Victorian brickwork, only the purist will quibble and it will weather over time.

    I took plenty of photos (including on platforms) without being challenged, perhaps because I use my mobile and tend to be a surreptitious snapper.

    Passenger information looks fine to me. But I tend to rely on my National Rail app even at stations.

  52. Melvyn says:

    I know this site does not normally take news but given London Bridge is the news I decided to post the following from ES site where it seems complaints that new platforms are more like hipster jeans with overcrowding already was relevant to this article .

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/frustrated-commuters-complain-of-overcrowding-on-narrow-platforms-at-refurbished-london-bridge-a3332846.html

    This raises the question as to whether new platforms are of a normal width for mainline stations ?

  53. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Melvyn, the platforms are as wide as they can be, and in the case of those that serve the Charing Cross lines, somewhat wider (and with fewer obstructions) than those they replaced. They are also covered throughout their length which will encourage waiting passengers to move along them in weather less clement than today.

    The platforms were of course busier than normal today: although it is nominally a quiet week, Cannon St is shut and passengers who normally use that station would most likely have used London Bridge. I also suspect that London Bridge commuters are more likely to head to their platform in the evening – at the old station there was little other option and old habits die hard. When there is some more useful retail downstairs, I expect the habits to change, albeit over several months.

  54. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Interesting to read other comments. From the point of view of “ancient LU history” it is interesting to see the widespread use of what we called “overhead beams” over the gatelines and the escalator banks. We had ridiculous problems trying to justify overhead signs to show which way each gate was set in long or complex gatelines in busy stations. Seems Network Rail had no such issues! The one overhead sign at L Bridge that drives me slightly nuts is the one beside platform 10 upstairs which is for the down escalator. As mentioned by Paul at the start of the comments the arrow points upwards and, worse, the escalator slopes upwards! It’s probably my over developed sense of neatness but can’t we have a downwards escalator slope where they run down and downward pointing arrows??

    Despite all the predictions of woe with the departure screen designs I managed to find a train and the right platform without any great difficulty and I had no idea what train service was operating yesterday. Now I broadly know what to look for within a typical station but the displays worked and I got the train I wanted.

    I agree that NR had a largely positive press yesterday but South Eastern are getting pretty poor coverage today because of the gross overcrowding and scepticism that sufficient full length trains are in operation in the peak. Hopefully things may ease a tad in the next few days when Cannon St services can resume.

    My photos are in the LR Flickr group if anyone wishes to view them. Thanks also for not axeing my somewhat “angry” post elsewhere. I half expected it to be chopped and deposited in the virtual bin.

  55. ngh says:

    Those complaining in the standard obviously have very short memories if they can’t remember what the old platforms were like and therefore how much better the new ones are.

    Agree with SFD about the reasons for this week but I suspect that some more autumnal / hibernal weather will usually probably be the trigger for passengers to use the concourse more. (Nothing quite like a bit of sideways rain!)

  56. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – “No no no. We haven’t got short memories. You (bleeps) at Network Rail have taken centuries to rebuild those platforms. How can we be expected to remember something from 200 years ago?” said a commuter (exaggerating only slightly). 😛 🙂

  57. Giovanni says:

    I travelled from Charing Cross to London Bridge for the first time in 18 months and (notwithstanding the surprise at the disappearance of the Shell building area around Waterloo), it was busier than usual on the SE side which I put down to the closure of Cannon Street. Downstairs, it was pretty cool and reminded me of an airport terminal. Plus I got a glimpse of an amazing machine on the [platform 1] closed tracks doing some digging or hammering around the new sleepers.

    I waited for the Victoria train which was due on platform 10, and noticed that the small sign above the escalator did not list the stations, plus it said “Victoria” when usually it would be “London Victoria”. Personally I don’t find the orange pixel displays that easy to read, but I am also in denial that I am getting long sighted.

    I think the real test will be when things go wrong, which they will, eventually 😉

  58. Fandroid says:

    In my earlier comment about platform departure screens, I assumed that all of the Thameslink core stations had been converted to the type that now adorn St Pancras. SFD has put me right there. If others have not seen them, I commend a visit. They are quite a new feature for UK railways.

    Having had a go at photographing dot-matrix screens in the past, I know that the image can show the sort of flare that PoP’s photo indicates, even when that problem is not obvious to the eye. Having said that, I have seen new displays on LUL that were too bright and were really showing flare. As I haven’t noticed that recently, I assume that the brightness can be adjusted.

  59. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Another positive is that the pressure on the front carriages is now a little less…. It was noticeable this morning on my way through to Waterloo East.

  60. Peter says:

    anyone else notice the big white after-thought-looking barrier setup alongside the platform 15 escalator? Looks like to prevent intending platform 15 passengers from the ticket barriers next to it crowding straight onto the escalator & preventing passengers from the rest of the concourse doing so.

  61. ngh says:

    Peter,

    Probably the reverse, to prevent other users short cutting straight across the bottom of the escalator and causing pile up problems at the bottom if those coming down the escalator couldn’t get clear hence it pushes the other users away from the bottom of the escalator.

  62. quinlet says:

    Anyone interested in seeing the impact of only one platform available during the morning peak for up trains to Charing Cross should note that a combination of signal and point failures resulted in only platform 8 being used this morning. Within 20 minutes of this starting the queue of trains seeking to access Charing Cross was back to Parks Bridge junction. With this in mind, the decision not to stop down trains at London bridge during the morning peak, and up trains during the evening peak, makes some sense.

  63. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I thought the idea was to have a separate waiting room area which would be relatively secluded from the rest of the station area – sufficiently partitioned to give a sense of being away from the hustle and bustle yet not so isolated you get too absorbed in a book or one’s mobile phone to forget to catch the train.

    It is the only place where there are a significant number of seats.

  64. Bryn Davies says:

    @Southern Heights – Bring back Ian Allan?

  65. Paul S says:

    There’s an obvious long term solution if people won’t spread out along the entire platform. Close the light wells off except for the minimum distance actually required for the stairs and escalators. Buy a load more lights for downstairs, and keep them on 24/7.
    Or build the floor out of glass…

  66. timbeau says:

    @Paul S
    Aren’t we supposed to be trying to break the glass ceiling?

  67. Ed says:

    Still a huge number of delays after problems all day. What was the cause?

  68. Grumpy says:

    I had a 15 minute connection at LBG on Bank Holiday Monday, so went for a quick butchers. It really is a long way down from the SE platforms to the lower concourse. Which therefore takes more than a few seconds. And the same for back up again. While I was there, every single Down train (including the one I was boarding) was a last minute “platform alteration”. The information displays were often the last thing to be corrected, ie the train had started to enter the “wrong” platform, then an announcement had been made, and finally as the despatchers were standing ready in their little blue marked off areas the display boards were corrected. Perhaps the cause was shown by RealTimeTrains where the Up trains were booked for Platform 7 with Down trains using Platform 9! Interesting if that is what had actually been entered into the signalling system. Of course when you work in Three Bridges, reality is somewhat remote.

    Perhaps by now (Weds pm) we already know what happens when an afternoon rush hour platform stuffed full of people is told to shift from 7 to 8 or vice versa. How long before they start walking across the track rather than miss their train? To be of any use, information has to be accurate.

  69. John B says:

    They are running through to CHX apparently not stopping at LBG, as http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/ldbboard/dep/ORP/CHX/To shows

  70. Sad Fat Dad says:

    I need to correct myself about the core CIS screens – at Blackfriars they were only changed in the South entrance staircase last week, not in the platforms. But they will appear elsewhere in the core progressively.

  71. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Bryn Davies: ?????? Sorry I miss the historical connection, I know the Ian AllanBookshop and his role in popularising train spotting, but miss the connection….

  72. Melvyn says:

    I visited LBG today and as I was walking from the east I remembered to walk along the south side of the station and eventually found the new entrance into as someone else said a copy of an airport terminal with escalators, Lifts and stairs going up to the platforms with another set of escalators going to the Southern concourse above . Most impressive as were the new toilets I found and they were free to use ! Although in an area still being built.

    I spotted the link to Tooley Street but it was closed at that time so I left station and crossed to old entrance to South Eastern platforms where escalators down to tube and Tooley Street remain in use . I also saw someone who had just come up the escalator who seemed to be looking for ramps to old south eastern platforms . There seems to be a need to show clearer instructions on how to reach these platforms at least until a Tooley Street level entrance becomes available full time.

    I reckon LBG won’t be popular with those afraid of heights but it’s amazing to see how high platforms are above the lower concourse with the concrete helping to make the station feel cool .

    I wonder if the reopened Waterloo International platforms will look the same with a similar lower concourse opened out from former Eurostar terminal with escalator and lift access to platforms above ?

  73. Stuart says:

    The services this evening have been an absolute shambles. Are they running with a temporary patch for the info boards ? The ones at platform level for Kent say different things to the ones down on the concourse. And the platform boards give different info to the Network Rail app (the latter being more accurate). Add the poor info to shifting trains at short notice between platforms 7 and 8 and the answer is a real mess

    And the risk of trains shifting platform means that commuters won’t shift along the platform in case they need to make a late, quick change. And one of the escalators broke this evening too – nice one, Kone !

    Lots of teething troubles. Platform staff say it will all be Ok by Friday. But will it ? Not sure running CST trains thru will ease LCX service problems

  74. marek says:

    @ Melvyn – No: instead of going down and then back up again to the ex-eurostar platforms at Waterloo, the reinstatement works include building a bridge across so that those platforms can be accessed on the level in the same way as all the others. Geoff Marshall had a look round recently – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHtX-OFFoZs – the relevant bit starts at 1:30

    (the video includes a shot of a corridor running from the eurostar terminal to a TfL gate line – out of use since 2006, but bizarrely, still powered up and ready to go)

  75. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Melvyn – I’m not wonderful with heights but had zero issues in using London Bridge. Other people’s experiences may well differ from mine. I used the new loos – seemed perfectly adequate but nothing to write home about.

  76. Srs says:

    Melvyn,
    Make the most of the “free” toilets while you can, I saw the permanent, paid-for ones being prepared further along the same passageway!

  77. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Re Stuart. The train running problems have been because of failures of one sort or another, unconnected with the station.

    What does ease from Friday is that all the Cannon St commuters who have been squeezing on to Charing Cross trains, and getting off / on at London Bridge, will instead continue to Cannon Street. I would imagine that will take at least 10,000 people out of London Bridge each peak time.

  78. Let down of Lewisham says:

    Agree the station looks amazing. However , South Eastern platforms were briefly closed due to overcrowding this evening – late rush hour.
    While this was largely due to significant service disruption, it also quickly became clear that the platforms close to the escalators are too narrow to allow passengers to spread out along the full length of the platform when it’s busy.
    I suspect the position will improve as regular commuters become more familiar with where the trains stop and which ends of the trains are filled up at CHX/CST. Still, for a brand new station with hundreds of extra staff on hand to direct passengers this didn’t fill me with confidence – back on my bike I think.

  79. Stuart says:

    @SFD

    Even with 10,000 less passengers I still think LBG Kent services would have fallen flat over the last two days. I do hope it improves soon

  80. timbeau says:

    @John B
    “They are running through to CHX apparently not stopping at LBG”
    Counterpeak services will not call until Platform 6 is available.

    The 7/8 dilemma should disappear when all trains in a given direction call at the same island.

  81. Southeastern Passenger says:

    I think it’s too early to say how London Bridge will cope in the shorter term. The percentage of trains cut in the evening peak across all London SE terminals by my calculations is over 25% (including New Cross and high speed). That figure is large enough that this period would always be difficult even if all the stars correctly aligned.

    The addition of Cannon Street also gives more flexibility to work around issues off-peak which can reduce peak impact. Service recovery today appears to have been difficult which won’t have helped. So Friday definitely should be better.

    Some things will take longer than Friday though. It will take a few weeks for the new timetable to bed in and commuting habits to change. After that quick tweaks to platform allocations would hopefully reduce late notice alterations and loadings can be looked at to alter train lengths where possible.

  82. NickBxn says:

    On the skinnier platforms, it’s actually a case of ‘yes’ AND ‘no’.

    Yes, in the sense that the narrow sections alongside the top-lit openings to the concourse are longer and more continuous than previously (alongside the sundry kiosks and staff rooms that incorporated more gaps between them to the full platform width), so during crowded situations like today, people caught in the wrong place will have found it a squeeze and felt trapped.

    No, in that the plans in Rail Engineer clearly show that the islands are wider overall than before, with plenty of unencumbered space beyond the tops of the escalators for departing passengers to move into, especially at the country end… unless most people get off the middle of the train at their destination too, in which case Let down of Lewisham will remain so!

    It’s a fair bet that once arriving passengers are used to where the exit points are (and that there is a choice of two locations – or three if you count the lifts), and once all the platforms and destinations are in operation, it should be fine… as long as there are not too many last-second platform alterations.

    When comparing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ plans, it’s a real engineering and logistical marvel that no track and platform face will have stayed in the same place, the platforms are slightly straighter than before, there are more through ones, and yet most of the station has remained open throughout. It’s often said that the Victorians did it best, but they would surely be impressed by this feat, and actually how quickly it’s being done too. The dingy walk to the old Tube entrance with its tiny ticket office before the Jubilee Line works is difficult to recall now, to the point of being unimaginable.

  83. Anonymous says:

    I keep hearing that there have been changes to the planned Thameslink network since that originally released on the franchise award. Can anyone summarise them for me, and does LR plan on a further article to explain the background to why changes have been made and how it will affect London Bridge operationally?

  84. quinlet says:

    One of the real advantages of the layout of escalators at London Bridge is that, looking at the exits for London bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross, they are now much more spread throughout a 12 coach train rather than being concetnrated in the first carriage, as they were previously. Even with the same number of passengers in the morning peak this will give the impression of less overcrowding.

  85. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    On a 12 coach train the front escalators are pretty much bang on at the end of the first 4. But as already recounted above, the platform bit just at the top of the escalators does appear a bit narrow. It looked awfully crowded this morning!

  86. Bryn Davies says:

    Until sometime in the 1960s(?) there was an Ian Allan bookshop in one of the arches on the right as you go down Railway Approach.

  87. Greg Tingey says:

    Visited yesterday early PM.
    Screw-up on SE services (doors not working, train 25 down in p/f 8 ) etc … but.
    Overall, very good, except the closure of the direct route to the tube except in rush-hours appears, to me, to be bonkers.
    Unless it’s “temporary” until the rebuild is complete & all passages are then opened?

  88. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Anonymous 05:17

    I keep hearing that there have been changes to the planned Thameslink network since that originally released on the franchise award. Can anyone summarise them for me

    Consultation on them due out in September (believe it when you see it). The proposals have been covered elsewhere in comments but probably it is best to wait and we’ll try and write it up when if the consultation happens.

    a further article to explain the background to why changes have been made

    The consultation may help explain any rationale there is behind it. We might be able to explain why some people think it is a good idea but quite possibly we won’t be able to manage even that. I don’t think we are breaking any confidences in saying there were a lot of puzzled (mildest form) faces at Network Rail when the news came out.

  89. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    It is temporary until the construction work in the western arcade area is finished so will be ready well before the rest of station is complete.

    The “hole” where the old escalators were in the high level concourse floor needs sorting for example…

  90. unravelled says:

    Regarding St Thomas St, I’m not sure how pedestrian friendly it will be. There is already a Taxi rank on what I assumed was the pavement opposite the Shard. I suspect all parking and delivery for building along it will be on the “pavement”. It certainly looks neater as designed, I only hope the paving is up to supporting vehicle loads, and that contractors digging it up can reinstate it properly.

  91. Ed says:

    Moderator’s note: I have left this comment in place, but “crossed out” as an example of precisely what Pedantic’s recent request was intended to prevent. No reflection on Ed, who I assume did not notice the request, or did not realise what it was getting at. But with the consultation due so soon, we really would prefer to leave discussion of what we think it will contain until there are a few more facts, and reasons, in the public domain – which we trust will be soon. Meanwhile could everyone refrain from answering the points made here. Malcolm]

    Isn’t the Greenwich Thameslink plan a bit of a last minute panic/realisation that Cannon St peak time capacity is being permanently reduced?

    Or that 12 cars are needed on the line, and with no plans for SDO on Networkers and 5 car 376s, then this allows 12 car SDO services, albeit limited to 2 an hour.

    But then again it could replace the Woolwich to Charing X via Lewisham. If so what happens to the tunnel from Charlton to Blackheath? No services at all there I wonder.

    Or TfL take over all trains except this in 2018 making the divide easier? SE then limited to services further out on the whole.

    It still seems to me that the eye has been taken off SE Metro for so long and now a bit of panic.

  92. John B says:

    Southeastern are having problems third day running

    “Emergency engineering work between London Charing Cross and London Bridge means trains cannot run to and from these two stations.This is expected to continue until 12:00”

    Are they turning around at London Bridge? That will be a good test of the temporary layout.

    (Hoping to set out in 2 hours)

  93. ngh says:

    Re Unravelled,

    All London Bridge station deliveries will be inside to a service and storage area east of the concourse with access via St Thomas Street.

    The utilities have been relaid in ducts along St Thomas Street along side the station (and also over wider area) so hopefully not much digging up. Any contractors that do will be in for a shock with a the large steel framework underneath for the anti ramming bollards…

  94. CB says:

    Unimpressed on my first visit today. Train services severely delayed this morning due to signal failure between LB and Charing Cross. Last minute platform alternations at LB with not enough time for commuters to negotiate the escalators in order to change platforms. Inadequate standing room near top of escalators where commuters most likely to stand in case of platform alterations! Lack of seating is also a concern. At peak times overcrowding could be more of an issue than before given the new platform layout.

  95. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @CB: Please see the comments above about what it will be like when platform 6 opens….

  96. JohnM says:

    Platform 13/14 only has one Escalator and a stairway – when I looked on Tuesday Evening ther Escalator was running up and you had to walk down the stairs – not sure what they will do in the morning peak though probably less than 50% of those arriving will head for the Lower Concourse and the tube. There are a large number who will head for London Bridge via London Bridge walk and those heading for the Bus Station will keep to the original concourse level.

    Some of the sinage is a bit inconsistant – there are signs directing you to the Underground via the old concourse and others directing people via the lifts to the Underground. Presumably that is the step free route.

    The one thing I don’t like is from the new concouse you can’t see the trains – if my train is late coming in or shown as delayed I will often head for a slightly earlier train on another platform – as a result I will probably head for the upper concourse.

    Is there a convenient way from the upper to lower concourse if you don’t have a ticket – the old ‘Jubilee Line’ escalators that would have taken yo from one level to another appear to have been dismantled. It does not matter too much for most people but could impact the footfall in the retail units if they only have a shop on one level.

  97. Sad Fat Dad says:

    John M – yes there is an ‘unpaid’ route from upper to lower concourse – a pair of escalators and stairway next to the barrier line both upstairs and downstairs. It’s hard to miss.

  98. Bystander says:

    I would be interested to know what people class as “last minute platform alterations”. I am fairly sure that signallers were specifically told not to change platforms at London Bridge pretty much after the train has left Charing Cross, and I pretty much can guarantee that they didn’t.

    Today’s issue was that there was a lot of trains that were running late and out of sequence, so you would have 3/4 trains booked to go down the same platform, at the same time. So platform changes were inevitable, and as no one really knew what sequence these trains would run in made it ever the more harder! And as it isn’t an island platform, and passengers have a fair old trek to change platform makes the issue worse.

    There isn’t one platform available for peak traffic. AM peak up trains use 8/9 alternatively. After 10AM, and till late, Down trains use 6/7 alternatively, but the above issues make this hard to work sometimes.

    Really hope that helps answer questions!

  99. Steven Taylor says:

    @Bystander 21:02
    Quote After 10AM, and till late, Down trains use 6/7 alternatively, but the above issues make this hard to work sometimes. UNQUOTE

    I don`t follow this. Platform 6 is not currently used. My understanding is that Plat 6 will be used by non-stopping Up Cannon Street trains from tomorrow with Platform 5 for down trains.

  100. Steven Taylor says:

    I should have added that Platform 6 does not open until August 2017, although it is complete. Obviously, Platform 5 is far from complete. I assume as Cannon Street services have only 2 lines available instead of 3 (Platforms 1 to 3) this is why no trains stop.

  101. quinlet says:

    It’s a bit worrying that the service into Charing Cross has now collapsed three days in a row. Yes, you expect some teething problems, but the resilience seems to be very low. I saw the post this morning that said that Charing Cross would be closed until noon, but when I left at 3 there was still serious disruption and my journey, which normally takes 90 minutes took 3½ hours. I’m not sure that this can all be put down to the added pressure of would be Cannon Street users, either. Officially it is unspecified points failures and it’s only those at London Bridge that haven’t really been tested in anger until now.

  102. Malcolm says:

    I guess that Bystander meant to write “Down trains use 7/8 alternately” (after 10 AM).

  103. RayL says:

    @Steven Taylor 30 August 2016 at 15:42 “permission to take photos . . . . I visited the Network Rail Reception Desk, and they asked for my name, took a photograph, and I was given a lapel badge . . . . . . process only took 3 minutes”

    Today (1st Sept) I was asked for ID (driving licence, etc) before I could have a badge. Also, the process is only three minutes if there is no queue. Since Reception also issue passes for contractors and deal with other many other enquiries, you may wait a lot longer than three minutes.

    I was strolling around (with badge and camera) at about midday. From listening to the questions being asked of the blue-coated helpers and at the Information booth, it is clear that the displays, the signage and the blue-coat knowledge just aren’t good enough.

    An example.
    A lady wanted to get to Deptford, one stop away and usually accessible from London Bridge. As LR readers will know, passengers currently have to travel in the reverse direction to Cannon Street and change trains. The big display that shows ‘all the stations’ doesn’t even include Deptford. Blue-jacket didn’t know, and the lady was still trying to get an answer at the Information booth 10 minutes later.

    The same big ‘all the stations’ display on the lower concourse does not include Waddon, Wallington or Carshalton Beeches, yet these stations have direct trains to and from London Bridge in the peaks.

    Overhead arrows in the lower concourse for ‘Underground’ and ‘Way Out’ point towards the trains i.e. they point in the wrong direction.

    It all has that feeling of ‘could do better’. Was there was a dry run to test the effectiveness of the displays and signage using a random selection of the general public? No, one presumes not.

    The ‘don’t want to know’ mindset goes further. There are no feedback forms specific to the new station, to be read directly by the managers of the new station. All the Information booth has to offer are the generic ‘Passenger comments’ forms which go off to GTR’s ‘Customer Services’ (ugh) in Plymouth.

    Today at midday, the Southeastern side was in meltdown due to points, I believe, and the Southern side were skip-stopping trains because of delays.

    A cause for Southern delays into London bridge is mentioned on the RailUK forum today – a particular signal on the Up line in the New Cross Gate area does not clear to green fast enough and the train has to brake, only for the signal to clear at the very last minute. A couple of minutes are lost. It seems that signal is controlled manually and it “happens to be the boundary between the two workstations”
    http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=134964&page=2

  104. Malcolm says:

    The reason why, for quite a long time during the building work, it has not been possible to permit Charing Cross trains and Cannon Street trains to stop at London Bridge (each service taking turns to be non-stopped) is simply that there is not enough width in the station limits to have platforms available for both of these uses and space for a pair of platforms to be rebuilt. Platforms have to be rebuilt (one pair at a time) because (among other reasons) each platform is going to finish up in a different place from where it was.

  105. DVD says:

    It’s certainly been a challenging week for Southeastern with multiple signal and other failures together with getting used to the new concourse / platforms and the three day thinned out service. Tomorrow should help to alleviate. If the new through lines to Cannon Street are ready and failure proof.

    Is St Thomas Street to become a normal through road again ? It used to be a bus route. Or does the station arrangements and / or the Shard preclude this ?

    I managed to avoid much of this week’s disruption but share the worries about the apparent narrowness of platforms near the escalator banks. But the old platform 2 was dangerously narrow alongside the stairway to the footbridge and – if the long promised 12 car services ever materialise – then people will hopefully be encouraged to spread themselves out even more. Incidentally, do any of the screens show train lengths ? I don’t recall seeing this. The old ones sometimes did and sometimes didn’t.

  106. Malcolm says:

    RayL: It does not at all affect the point you are making about the knowledge (or lack) of the blue-coats, but the way to Deptford (today) certainly did not involve Cannon Street, as that station is closed today.

  107. Stuart says:

    This evening the service was running well, so hopefully a few early days gremlins have been purged

    A lot of the signage including all the boards on the platforms looks temporary. Some of the signs downstairs are even in the the wrong font. Anyone know why ? Shiny new glass signage once all construction complete ?

  108. timbeau says:

    @RayL/Malcolm
    Even when Cannon Street re-opens, you will not be able to backtrack to it from London Bridge – not by train anyway.

    And this week there are no trains to Deptford from anywhere. Blue jacket should have known that. But as Deptford will have no direct trains from London Bridge for the next year, it may explain why it doesn’t appear on the destination boards.

  109. John B says:

    Train lengths were shown on P7, and with the 4/8 car stops just past the escalator (it felt very odd popping up so far down the platform) no need to rush back for a short formed train. It did seem a long way walking in from London Bridge itself though

    The every station board seemed hard to read with my tired, drunk eyes at night.

    An overbridge might have spoiled the line of the roof, but seems preferable to the long escalators

  110. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ray L – you need to provide ID with name and address to “sign in” in order to take some photos? Bleep that for a game of soldiers. It’s not 10 Downing St or Buck Palace.

    NR’s own guidelines don’t require you to provide ID? [1] Has London Bridge now declared UDI within Network Rail and is just making up its own rules, procedures and threatened penalties? The more I hear about this the more annoyed I’m getting.

    Even I know, and I’m clueless about S Eastern’s train services, that there are no trains to Deptford at all for most of this week and none at all for months from LB. Please go and catch a 47 bus. How can staff tasked with providing information not be aware of such a simple fact? How can they not know who to ask to get the correct info so the passenger is given the help they are due? Surely this is an essential part of any training – what’s the chain of command and how best to use it when you need to?

    One thing that I find interesting in all of this is how BBC London “spun” the news of train service problems on Tuesday. They started out by saying “and we were all promised that the new station would bring an end to the problems of people using trains at London Bridge.” Now I can’t recall a single railway person actually saying that on camera or in a press release hence my reference to “spin” by the BBC. However is there not a lesson here for the train companies and NR? That is to play down the hype and manage expectations downwards simply because there is *always* the risk that new cables, tracks, escalators, whatever might fail and cause problems. [2] TfL has actually got fairly good at this tactic now with their classic “under promise over deliver” way of doing difficult works like point replacements, lift works etc. Someone should also have been brave enough to challenge the BBC’s premise and correct them that no panacea was promised. We have to hope, given the many more major bits of blockade work and service restructuring that’s due, that a different media strategy is employed to try to take some of the sting out of the media criticism. I accept if you’re a passenger none of what has happened has been any good at all but some one needs to be honest with people and tell them what’s happened and how it’s been fixed (assuming it has) and how a repeat performance will be avoided. It’s not impossible to do this.

    [1] When you arrive at a station, please let the staff at the Network Rail Reception Desk know that you are on the station. This will help keep station staff informed so that they can go about their duties without concern as to your reasons for being there.

    [2] with due apologies to Ngh for what appear to be a “swipe” (it isn’t!) but every time I hear of yet another SE trains problem this week I keep hearing your phrase “this was a low risk set of changes” ringing in my ears. If this is what happens with low risk then please don’t do high risk changes!! And yes several of the issues were not at LB but most people don’t make the distinction – they just lump it altogether as another botched change.

  111. Steven Taylor says:

    @RL 22:06

    QUOTE Today (1st Sept) I was asked for ID (driving licence, etc) before I could have a badge. Also, the process is only three minutes if there is no queue. UNQUOTE

    Something strange happened when I first got my ID. I was verbally just asked for my name, and how I spelt Steven, and then a picture was taken. At no stage did I hand over any ID, or was asked for my address, which surprised me. I visited next day, and was asked for some identification; I showed my Freedom Pass, but this does not have my address. I assume they would require an address. I can only assume I was already on the database, but how escapes me.

    Whilst there has been some `noise` on the web about the `imposition` of having to go through the process, personally I am happy to walk around the station with an ID badge, in the perhaps naive expectation that I won`t be hassled by an `ill informed` security guard.

  112. Steven Taylor says:

    Apropos the lady who wanted Deptford, the actual literature states you get a train to New Cross, and there is a replacement bus service serving all stations to Charlton.

    Did the `blue jackets` not have a lap top or I-pad to assist. I really feel sorry for the lady trying to get this information at the desk 10 minutes later.

  113. Anonymous says:

    Sorry yeah. Down trains alternate between 7/8 after AM peak till late. Up trains in AM peak use 8/9 alternatively.

  114. RayK says:

    Steven Taylor 1 Sept. at 21:33
    ‘I assume as Cannon Street services have only 2 lines available instead of 3 (Platforms 1 to 3) this is why no trains stop.’
    Rather than 2 lines being the limiting factor, there is only one completed platform (P6) that Cannon Street trains could possibly stop at.

  115. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    And because of the temporary alignment of the track towards Cannon Street at the western end P6 is effectively only 11car at the moment as you would have to long jump into the front car…
    So complete but not complete…

    Only goes 12 car after next Easter when the track get its permanent alignment towards the former up CHX alignment.

    Re WW,

    My early Tuesday am “low risk set of changes” comment was very carefully chosen. The vast majority of the issues since my comment (as I suspected while typing it…) have had nothing to do with the changes but old infrastructure due for replacement in 2017 & 2018. Most of it could be considered normal weekday morning failures in 3rd rail land just badly timed with the CST closure reducing alternatives and resilience.

  116. ngh says:

    Ray K,

    And if the CST services did stop at P6 with only 1 platform per direction then you would have to reduce the peak hour service level by 6-8tph…

  117. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Announcement today at LBG as a Cannon Street train came rumbling through: “Please stand well clear from the edge of platform 2. The next train at this platform does not stop here”.

    Somebody forgot to update something…

  118. timbeau says:

    @Southern heights

    Forgot that this was the first day Cannon Street was back. Odd to choose a Friday…….

  119. ngh says:

    Re SH(LR),

    But P6 is P2 as far as the signalling system is concerned hence I find it incredibly reassuring that it thinks it is going through P2 just as it should!!!

    The existing CST track interlocking has been reused but (re-)controlled to 3 Bridges workstation 7 from the London Bridge box over the blockade. The CST tracks get new interlocking next Easter when they start running through but not stopping at the new P1&2.

  120. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    So they should just have kept it closed for another day anyway???

    Also an ideal way to ease people into the new set up when it is far quieter than it will be next Monday when even more are back from holidays. (Friday is also significantly quieter than other week days).

  121. Malcolm says:

    I do not believe that people taking photographs can possibly be a security threat.

    However, my belief is not the point at all. Particular people have the responsibility, and it is an important one, for addressing the risk of terrorist attacks and similar bad things. Whether across the network, in all NR stations, or an any given station. They have to have the freedom to take what measures they judge best – and they do not have any obligation to consult me personally. Nor are they obliged to everywhere follow the same procedure (even though Network Rail has a “standard” procedure published on the website).

    Of course, we can argue that they have got it wrong, and that the trouble they put us to is disproportionate to the threat. But it is quite a difficult argument to make, for all the usual reasons. It is probably best just to comply, if grudgingly, with the required palaver.

  122. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Malcolm – as you might expect I disagree with you. Have a procedure by all means. Apply it properly and consistently to *everyone* who might take a photo – yes that includes everyone with a mobile phone who decides they want a snap or a selfie. If you don’t want your CCTV kit photographed then don’t allow loads of people to photograph your station concourse where hundreds of cameras are visible and then throw a hissy fit when someone photographs a platform where not a single camera is visible (at least not in the one photo I took).

    It is the appalling lack of consistency and then the utter rubbish and half baked accusations that are then made against individuals to try to then justify someone implementing the guidelines incorrectly that gets my goat. I’ve had this with Met Police, PCSOs (several times), Bus Station Supervisors and now Network Rail. All because I use a large DSLR camera which makes it obvious what I am doing. I should stress that I am fully aware of company procedures, safety risks on the railway and in bus stations. Previous responsibilities have also given me additional insights into other related issues. I do not do stupid things that would warrant justified attention like running around bus parking areas, using flash, climbing on equipment etc. That’s just before someone says “it must be you, WW, that’s the issue”. I’d say I was far more knowledgeable about the risks and concerns than the average person. All I do is stand my ground when challenged incorrectly.

    I am sorry but organisations and those who work for them can’t go round and break procedures and cause undue stress and upset to the people who pay their wages. As I said “do it properly” or “don’t do it at all”. If someone at LB had spoken to me the moment they saw me inside the station with a camera I’d have taken a decision there and then about whether to sign in, speak to the stn manager or else leave. No one did so I assumed there was no issue on that first day of opening. As I said to the Security chap at LB – does anyone seriously believe that committed terrorists would use a fat, ageing 50+ year old with a DSLR camera to reconnoitre a station for a potential attack? I mean really? They would use alternative methods, as made obvious from commentary about past attacks, whereby the information is gathered in a way guaranteed not to attract undue attention. I don’t believe terrorists sit and peruse Flickr / Smugmug etc to recce a location.

  123. 100andthirty says:

    WW. ……. Well said. Although I think Malcolm is right that those responsible have to set rules that, in the end, they have to be accountable for, it is bonkers to think that just because you only photograph with a phone that you’re not a risk and if you photograph with a DSLR you are. Equally, a photo of a security camera shows (ahem) a security camera. It doesn’t and almost certainly can’t show what view it sees – telephoto, wide angle or even Pan/Tilt/Zoom.

    Frankly it is more likely that someone seeking to breach security would photograph covertly. It’s amazing the quality of image from, say, a GoPro camera and how easy they are to disguise in, say, a box file.

  124. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    These days with Google streetview who needs to go and reconnoitre anyway?

  125. Steven Taylor says:

    @RayK 08:53

    Apropos Platform 5. I am amazed I made the comment! I have just taken a picture of the incomplete Platform 5 for London Railway Record magazine. The dangers of blogging, where your fingers are quicker than your brain.

  126. John B says:

    There are very good reasons to push back against “security theatre”, else we’d be all jumping through ever more pointless hoops in other aspects of our lives.

  127. Ed says:

    “Even I know, and I’m clueless about S Eastern’s train services, that there are no trains to Deptford at all for most of this week and none at all for months from LB. Please go and catch a 47 bus”

    Now that would be poor advice! That bus takes forever and is a terrible alternative to the train for anyone who values their time. Anyone going to Deptford would be better off going to a station in the general vicinty then walk/bus/DLR (New Cross, New Cross gate, Greenwich, Lewisham then DLR or bus) would still be much quicker than that sloooow bus.

  128. timbeau says:

    @WW
    As the station is private property – albeit the public have access to it – the owners can ask you to do, or not do certain things, including leave. If you had a ticket for a train, it would be unreasonable for them not to let you wait for that train and leave that way.

    That said, there are limits to what a landowner can do to people who they wish not be remain on their property, and threatening to rob you of your property is certainly off limits.

  129. RayL says:

    To clarify a couple of points in my earlier post (1 Sept 22.06)
    I was asked for ID before a badge could be printed and a driving licence was given as an example. As with Steven Taylor, though, a Freedom Pass (which has a picture) was accepted.

    The lady who was asking the questions about travelling one stop to Deptford station had done the journey in the past, hence her puzzlement that there seemed no information about how to get there yesterday (or even that the station existed). Surely there should be information, either on screens or on noticeboards, about these day-to-day changes and all the implications? I saw none.

    What I did see were GTR’s portable noticeboards, and fliers being handed out, with the headline ‘RMT to go on strike again’. I noticed the word ‘again’ particularly, because GTR (profits of nearly 100 million pounds announced today) obviously feel that having a go at the rail unions has a much higher priority than keeping their passengers informed about the trains on the day.

  130. Anon E. Mouse says:

    @RayL
    GTR have nothing to do with issues along the lines of whether Deptford has or has not got a service on any given day. It’s SouthEastern who you should be blaming for a lack of information.

  131. RogerB says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but why aren’t trains stopping at Deptford? I thought it had recently had a major rebuild.

  132. ngh says:

    Re Ray L,

    But GTR made a loss, Go-Ahead on the other hand made a profit…

  133. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Ray L: check your sources.

    Go Ahead Group (not GTR) made an operating profit of £57m across all rail activities, representing a margin of 2.3%. The ‘statutory’ operating profit is rather less than half of that.

    Go Ahead Group’s activities include a share (with Keolis) of the GTR, Southeastern and LM franchises.

    Out of these, the former will be making little if any contribution to profit. The other two most certainly are contributing.

  134. Anon E. Mouse says:

    @RogerB
    The reason why trains were not stopping at Deptford is that all trains from the Greenwich line have to go into Cannon St. With Cannon St closed the last few days, no trains were able to run on the Greenwich line, however, this no longer applies as Cannon St has now reopened.

  135. CB says:

    Yesterday “last minute platform alterations” equated to 2-3 minutes notice, the result of which was a missed train on Platform 8. Staff advised us to return to Platform 7 and wait for the next train, thankfully it arrived on Platform 7 (albeit 23 minutes late) and, once again, platform confirmation was received just 3 minutes before the train’s arrival. For customers needing to use a lift last minute platform alterations could prove too narrow a time frame.

  136. ngh says:

    Deptford – But no trains stopping at London Bridge will stop at Deptford till 2nd Jan 2018 hence not much point displaying it as a destination at London Bridge…

  137. RogerB says:

    @ngh, why not stopping at Deptford for a year?? Are they stopping at the other 3? If so, what has Deptford done to deserve this?

  138. Anon E. Mouse says:

    @RogerB
    To clarify, trains are now stopping at Deptford again, however, they cannot currenly stop at London Bridge (and won’t until 2018) which is what ngh is getting at (and which I intended to include in my earlier comment but it slipped my mind).

  139. Timbeau says:

    To put it another way, trains are calling at both London Bridge and Deptyford, but there are no direct trains calling at both ( except those going round the houses)

  140. DVD says:

    @ Timbeau

    Trains going “round the houses” (by which you no doubt mean via the Sidcup line and the Crayford loop) are still not calling at London Bridge because – if travelling on the down line from Deptford- they turn into Cannon Street trains on the Sidcup line. Which now pass fast through London Bridge.

  141. Malcolm says:

    Even though Deptford is not currently reachable from London Bridge (and won’t be for a while) there should perhaps be information about it because it was, quite recently. This is not quite in the same category as a notice at Berney Arms apologising for the lack of direct trains to Middlesborough.

  142. Malcolm says:

    I wonder if the “last minute platform alterations” problem may really be a fault in the delay-attribution rules? Does a train whose platform is not announced soon enough count as running rather than canceled – whereas to the would-be passenger left behind on the concourse it has been effectively canceled?

  143. timbeau says:

    @ngh
    “But no trains stopping at London Bridge will stop at Deptford till 2nd Jan 2018 hence not much point displaying it as a destination at London Bridge”

    But that’s precisely the point. Ever since the very first train ran in London, 180 years ago, until as recently as last Friday, people have got accustomed to being able to travel from London Bridge to Deptford on a direct train. Now they come back after as little as a week away, and find that Deptford has apparently been erased from the system, with no information about how to get there at all.

  144. Southeastern Passenger says:

    @Malcolm – Less delay-attribution, more PPM (public performance measure) failures and train cancellation statistics. A train fails PPM if any station stop is cancelled. Platform alterations as far as I know don’t impact the statistics, whether that is an issue with the system is up for debate.

    To implement the platform alterations counting the same as a station stop cancellation DfT would need to work out what counts as sufficient notice of platform changes and what time is sufficient to not be a ‘late notice’ platform alteration. The time would depend on station and platform A to B combinations. This in itself is quite a bit of complexity, but so far it is manageable. The real issue is that as the statistics make a financial difference they need to be reliable and measurable. For example manual announcements about alterations may need to be logged, when Darwin changes hit apps or depature boards, maybe door close times instead of departure times and so on. Trying to keep tabs on all this seems hugely complicated (and possibly fudgeable) for hopefully rare occurences where platform changes are actually late enough to make someone miss a train.

    And if going down this rabbit hole, there are plenty of other circumstances where a passenger could reasonably miss the train even if it stops. I don’t mean to provoke discussion of what should count, but these are real examples which could be argued as equivalent PPM failures:Passenger information boards/system down entirely so no platform numbersTrain showing no/wrong destination on frontTrain arriving suddenly out of orderPlatform screens showing ‘train does not stop here’ for train making station callThameslink branded train for a Southeastern service
    In my view the more reasonable approach is to try to minimise the number of instances where people can miss the train due to late notice changes. From comments above it sounds like there are plans in place, but perhaps a few teething problems ensuring the necessary communication occurs every time. For such a flagship station it seems like something that can be worked out. If I was to alter an aspect of PPM statistics it would be to include all other stations which have sufficient reporting for the time check rather than trying to account for platform changes.

  145. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Platform alterations don’t count for any performance statistics.

    Let’s not forget that platform alterations on the old platforms 4 and 5 were pretty frequent. This week has seen a rash of big incidents almost entirely nothing to do with the London Bridge works, with rather unfortunate timing. Had these happened before December 14, you would have seen the same number of platform alterations.

  146. John B says:

    You’d hope the dispatch staff, seeing hordes of people pouring out of the escalators, and running towards a recently moved train, would show some discretion and wait until they were all on board. They’d not want the torrent of abuse from passengers anyway.

  147. timbeau says:

    @Southeastern passenger
    “plenty of other circumstances where a passenger could reasonably miss the train even if it stops. ”
    and of course the most common – train too full to get on.

    @john B
    “You’d hope the dispatch staff, seeing hordes of people pouring out of the escalators, and running towards a recently moved train, would show some discretion and wait until they were all on board.”
    Hope, yes. Expect, no. In my experience the dispatch staff’s only interest is in getting the train away on time. As long as the train arrives at the end of the line on schedule, PPMs are met. It doesn’t seem to matter if there’s no-one on board except the crew.

    As a good representative proportion of journey times are now tracked by Oyster and bank card data, it should be possible to measure performance by how long it takes for people to make end to end journeys. This is, after all, how most logistics companies’ performance is measured – the Ocado/DHL/pizza delivery man arriving at the appointed hour but withoute ordered goods on board is not counted as a success.

  148. Consultation on the proposed major changes to the Thameslink Timetable starts on 6 September 2016, for three months. We will try and get something out about it moderately prompto. Meanwhile, please resist the temptation to comment on it here or elsewhere because your comment will be deleted.

  149. Greg Tingey says:

    Various on dispatch & direction to trains …
    As I was inspecting the new LBG on Wednesday, they ahd a serious/local problem: A train had “sat down” in pf8 with door problems & was 20 down” when I arrived …
    They decided to switch followers into pf7, which then resulted in a vast tide coming down the escalators & trying to get up to pf7 … at which point the pale-blue jackets decided to shut off one escalator & direct everyone up the other – only to be totally disregarded by large numbers of the regular punters, who swerved past them, undid the tape & went up the other escalator, anyway.
    NOT an edifying spectacle, especially as there certainly seemed/appeared to be no reason at all for blocking off one of the ways people could catch their train in a hurry.
    Something, somewhere, was obviously amiss, but I could not tell what.
    I merely mention this in terms of the discussion ongoing, about diversions, competency & train operating statistics.
    Make of it, what you will!

  150. timbeau says:

    Going to Southwark Cathedral this afternoon – the trek there from an ex-Charing Cross train on Platform 8 seemed interminable, and twice as long as it used to be. Maybe it will be better when its finished.

    On the way back, coming from the Tooley Street side, we found a sign apparently suggesting that platforms 7-9 were beyond platforms 8-16.

    The up arrows pointing at down escalators confused us somewhat, and I must say the departure screens on the platforms seem to have been put together in a “fits where it touches” manner. Why is the clock display so much bigger than the time of the next train? Unusual and surely a reversal of the priorities?

  151. Anon E. Mouse says:

    @Greg T

    I suspect the reason why they tried to block off one of the escalators was to restrict the flow so as to prevent too many people from piling onto the platform all at once.

    Of course, the regulars wouldn’t see it that way…

  152. Greg Tingey says:

    anon e mouse
    But … the escalator-bottoms are close together & the tops are far apart, so keeping both open would have spread people about more, wouldn’t it?
    Um, err….

  153. Anonymous says:

    Its interesting reading the comments here about peoples frustrations with the information displays.

    It seems to be a recurring situation that projects of this scale have a nice base architectural design, but are then let down when generic signage, information designs and barriers are layered over the top of them.

    Information panels serve as a mental point of interaction between customer and service, and as such should not simply be utilitarian, but also should provide a sense of positive emotion conductive to the pleasure of rail travel. Think of how hotels are acutely aware of how they relate information to their customers, and the pleasure this invokes in the customers mind and in their overall experience, and when you then realise a hotel is essentially just a bunch of rooms being rented for very high fees, then it shows the power that careful information presentation can have over the customers experience, providing added value for relatively little cost.

    I thought TFLs ‘Station Design Idiom’ was really promising in that regard, and perhaps the railways need a similar initiative?

  154. AlisonW says:

    LBG isn’t a station I use that frequently, but whilst I can understand that some travellers are ‘annoyed’ with the problems there at the moment maybe they should actually just be happy there is a service there at all? After all, instead of trying to rebuild & substantially improve the station while keeping (some) services running they could have just closed it entirely and done the work in a single block — letting would-be pax make their own arrangements for whatever period that took.

    Yes, a part of the new station is open, but like Crossrail it won’t *fully* open for quite some time yet. The time to judge whether it is a success, therefore, will be when it does, not now. And now, to me anyway, looks like being a good improvement on the old, dark and dingy place it used to be.

  155. Old Buccaneer says:

    Anonymous @1036: I wonder whether complaints about displays are really complaints about delays? Southern & Southeastern have the lowest passenger satisfaction numbers – around 70pc – & Thameslink/GN has the lowest public performance measure. (1)

    I’d be inclined to focus on getting railway operations right rather than divert resource into a “station design idiom” project. Network Rail, who run London Bridge, are now short of money because of the Great Western Electrification Fiasco.

    London Underground can have a design idiom because they own & control the relevant assets & can work with other bits of TfL (roads, buses) on the interfaces. Life elsewhere is more complicated.
    (1) Source: Steel in Modern Railways, September 2016 p 69.

  156. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ 100&30 / Timbeau 2/9 – I am not disputing that owners of “private property” can set rules about access thereto. I am grumping about the inconsistent application of said rules. As I said I disagree with local “reinterpretations” of published national guidelines. I don’t routinely carry photographic ID nor anything with my name and address on it and why should I do so when wishing to visit a “new” railway station that its owner has actively promoted via social and conventional media channels? If the police don’t expect me to carry personal ID then why does the NR management at London Bridge if I wish to visit? No need to respond on this – just accept my viewpoint as stated even if everyone disagrees with it. I recognise I’ve had a “good innings” from the moderators on this topic and I think we’re “done”.

  157. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Southeastern Passenger – I agree it is probably pointless, costly and bureaucratic to try to establish a “performance measure” around platform alterations. I also suspect, as you do, that it would be “gamed” anyway leading to a lot of effort and argument to no great end result. Let us hope that due attention is paid to reducing the number of such changes and improving advance notice to passengers if they do happen. If this doesn’t happen then I can see passengers getting very grumpy about using their new station.

    @ Ed – fair comment re the 47 but I offered it as a quick choice and a direct one rather than sending an apparent occasional travel via an unfamiliar route with a need to change between rail and bus. Oh and sorry for apparently triggering a confused debate about trains to Deptford. 🙁

  158. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Alison W – a very good point about London Bridge not being finished and the possible ramifications for Crossrail. As I said earlier this is all about managing expectations. There has been too much “easy speak” in the media about this stage of the LB works being some sort of “fix” when it isn’t in and of itself. It’s a stage towards the end deliverable and inevitably involves compromises and short term restrictions as we know.

    I do hope that we avoid all this with Crossrail. As you rightly say it’s opening in phases and Crossrail have been very clear about this for years. However that message won’t have been understand by the majority of people who might use the trains but have no interest in the minutiae of a massive project. Let’s hope we get some nice clear communication that explains that come Dec 2018 trains on the Shenfield line won’t be diving down a tunnel and that passengers will need to change at Liverpool St if they want to get to the West End. As you rightly say the full and proper judgement can’t realistically be made until we’re well into 2020 and the services have settled down and so have journey patterns.

    Of course people will want to and will make instant judgements come Dec 2018 and the “core” section of Crossrail opening but let’s hope there’s a more measured approach from TfL at that point and no “overselling”. Inevitably there will be teething troubles but they shouldn’t be allowed to form the only judgement. This is what, IMO, is in danger of happening with London Bridge especially if we keep getting failures and disruption (irrespective of whether they’re new bits of kit at LB or not). Someone needs to take a lead but, of course, there is no single voice for “the railway” [1] that can do so with any authority.

    [1] whatever that is these days!

  159. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Timbeau – it might have seemed interminable, but the distance from the mid point of an up London Bridge platform to Southwark Cathedral has barely changed, neither having moved much since August. The (temporary) diversion via St Thomas St might have cost you an extra 200 metres, say about an extra 2 mins.

  160. DVD says:

    Yes. well said AlisonW. Old London Bridge was indeed a ” dark and dingy place”. I changed there from Connex/Southeastern for the tube for several years and remember (amongst other things) :
    (a) routinely becoming stuck for several minutes in traffic jams in the ramps / walkways from platforms 1-2
    (b) dodging buckets (and beware of the bucket signs) to catch the water dripping from the roof
    (c) seeing rats hanging round the base of the rather ramshackle confectionary stall at the bottom of the platform 1-2 walkway
    (d) watching the elderly / overweight / disabled / mums with prams really struggle to walk up the old ramps which were quite steep.

    Much of the old station was simply squalid. Memories are short. Whatever its initial shortcomings, what we have seen so far of the new concourse and platforms is a vast improvement on what was there before.

  161. John B says:

    The distances seem greater because rather than coming out at carriage -2 (gawd knows why they couldn’t stop near the ramp) you now pop up at carriage 7. So I can’t rely on 2 extra minutes by boarding at the back.

  162. timbeau says:

    @SFD
    Neither the platforms nor the cathedral have moved much, but the route between them is significantly longer as we seem to have had to cross the width of the station twice.

    And 200 metres in two minutes is rather brisker than my companion could manage.

  163. ngh says:

    Re WW and Alison,

    Expectation management, indeed the focus for most passengers (especially commuters) is effectively extra capacity and reliability, but there was effectively no extra capacity (and very little reliability in the form of plain lining CST tracks) added at London Bridge over the August blockade, so may be little unwise to promote it in the way it was, perhaps the next big step rather than turning the corner might have gone down better.

    The first time there is an improvement from the current levels in either is for Southern (and a few of Thameslink) post Christmas with the diveunder which should massively improvement reliability (as soon as there is any disruption in Southern area) on the SE side it is effectively next Easter and August before there are any reliability improvements (more new signalling equipment) and August for capacity (P6 and counter peak services stopping) and 2017 till there is any significant improvement in pedestrian access too.

  164. Ed says:

    Will SE get any gains in capacity from 2013 levels even then? Cannon Streets peak capacity is reducing and CX gains no more paths than it had in 2013? Sure it’s better than now, but before this all begun?

    A poor morning again today for SE passengers. No trains could stop at London Bridge for about an hour from 8am. SE currently propping up the PPM table

  165. RogerB says:

    @ed. Isn’t this the real problem, that for all this effort there is no significant increase in capacity? I.e. No additional track capacity S & E of London Bridge. More through journey opportunities and a much more pleasant station, but not many more seats.

  166. ngh says:

    Re Roger B,

    But quicker journeys on the approaches to LBG so the same stock can carry more people overall…

    Wait to see what TSGN comes up with tomorrow.

  167. DavidG says:

    Is there any reason why there’s only one lift and just three escalators to serve all six bay platforms, compared to the through platforms? Or could anything be added at a later date once the old signal box has been demolished?

  168. timbeau says:

    @David G
    The through platforms can only be accessed from below, and thus need separate access to each pair of platforms whilst the terminal (bay) platforms can also be accessed on the level from the mid level concourse, which is at the same level as the bus station.

    My first impression when descending into the street level concourse from platform 7 was that it was very spacious but also very gloomy – all that dark coloured wood.

  169. Ed says:

    ngh – that’s if they speed up the timetables when complete?

    I have a feeling the desire for padding and PPM may trump faster journeys into London Bridge once the track alterations are complete.

  170. DavidG says:

    @Timbeau, my question was from the point of view of any inbound passengers arriving at platform 15 who have mobility issues, and who find that the single escalator on that platform is of no use as it’s up only (or at least has been on all the occasions I’ve been there in the last week), and that the small lift is around the corner, past the buffer stops, and halfway along platform 14. The strong impression I had before the reopening was of lifts and escalators to ALL platforms, hence my question as to whether there’s more to be built in the next two years.

  171. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – I understand the phasing of the work thanks to you and others’ efforts to patiently explain it all. I do think NR need to be a little more assertive with the media to help manage their “everything will be fixed” expectations downward a little. I also think there would be merit in explaining that we do have phased stages of work and there is the *prospect* of unlocking progressive improvement but without overselling it. I also think a simple explanation of the milestones from now to Dec 2018 would be helpful. I’ve checked the Thameslink Programme website and also NR’s dedicated T/Link pages and there’s nothing like that. Worse the “how’s the programme going” section on the TP site refers to work done in March 2015. Err hello? It’s now Sept 2016. Isn’t someone charged with keeping these pages up to date?

    On the basis that the project does deliver some benefits to journey times it’s striking that there is no information about that whatsoever. I’d hope new tracks and signalling and new connecting tunnels would offer improvements but nothing is said about this other than loose references to “reliability” and “connections”. In contrast I can look up sample journey times on the Crossrail site for every journey possibililty. Shouldn’t I be able to look up a “Finsbury Park to East Croydon” or “Potters Bar to Haywards Heath” future journey time on the Thameslink website? I’d hope someone has set some targets as to what those sorts of journey times will be in future. I don’t expect you to respond on this as it beyond your responsibilities but I throw those comments “out there” so others can read them and perhaps consider making some changes. Crossrail actively “sells” itself while Thameslink seems to be in perpetual “apology” mode. The contrast is striking.

  172. Giovanni says:

    @ WW
    I assume the Thameslink programme people want to remain as non-commital as Teresa May when it comes to future ‘promises’ (on future journey times)! But your last two sentences says quite a lot: Crossrail is new and is not open for business/judgement so while it can sell itself and trumpet its own benefits, no one will actually be able to judge for themselves for quite some time to come; whereas Thameslink has a hard time just functioning on a daily basis somewhere during or despite the upgrade!

    I think that one of the main problems the Thameslink programme has (or will have in 2018) is that it has sold itself as promising so much in terms of journey time reductions, increased frequencies, longer trains, but when one combs through the detail, it will only be doing that for realistically a minority of passengers who have been through years of inconvenience. If you live in Southern or Southeastern land, you won’t benefit so much unless you want to go through the Thameslink core. Even if you are a Thameslink passenger on the Catford loop, I struggle to see how the daily commute is going to be any better apart from being crushed on or left behind by shinier trains 😉

  173. timbeau says:

    @WW
    “a simple explanation of the milestones from now to Dec 2018 would be helpful. I’ve checked the Thameslink Programme website and also NR’s dedicated T/Link pages and there’s nothing like that. Worse the “how’s the programme going” section on the TP site refers to work done in March 2015.”

    That page is indeed somewhat out of date, but the TP home page gives a clear summary of the recent changes
    “London Bridge station’s new concourse is now open with escalators and lifts for easy access to all platforms. Platforms 1 to 3 have now closed until January 2018 while they are rebuilt. This means Cannon Street services cannot stop at London Bridge while this work is taking place. All Southeastern’s services are from platforms 7-9.” and there is a link to more detailed information on the arrangements for the next 16 months.

    There is also a page here,
    http://www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk/key-dates-and-service-changes
    which mentions the future connection with the GN main line, although it takes some serendipity to find it.

    No doubt the absence of details of the 2018 services will be remedied when they have decided what they will be. The much simpler service structure on Crossrail, due to open in the same year, has only just come out.

  174. timbeau says:

    @Giovanni
    The shiny trains would have happened sooner or later anyway. Apart from the small number of people who want a direct service from Potters Bar to Purley, the main advantages gained from the Thameslink programme would seem to be the new ability of Blackfriars and Kings Cross/St Pancras to handle 12-car trains, and the reduction of conflicts in the Bermondsey area, allowing more trains to run reliably on both the ex-SER and ex-LBSCR lines.
    Of course, neither of these factors will be of any benefit to Catford Loop (or indeed Wimbledon Loop) passengers, but they have been spared the worst of the disruption. Nor is it much consolation to Denmark Hill passengers whose direct services to London Bridge have been lost as collateral damage, nor to Greenwich line passengers wanting Charing Cross

  175. Paul S says:

    David G 13:58

    Planning drawings presented to Southwark Council dating back to 2011 show no lift on P15 (or P10). Only the other pair of two sided terminating platforms have lifts shown, that suggests to me that doubling back was always intended.

  176. Giovanni says:

    @ timbeau

    I still mourn the loss of the direct Charing Cross evening services that Southern provided twice an hour! Very convenient going home after a pub crawl I seem to remember.

    But you’re right – the overall purpose is to improve the services through the core and untangle the approach into LBG. That definitely will benefit everyone. The milkfloat speed of anything between Charing Cross, or Blackfriars, to London Bridge has been unbearable since the late 90s. Or even earlier.

  177. RogerB says:

    Do we have any confidence that the milk floats will be speeded up, what with H&S issues?

  178. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @timbeau: Given the post Thameslink service still seems to be mired in quicksand, it would be difficult for TLP to do that… However I for one will be glad, late on an evening, to nolonger see two Thameslink train cross in Borough, ahead of my train home which has been given a 376 just to test one’s ability to sit cross-legged for longer!

  179. RayK says:

    @Paul S
    Those selfsame planning drawings show a passenger lift outside the payed area which will convey persons between the upper and lower concourses. I think it’s lower end opens onto the ‘great parade’ just off the concourse.

  180. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Giovanni – Crossrail may not be open to convey passengers but TfL Rail is open for business and Crossrail is very much open in terms of doing a lot of work across London and beyond. It has managed to tell people about all this activity in a positive way and to keep reminding people as things are being achieved or when milestones are due. Your basic point about Thameslink having a “day to day” struggle is fair enough and I won’t debate it further here as it’s been done in great detail elsewhere and we all have our own personal “rogue’s gallery” as to who is accountable for the “struggle”.

    @ Timbeau – I sit corrected. I did plough through the TP website before commenting but obviously failed to find its hidden corners. I still think more can be done and I do remember others’ past remarks about the very limited resources available for such work. This isn’t a comment against individual’s efforts (well apart from out of date progress pages) more a remark about priorities for those much higher up who seem not to quite appreciate the media savvy / info hungry environment we live in these days. It’s ironic that it’s the efforts of one man with a camera that is logging regular progress on the LB works (and lots of others) plus the regular comments here from others that are explaining the progress at LB and the dive under site. And I think we know that LR itself has a wide audience of people, many of them influential and decision makers in their own right. It’s a bit odd that essentially a volunteer effort is outdoing (in some respects) a publicly funded project website.

  181. RayK says:

    @Timbeau – Whilst that ‘key-dates-and-service-changes’ link you gave seems good at first glance it is rather sparse. It was written a long time ago when today’s happenings were far in the future. It now needs to be updated and expanded on. ~We hear from ngh and others that there are positive details that will happen before 2018 that could usefully be given now. Explaining what will happen and when will take the pressure from the ‘tomorrow or the day after’ expectations.

  182. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – I see TSGN have come up with a 3 day delay to the consultation because of strike action this week. 😉 Consultation is apparently released on Friday and bizarrely (to my mind anyway) this is mentioned on the *Southern* website. I couldn’t see any immediate reference on the Thameslink website at all. That just seems really odd to me as I thought it was Thameslink’s service pattern that was the thing being revised. Ho hum – probably best not to overthink this.

  183. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    Like most of their services, they can’t even run a consultation on time…

  184. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – I line ’em up and you finish off with the punch line. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  185. Anomnibus says:

    I’ve just realised that both the London & Greenwich Railway, and the London & Birmingham Railway, are “Georgian”* creations, not Victorian. We think of the railways as being a quintessentially Victorian invention, yet much of the pioneering work behind our railways actually predates Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1837.

    Anyway, I thought I’d post a link to Kentrail’s rather excellent article on London Bridge’s history and many transmogrifications over its very, very long life. The article covers its entire history and even has a number of photos going back to the 1950s, prior to its last rebuild in the 1970s.

    * (Poor, oft-overlooked King William IV didn’t get an era named after him. The “Georgian” era is usually extended to cover his rather brief reign, sandwiched between King George IV and Queen Victoria.)

  186. Anomnibus says:

    One point I’d like to make in defence of those “grubby Victorian tat” critics of the mid-20th century is that these buildings really were incredibly filthy, covered in muck not only from decades of steam, but also fumes from the increasing traffic, smog, and the heavy industries that had sprung up nearby. We forget that Battersea Power Station was a fully operational coal-fired power station right up to 1983.

    St. Pancras may look like a shining jewel of Victorian design and engineering (with a modern glass lean-to nailed on) today, but it really was an ugly, mucky pile of grot in the 1960s. The cost of keeping those cavernous glass train-shed roofs clean was huge and required armies of workers. When they were built, those workers were paid peanuts, but labour costs were spiralling ever upwards by the 1960s. (The continued reliance on diesel trains can’t have helped either.)

    Look at film and archive footage of London circa 1950 and you can see just how filthy the city really was back then. You could rarely see any details or colours through the thick layers of grime. It’s easy to forget just how grim these structures looked at the time.

    It wasn’t until the 1980s (give or take) that major concerted efforts were made to clean up our cities and remove all that dirt. We see these buildings now as they would have looked back in the 1800s, when the companies still had the resources to keep them looking their best, but for over half a century, the ravages of time, war, and penury caused by competition from road vehicles meant these structures became dowdy, dilapidated and unwanted. It’s hardly surprising many felt it was time to move on.

  187. Greg Tingey says:

    Anomnibus & others
    I’ve seen half an episode of “Call the Midwife” on a pub TV – it had me in hysterical laughter, because all the buildings were CLEAN …
    I can remember the 1950’s & the second great smog, euw.

  188. Graham H says:

    @Anomnibus -and contrarywise,how colourful Victorian cities must have looked for a few years until the grime over came them – all that terra cotta and those Minton tiles. Think of the renovated Albert Memorial. But it must have been a very short period – Atkinson Grimshaw’s painting of S Pancras showed it already gloomy and greyish red. Mind you, fair faced concrete hasn’t exactly remained fair-faced for very long, even today.

    @GT – not just that, but have you noticed that even in the supposedly most impoverished households portrayed on TV, the interior paintwork is always pristine, the carpets new and the kitchens comtemporary. Maybe there’s a specialist job to be invented here – Distresser.

    [@Anomnibus – agree with you about the unjust overlooking of William IV – a king, who when he stayed in Brighton used to send round to the better class of hotel to see whether there was anyone he knew staying there; if there was, they got invited to dinner] [Ah,snip!]

  189. unravelled says:

    I made a quick visit on Saturday, (photos in flickr group), and spotted a few interesting features. The main one is that they seem to have managed to include a dead straight length of platform even on 8 and 9, adjacent to the lifts. Whether this will line up with the wheelchair friendly locations on the trains is another matter. I presume there will be a smaller train/platform gap at these sections, and hope that travellers requiring the lift will learn to board the right part of the train. I don’t know to what extent wheelchait passengers can be put on the right part of the train for convenient exit at their destination, but it should beome increasingly possible.
    As for the main through platforms they seem well sheltered, (unlike Reading), and easy to navigate. Even if they are a bit narrow alongside the escalators and stairs, that area shouldn’t see high traffic flows. Again, I’m sure regular users will quickly learn the best train location for a speedy exit. A number of the platform displays were a bit off level, but I guess that won’t be difficult to adjust. An interesting new feature is the provision of blue markings on the platform, I think to designate where dispatchers are working.
    Downstairs, and it is a long way down, there was a good feeling of how it will be eventually. I didn’t mind the dimness, it wasn’t gloomy but it wasn’t glaring either.
    As for the access to the terminating platforms from below, perhaps the escalators/stairs could be nearer the concourse. I had a moment of confusion to find the platform empty, when heading for my train home. It took me a few seconds to realise that it was behind me. The lift at concourse level is currently badly situated, but I presume that the northern bank of gates, set well back from the trains, is temporary, and will be relocated so that the lift is better accessible.

  190. timbeau says:

    “London & Greenwich Railway, and the London & Birmingham Railway, are “Georgian”* creations – much of the pioneering work behind our railways actually predates Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1837”

    The L&G opened during the reign of William IV, although it had only reached Deptford by the end of his reign. However, the first section of the L&B (Euston to Boxmoor) opened on 20th July 1837, exactly one month after Victoria became queen.

    Victoria’s coronation was in June 1838, by which time the L&B was open throughout except for Kilsby Tunnel, and the L&G had still not reached Greenwich.

    Of course much of the building work took place in William’s reign. The Liverpool & Manchester had opened shortly after he came to the throne.

  191. Nameless says:

    Victoria – Victorian

    William –
    Wilhelmine?
    Billyous?
    Liamite?

  192. Malcolm says:

    Thanks to timbeau for some very precise dating. However, the use of the term “victorian” for things starting at any time in the nineteenth century is very common (regardless of being sometimes technically incorrect). Particularly when made in the course of generalisations (such as “victorian railway station are adjective). So it may be more fruitful to ignore this (mis)use, and address whatever the generaliser probably intended to say.

  193. ngh says:

    Re Unravelled,

    Northern part of the staggered gate line will eventually be completely removed (probably not popular with most terminating platform users especially on P10).

    The straight sections of platform align with wheelchairs spaces on 700s (the same at TL core stations) but not for non-700s.

  194. Anonymous says:

    @timbeau
    ‘…….. the first section of the L&B (Euston to Boxmoor) opened on 20th July 1837, exactly one month after Victoria became queen’. Does this make it Victorian, or was it still a Williamonian (?) creation? An early example perhaps of work being planned, commissioned and started under one individual being opened under the successor. I recall, in the early days of Boris’ reign, criticism that he was taking credit for Ken’s initiatives although I didn’t notice any similar comments when Sadiq was prominent at the opening of the night tube.

  195. ngh says:

    NR video of the August Blockade works at LBG:

    https://youtu.be/0AoQ4VHJ1OA

  196. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – both professional historians and professional art historians would normally eschew using Victorian as a precise term unless you really wanted to stress that the change of monarch had some relevance to whatever it was you were discussing.

    There was certainly a cluster of important changes around the 1830s politically (noteably the Reform Act of 1832),including less visible changes such as the decline in royal patronage over parliamentary seats, and artistically, you can point to the replacement of Gothick by Gothis revival starting about then, but not a process that was complete by any means till 1860 (eg Cubitt’s Kings Cross was still in a classicising style, and Amon was still building stucco terraces in Brighton when the LBSC arrived).

    Those same historians would draw attention to the differences between early,mid and late Victorian politics and art, too and raise the question of whether the Edwardian era was or was not a coda to all that. I don’t think Victorian is a useful term of precision, merely a lazy concept that disintegrates when prodded.

  197. timbeau says:

    Williamite generally refers to William III, as a political faction (opposed to the Jacobites), rather than an era or architectural style (for which “William & Mary” is usually used). Similarly the term “Georgian” usually refers to the period from 1714-1830 (or, as discussed, 1837) rather than 1910-1952.

    The term “Regency” as a style is often used to cover the whole period from 1811 to 1837, even though the regency itself ended in 1820 when the Prince Regent became the King.

    Back on topic, several of the earliest London stations – London Bridge, Euston, Nine Elms, Bishopsgate, Bricklayers Arms – owed a lot to the Regency style (Greenwich is a good surviving example)

  198. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous – to see timbeau’s note on Williamite and mine on the use of terms like Regency, Georgian and Victorian. Not relevant to railways really.

  199. Anomnibus says:

    @Malcolm and Graham H:

    I think my point was that the foundations of the railways as we know them today were already laid before Victoria became queen: Richard Trevithick, the Stockton & Darlington Railway, wrought iron rails, the Liverpool & Manchester, the Canterbury & Whitstable, and so on.

    The Victorians refined and popularised rail transport, but did not invent it.

    This really does hammer home Sir Peter Hendy’s point in his interview with LR Magazine (highly recommend; five stars):

    “I’ve moved from running the oldest metro in the world to being the Chairman of the oldest set of railway infrastructure in the world. And it’s even older. And so you actually have to think about that very carefully. The people who talk to you about whether the assets are in good condition… actually that’s one question, but another is ‘even if they are, how long will they last?’ And just like at LU that’s a really interesting question sometimes. You know, Brunel’s bridge over the Thames is dated 1838. I’m told it’s in very good condition – I bloody well hope so because I travel over it two or three times a week – but that’s not the question you need to ask. The question is: ‘how long will it last?’ “And that’s very different.”

    [Source: LR Magazine, #4, p 31. Emphasis mine.]

    Nothing lasts forever. Eventually, the only sensible option is to rip it out and replace it wholesale. We’re seeing this taking place right now at London Bridge, which is essentially being rebuilt from the foundations up. This is likely to be only the beginning of a generations-long process of renewing and replacing assets, and the issue isn’t limited to individual assets like bridges and stations, but also to entire lines and routes: HS2 is an example of this in that its primary role is to provide two new fast lines for the WCML.

    *

    Despite his distressing taste in buses, Sir Peter’s point about politics and the railways being closely entwined is also of critical importance. It’ll be interesting to see how the comments flow once Sir Peter’s interview appears on this site. I do hope more leeway is permitted there for discussions on the political issues involved.

  200. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anon 1136 – I expect Mayor Khan was not criticised because he gave due credit to Bozza for “inventing” the idea of the Night Tube. He did make a little swipe about actually getting it running but he has given Bozza credit in a number of areas since taking over. I guess it makes him appear a tad more “adult” than some other politicians and avoids criticism of ignoring what his precedessor did when his administration has broadly the same policy objectives. He’s going to have to give credit to more than one Mayor and Chancellor / SoS when Crossrail opens so best to get the behaviour right early on. Ditto GOBLIN electrification, GOBLIN to Barking Riverside and Met Line to Watford Junc / Nthn Line to Battersea (latter two might not happen in his term, we shall see).

  201. Philip Wylie says:

    @Ed @ngh – that’s if they speed up the timetables when complete?

    On the Hayes line there seems to be an enormous amount of padding now, hopefully it will be removed in late 2017. All-stations to Clock House via Lewisham used to take 32 minutes. Now, it’s up to 36 in some cases even though trains no longer call at St Johns and New Cross and there seems to be an extra two minutes added between CHX and LB. The longest dwell times seem to be at Lewisham on up trains. Will there be a speed-up post 2017 to at least regain previous timings?

  202. Sad Fat Dad says:

    The 2 mins between LBG and CHX is specifically for the duration of the works to cover speed restrictions etc. It will go in 2018. Can’t speak for the rest, however dwell times “ain’t what they used to be”.

  203. NickBxn says:

    On milk float speeds, I hope that when it gets ramped up to 24tph, Thameslink’s ATO will mean the end of the current degree of timetable slack through the core section. I doubt it could be as punchy as the Victoria line, but the journey time between Blackfriars and Kings Cross is the same as me on my bicycle unhurried. It would, however, raise the question of where they will regulate the services instead.

  204. Malcolm says:

    … where they will regulate the services…

    The “standard” answer to this is at the outer terminals. The extent to which this will be possible is, perhaps, best left as an exercise for the reader.

  205. Graham Feakins says:

    @Malcolm & Nick Bxn – Whereas the main regulation for trains through the Thameslink core section I understand will be on the approaches to the transition points approaching the ATO section, e.g. near Elephant & Castle and east of London Bridge on the south side and near Kentish Town and Finsbury Park on the north side, all in conjunction (and hopefully co-operation) with the signalling centres controlling the wider area.

    One thing that seems certain, however, is that the trains will be almost butting up against one another in the core section, with an allowance for some six or more trains between Blackfriars and St. Pancras on each track, platform end to platform end.

  206. DVD says:

    @ Anomnibus.

    You are right to highlight the need in the longer term to replace and rebuild nineteenth century assets. I worry about viaducts. Solidly built they may be, but their life span cannot be everlasting. The London & Greenwich will hit its 200th anniversary in a couple of decades. Many of the approaches to London termini are on viaduct which take daily pounding. That’s one reason why HS2 is far sighted.

    Incidentally last week saw the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Sidcup Line (1st September 1866) which seems to have passed largely unnoticed. I have promoted Southeastern and await something to commemorate the occasion. But the excellent Kent Rail site hopes to run a feature.

  207. RayK says:

    @ngh Thanks for the pointer to the August Blockade video.
    I found it of interest to note that the Joiner Street Bridge was waterproofed before they laid the new tracks over it. (0:17 to 0:19 and 1.05 to 1.08) Needs either 0.25 speed or the ability not to blink.

  208. Old Buccaneer says:

    @Ray & ngh: I missed it! Generally I found the video a bit difficult to follow as it jumped between different points of view. Perhaps a symptom of advancing age; but I’d like to see more effort to inform in these vids rather than a musical soundtrack. Just saying.

  209. RayK says:

    @Old Buc. It has been pointed out to us before that the primary purposes of these videos is to demonstrate that 1] They work hard in possessions. 2] They work round the clock. We are left to pick up what we may.

  210. Greg Tingey says:

    Sceptical article in the Grauniad about the new Thamslink stock.

  211. RayK says:

    Re Unravelled. – I have only the stage drawings from the planning application to guide me. They appear to show that the tightest curvature on the new platforms is much less tight than the tightest old platform. Perhaps somebody has access to figures that can confirm or confute this.

  212. ngh says:

    Might I suggest downloading and saving the video, then you can play back frame by frame easily if you want…

    There isn’t actually that much complex stuff going on compared to some previous possessions.

    Early on:
    Careful recovery of signalling cables
    Lifting the track and points at the platform end of Metropolitan Jn on Up CST lines (P2/3)
    Lifting the track and ballast on the UP CST line at the country end where the route the through P6 diverges

    Early Middle:
    Lay new ballast and track in the 2 gaps on the up line to CST
    Start lifting 3rd rail
    Install temporary points on the down CST at the country end where the new down route via P5 meets the old one via P1.
    Lift 3rd rail and power cables through P1-3
    Lifting the track and points at the platform end of Metropolitan Jn on old Down CST lines (P1/2)
    Connect new 3rd rail through P5/6 CST route

    Late Middle:
    Laying ballast and track in the new P5 down alignment at the CST end.
    More cable recovery.
    Lay 3rd rail on the recently laid tracks in the “gaps”
    Tamping of the recently laid track (not on P5/6 through the station which was done months ago)
    Final top up of ballast
    More signalling work.
    Cast concrete signalling gantry base for use later (close to track just outside P5)

    Late:
    Tamping take 2 after final ballasting
    lifting old track through P1-3 starting with 1&3 then after they have been lifted 2.
    Erect new hoardings track side.
    Start demolishing the pre-cast concrete parts of the platforms

  213. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    Indeed much much straighter especially with:
    a) the new P1 being on the Tooley Street side of P1
    b) the Western throat being far wide and more spaced apart (was 7 platforms/ tracks to narrowing to 4 tracks but soon 9 to 6 but
    c) with the CHX tracks now merging far more gently and further west (by 20-40m) and on a straighter alignment which allows the platforms edges to be parallel in the middle of the platforms.

  214. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    I think Greg meant this link. It’s more about commuter trains in general though….

  215. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Ouch! A bit of demolition job there!

  216. ngh says:

    Re SH,

    At the station or in the Guardian?

  217. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I see the Southern / Thameslink 2018 service consultation has been delayed until next week because of “problems with an interactive document”. Sigh!

  218. RayK says:

    Re ngh
    I now realise that being sold as two extra tracks and two/three extra platforms is somewhat missleading. It’s how they have joined those extra tracks that has almost doubled the width of the City end throat.

  219. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: Both really! The SE offices were down to track level last time I looked, the article demolishes the architecture somewhat… In the politest terms of course!

  220. RayK says:

    SH(LR)
    The article doesn’t quite call it a committee design: It just skirts all round the edges by describing how the typical effects of such are present.

  221. Old Buccaneer says:

    @ngh 10:01: bless you

  222. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    And with speed limit on the points (at either end of the station on all “SE” tracks) all going from 15mph before to 20mph which makes a useful difference on longer trains…
    All helped by the straightening out and extra throat length at the City end.

  223. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    The text has now changed (again):
    “We are very sorry but due to a technicality with one of the interactive documents, we have not been able to start the consultation yet.”

    All mention of delayed till NEXT WEEK has now disappeared!
    Any bets that the snazzy interactive document doesn’t work on the dark ages internet explorer compatibility modes (e.g. roll back to IE6/7) that lots of gov department PCs seem to use???

  224. Purley Dweller says:

    Ngh

    Where is the text. I can’t find it direct and can’t get Google to find it either

  225. Greg Tingey says:

    And, reviving an old chestnut … IIRC the admittedly-hideously-ugly, but very useful footbridge over Tooley St is supposed to close & be demolished (?)
    So people walking over the river bridge will have to go down-&-up-again to reach even the “Southern” platforms … & everyone will have to cross Tooley St on the level.
    How long before there’s a pedestrian fatality?
    Couple this with the thing the Grauniad complains of – a n other wonderful empty plaza & the absence of a footbridge & it really does look as though the Architects have won over the Engineers, to the future inconvenience of the travelling public – maybe.

  226. Ed says:

    Well the almost daily failures on the Southeastern side (failed train yesterday? Signalling today?) let many see the undercroft given they are being held there, or rushing through with last minute platform alterations.

    It’s been a real baptism of fire for the station. Only one night has been trouble free for SE passengers in near 2 weeks. If it happened on the Southern side the media would be all over it.

  227. Purley Dweller says:

    Greg,

    Surely passengers from the terminating platforms will just walk down the approach road by the bus station to get to London Bridge itself. No need to go down a and back up. And as for the footbridge the interchange is still much better than changing tube lines and people will get used to it – it’s been a long time since you could do the Charing Cross train to Cannon Street train hop anyway – most people will be used to the new order by 2018. The lazy bit of me much prefers an escalator up anyway!

  228. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Greg, I don’t think the footbridge(s) are to be demolished. I’ve never seen any suggestion of same.

  229. ngh says:

    consultation:
    http://www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/timetable-consultation

    footbridges:
    The only one going as far as I know is the last remains of the now very short, bright and airy* 1970s one between the platforms but now just 1+2 &3.

    * Daylight and fresh air now available from 4 sides and the roof…

    Cottons is temporarily closed for works (removal of gateline and ramps to the former P1-3 and replacement with emergency exit stairs etc).

  230. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Purley Dweller – precisely. Even “dimwit knows nothing about trains in S London” me knew you could walk from the street through the bus station to be at the same level as the Southern terminating platforms. We aren’t going to see London Bridge station redesigned or have a footbridge installed for many, many years so it’s pretty pointless to bemoan something that won’t be changed. Let’s wait for the full service on all routes to be operative in 2018 and then we can take a measured judgement in the correct circumstances as to the efficacy or otherwise of arrangements. If it can’t cope then the critics can “let rip” on full throttle with the facts to support their case. As the highway authority I assume the London Borough of Southwark will make an appropriate judgement about Tooley St at the right time. After all they approved the planning application.

    At this rate people will take one look at Crossrail’s Central London stations and declare them useless one week after the service opens rather than waiting until we are in early 2020 and then seeing how things go with the full service in operation. I also look forward to the GOBLIN’s extended / refurbished platforms being declared “an abomination” and the NL Battersea Extension having closure proceedings instituted a week after it opens on the grounds that it is “hopeless” and “architecturally upsetting”. 😛 🙂

  231. RayK says:

    This photo of Unravelled’s
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/unravelled/29459497585/in/album-72157632556184415/
    illustrates ngh’s point about the city end CST tracks veering off North before leaving P6. I’m also surprised that the two tracks are so close together. This is different from the diverging routes shown on the planning drawings. It shows that things have been reconsidered since then. This final temporary route will enable more work to be done on the new P4 and 5 before they move the CST tracks over to P1 and 2 at Easter next year.

  232. ngh says:

    Re WW and Purley Dweller,

    So why do the majority of commuters from the terminating platforms use the London Bridge Walk /Duke Hill Street footbridge and not cross Duke Hill Street on the pedestrian crossing? (which I believe is the one Greg is referring to up to the end of the sentence “Pedestrian fatality”, the next paragraph refers to lack of replacement for the platform interchange one).

    The London Bridge Walk /Duke Hill Street footbridge avoids the need to go down to Street level and back up to bridge level which is roughly the same as the terminating platform level… [Hint Tooley Street actually goes under London Bridge (on the approach), have good look at GSV…], wait ages for very little green man time at the end of Duke Hill Street and walk longer too. The street level route is a nuts to the average commuter. NR have had to redesign the street layout in Tooley Street in this last week because all the pedestrians from the More London direction etc were ignoring the pedestrian routings and taking the as the crow flies route instead (after temp. Cottons footbridge closure) so NR had to install a new pedestrian crossing, hence Greg’s comment about time to first fatality (or more likely serious injury) is spot on with at least 30-35K crossing the Tooley /Duke Hill Street by some means in each peak hour twice a day.
    Most new commuters figure out the footbridge route in a day or 2.

    I think this is about the 7th time in 4 years this has come up on LR.

  233. RayK says:

    Re my earlier comment. Perhaps rather than the extra space being used just for P4 and 5 they need it at first as elbow room during demolition of the old P1 to 3.

  234. ngh says:

    Re Ray K @ 2155,

    That photo nicely shows the missing last 25m of P5 where the concrete cable troughs and grey hoardings are on the right (also note the concrete base for the steel canopy frame already in situ in-front of the troughs).

    @2224 The new track 3+4 deck will allow construction vehicles over the concourse “hole” between the east and west when old 1-3 are getting / have been demolished.

  235. John B says:

    With the old layout it was always a toss-up between joining the westbound Jubilee at LBG or WAE. I think the new layout will make WAE a clear winner, so I’ll be using LBG less. Also there are handy free toilets at WAE when I’ve been down the pub.

    Similarly the extra distance will add a couple of minutes when walking in from London Bridge bridge.

    BTW if the Greenwich lines are permanently switched to CST, will that mean CST will be open late at night and all weekend from 2018? What kind of frequency might I expect off-peak from CST to LBG?

    (not happy tonight at I switched to VIC because of signalling problems at WAE (and the information system breaking down, claiming 13m from CST to ORP!), and then that train was held for fasts, had signals flickering out of sequence etc)

  236. Anomnibus says:

    Who owns the LBG Walk / Duke Street footbridge and the properties involved?

    If most of it is privately owned, it would make more sense to wait until the London Bridge reconstruction is completed before filing plans for a redevelopment with the expected ‘enhanced retail opportunities’. Doing it now would be hugely disruptive.

  237. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – I merely remarked about the existence of an alternative not the relative weighted usage by commuters. All I suggested was that the objective assessment point is when things are finished – that’s all. You regularly remind us that the work at track level is not finished and that things are constrained and that we should wait before we rush to judgement. Are we not saying the same things? Surely the fact that this issue keeps being mentioned is just because 1 person keeps mentioning it? We all have our “hobby horses” but I’m not sure what point is being served from such repetition. The concerns should be raised with the London Borough of Southwark and Network Rail directly – they’re the only people who can actually *do* anything aren’t they?

    As for human beings always taking the route of shortest distance / most convenience – well I thought that was recognised as standard behaviour. If you don’t design on that basis and somehow leave a “gap” which people can exploit then you need to return to the drawing board. This seems to be what has transpired at Tooley St.

  238. Sad Fat Dad says:

    John B. The Greenewich lines switched permanently to Cannon St more than 20 months ago, and the station has been open late / weekends since then, and AIUI will continue to do so. Check today’s timetable for frequency.

  239. John B says:

    @SFD until August CST had extra trains (eg Tunbridge Wells) to take the load off CHX. Are there still diverted services, or is CST now running with its long term pattern?

  240. RayK says:

    RE ngh 22:38
    That concrete base is an even better positioning landmark than the emergency stairs.
    Is the bringing into use of P6 dependant just on the CST tracks being moved out of the way next Easter or is it dependant also on tracks through the Diveunder being in use?
    I can see, now that you have pointed it out, just how necessary is the access via tracks 3 and 4 deck across the big hole.

  241. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Anonmibus: The building is owned by the City, so I suppose the walkway on the North side is too, as is, I suspect the bridge… The whole lot could do with “renewal” however!

  242. GSV = Google Street View

  243. Just a reminder to everyone to please use full station names as we have a lot of non-railway readers. Comments shouldn’t read like a diplomacy game box score…

  244. Southeastern Passenger says:

    @RayK To start using P6 the Charing Cross lines ‘need’ to go under the diveunder. The last public staging documents had a few months of Cannon St trains passing through P1+2 but P6 not in use. I suspect the issue is the country bound track layout. (This photo shows it, with tracks from bottom P5+6 and 7-9 coming from right). There is no way to get from P6 to the down Charing Cross. I’m sure a point could have been placed somewhere on the temporary section, but only at great expense and may have prevented the pre-existing signalling interlocking being used.

    @JohnB I’d also be surprised if Cannon Street didn’t remain open late nights and weekends. Late night trains in particular are more frequent now, with metro routes being 4tph till at least 10:30 now rather than 9ish before.

    Hard to say exactly what the service pattern will be in 2018, the delayed Thameslink consultation is likely to have an impact. Currently there are 12tph off-peak to Cannon Street, 6tph Greenwich and 2tph to each of the Orpington, Sidcup and Bexleyheath lines. 2018 is likely to be at least 10tph on Saturdays and weekday off peaks. Sundays are more uncertain as it depends who will call the shots for service levels. The mainline diversions previously were to provide mainline trains calling at London Bridge and have now stopped.

  245. ngh says:

    Re SE passenger,

    P6 “There is no way to get from P6 to the down Charing Cross… ” – I completely disagree if we are talking about the east of London Bridge.

    There will be 3 Charing Cross lines east of the station in the future till Blue Anchor Jn just west of the dive under…
    6= Down CHX
    7= Reversible CHX
    8= UP CHX
    Currently only tracks 7 (rev) and 8 (up) are used west of the “slalom” for Charing Cross services with the up Cannon Street currently using the future 6 down Charing Cross. All the points are now in place east of P6-9 in their final locations. The photo nicely shows this and the route from P6 on to track 6 Down CHX which in the future will keep going straight until instead of taking the slalom to track 2 as it currently does… (Every up Cannon Street service has already used this connection in the last 10 days!!!)
    A train from P7 can swap to T6 at this location using points 7181 and 7182 (as seen in the photo just beyond the first gantry) but the first opportunity for swapping from T6 (P6) to T7 (using 7191/7192) will be further east roughly where the single yellow behind the Networker is in the photo.

    The real issue is mostly surrounding availability of signalling resources (e.g. lack thereof) hence the minimisation of temporary works involving signalling as key a theme in the project scheduling.

    To connect track 8 as the up Charing Cross further east of the current location requires the temporary Sussex down loop outside the station being re-purposed but this requires the Down Sussex slow through the dive under to be operational instead (which happens to be the next major signalling task on the list at Christmas…) but NOT the Charing Cross lines through the dive under. You could temporarily connect it not via the dive under but it would be a waste of a time and resource especially as it is the next job on the list anyway at Easter…

    Connecting P6 to the down Charing Cross line west of London Bridge requires the existing Cannon Street signalling interlocking and other local equipment to be replaced (also happening at Easter 17) because:
    1. Some of the cabinets are where that track will be and they didn’t want to temporarily relocate the cabinets a second time (as can be seen in the photo Ray K linked to above behind the emergency exit stairs at the end of the platform and in the NR video) and in any case there is no sensible place to move them where they wouldn’t be even more in the way of getting other tasks done.
    2. P6 will have access from down Charing Cross and access to Up Thameslink so the sensible thing is to wait for both points 7252 and 7160 to be installed at the same time rather than having yet another temporary staging with yet more temporary track.

    Given everything else happening at Easter ’17 connecting P6 at the western end is a step to far a for a very long weekend hence it being connected in August ’17 instead (also aligned with ARS etc going live for Charing Cross lines).

  246. Southeastern Passenger says:

    @ngh Think I could have been clearer, when I was talking about the Charing Cross Down I meant the final Charing Cross Reversible. So currently the track does slalom off before where the crossover will be. Thanks for the extra information about the staging, all makes a lot more sense now.

  247. Londoner in Scotland says:

    @ DVD

    Brick and masonry arches can be extraordinarily long-lived if they have been well-founded and are properly maintained. Consider that various bridges and other structures built by the Romans survive – though not carrying trains! Many surviving 19th century railway structures were over-engineered, because civil engineering was more of an art and less of a science than is now the case. The ones that were under-specified failed and were replaced, or had to be strengthened long ago. The SECR and Southern had to do a lot of reconstruction in Kent. Particular problems to guard against include differential subsidence (which can cause an arch to fracture and fail), and over-loading (which can result in failure caused by outward thrust) and general decay arising from water penetration and frost action. There is no reason why the London & Greenwich viaduct and others should not continue to serve for very many more years. It is very encouraging to see the large number of places in South London where there have been repairs carried out to brick structures to a very high standard.

    Does the current work on the approaches to London Bridge include water-proofing the viaduct? This is normally done by laying an impermeable membrane below the ballast and is likely to require a new drainage system for the track.

  248. Ian J says:

    @Londoner in Scotland: Indeed, much of the new London Bridge station (the east and west ends) is still supported on the nineteenth century masonry arches. Those that were removed were demolished to create circulation space, not because they were too old.

    The oldest railway bridge in the UK still standing was built under George the First, and the oldest still in use under George the Third (before the Regency) – and was recently electrified.

  249. Graham H says:

    @IanJ – and there are of course many much older brick road bridges still in daily use (not to mention brick buildings generally, although I appreciate that these do not necessarily carry a rolling load)

  250. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: the thirteenth century Clattern Bridge over the Hogsmill in Kingston carries nine bus routes!

  251. timbeau says:

    @Ian J,

    Sorry to perpetuate the digression, but on a point of fact, the Clattern Brige only carries six bus routes 85, 371, 465, K1, K4, and commercial route 458.

    Are you confusing it with Kingston Bridge (built in 1828 and widened twice since then) which does have nine: 111, 211, 216, 281, 285, 461, 481, 513, X26, (and temporarily, last month, the 65) plus a lot of dead mileage to and from Fulwell.

    It is remarkable though that although much of the 13th century structure underpins the Clattern Bridge, there is no weight limit on it, so vehicles much heavier than buses can use it. Until the Kingston By Pass was built in 1927, the Clattern Bridge carried the A3.

  252. Ed says:

    Another evening with problems on the SE side. I make it 2 days out of about 15 now when it’s been ok.

  253. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ed – it won’t make you feel any better nor does it fix South Eastern but Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, was tonight stuck for 2 hours on a Southern train out of London Bridge. I get the slight sense she wasn’t terribly happy.

    And veering terribly off this topic but still on transport matters the responses to her tweets from people in the taxi trade show a really dreadful state of opinion from the black cab trade about politicians and TfL. Even allowing for “keyboard warrior” syndrome, so prevalent on social media, the “opinion” is not really repeatable here but shows cabbies are very cross indeed. I can’t see that ever being fixed to their satisfaction because the technological clock can’t be turned back.

  254. Ian J says:

    @timbeau: also the 514, 515, and 571?

  255. timbeau says:

    @Ian J
    I confess I missed the 514 and 515 commercial routes, as they are not on the Spider Map (although I remembered the 461).

    But the 571 was a temporary route during the suspension of the 371 last month, so it would be misleading to count both.

  256. Ed says:

    Its fallen over again on the SE side. Lots of people trapped in trains in this heat for an hour plus so far. No air con on many as Net workers. I can see some fainting. And the rush hour’s a write off.

  257. ngh says:

    SE side: signalling issue at Charing Cross.
    (And just as Southern and Thameslink are just about recovered from 2 under + a broken down train this morning and 1 under late last night.)

    One does wonder if the older yet to be replaced signalling equipment especially the impedance bonds and track circuit equipment on the Charing Cross route can take the amount extra traction current being drawn by all the extra rolling stock shifted across from Cannon Street services to maximise the capacity of trains stopping at London Bridge…

  258. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: I can sense an article there….

  259. ngh says:

    Re SH,

    It will probably need a few more days before it becomes statistically indisputable…

  260. Ed says:

    If so then it’s another thing overlooked. So many things should have been watertight by 2014 when it all kicked off but various cock ups by various bodies ensured it wasn’t.

  261. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Meanwhile the Chair of the Assembly Transport Cttee has now written to Chris Grayling about devolution of South Eastern’s services to TfL. This is because there has been “radio silence” and the DfT have failed to respond to a letter sent to the then SoS, Mr McLoughlin, on the same topic. I am surprised the Department would not have ensured a reply went to a key London politcian even allowing for the turbulence in government following the resignation of the then PM. It will be interesting to see how quickly a reply comes, if one comes at all.

  262. alanbluemountains says:

    ngh. 13 Sep 16.48. Two under ? tin roof to me (over my head) break down I understand. Sorry if being dense.

  263. Malcolm says:

    “One under” is the usual euphemism for a (presumed) suicide under a train.

  264. Sad Fat Dad says:

    There’s certainly something odd going on. The heat today certainly didn’t help and must have been a major contributor to the points failures.

    Ngh – the amount of stock going into / out of CHX in the high peak isn’t that much more than pre Jan 15; indeed there’s 2 fewer paths, but a few (and only a few) of the trains are longer. The key difference is that pre Jan 15 the trains were split between 2 approach lines (up 6 and up 7) from Spa Road Jn, (and 4 down 5 down on the way out) whereas now they are all on the one Up CHX (and Dn CHX). Having said that many of the failures have been country side of Spa Road, where to all intents and purposes the train service is unchanged.

    Ed: all this stuff was thought about in great detail from 2011 to 2014. I could list all the work done but Malcolm wouldn’t thank me for using up lots of space.

  265. ngh says:

    Re Alanbluemountains,

    2 different incidents on the Tuesday morning (Sutton and Haywards Heath)

    Re SFD,

    A bit too late in the year to consider a bulk order of white paint?
    Almost sounds like the points detection needs to be adjusted seasonally for maximum reliability for seasonal ambient temperatures.

  266. RayK says:

    Re ngh &SFD
    ‘Almost sounds like the points detection needs to be adjusted seasonally for maximum reliability for seasonal ambient temperatures.’
    I would have expected temperature compensation to have been built in. Perhaps it is and still needs some sort of adjustment.

  267. Greg Tingey says:

    Not sure if this should be here, or in “Southern Problems” thread.
    THIS
    Does make it look as if someone ( or group of someones) has lost the plot, doesn’t it?

    I assume Ms Shawcross will be asking some pointed questions, too.

  268. timbeau says:

    @SFD

    I think ngh’s point was that the longer trains, however few they may be, have been enough to tip the traction current over the edge. Bear in mind that it is not the average but the instanttaneous current draw. If there are even just a few more twelve car trains, the chances will be greater that two or three of them will try to draw maximum power at the same moment and trip a circuit breaker somewhere.

  269. Malcolm says:

    Really the comments about recent South-Eastern disruption should not be here, but also not in the southern thread. However, some well-informed insights into possible causes and/or remedies and/or consequences would be tolerated.

    But please, no more repetition of “isn’t it dreadful!” and similar remarks. There are quite enough of these in the mainstream press. (I’m not saying that it isn’t dreadful, I’m just saying “please don’t say that here”).

  270. KitGreen says:

    Back to the station.
    A comment seen elsewhere yesterday was
    All those millions of pounds spent at London Bridge train station and they can’t make an escalator run at the same speed as the hand rail! Speechless

    So the little things are still noticed amongst the disruption.

  271. ngh says:

    Re Malcolm,

    Presumably, the best place for SE comments would be under PoP’s potential article on the impact of SE timetable changes he has been working on 🙂

    LR is also likely to endure a useful historical source (especially as Euston and approaches will see similar within a couple of years) for far longer than newspaper articles etc., Ed’s running stats on reliability being fairly pertinent along with other commentary on location and type of faults issues.

    Re Timbeau,

    Except equipment often fails rather than a trip occurring which take also longer to sort!
    Well all the rolling stock from the now short trains into Cannon Street have to have disappeared somewhere! Unfortunately the round trip to Charing Cross is circa 8mins longer than an equivalent to Cannon Street which at higher tph eats up a very limited pool of SE stock (additional stock pre-London Bridge works might have been good idea for DfT).
    Given the number of failures in the New Cross area it would be interesting to compare track and equipment from pre Jan 2015 with the service level trains/lengths and modifications since.

    Extensive research in other countries suggest traditional type impedance bonds don’t like warmer temperatures (which nicely agrees with physics! Max current decreases with increasing temp… and then there are potential issues with higher operating temperatures due to higher average traction current (also see 2 vs 3/4 tracks on the run into London Bridge form New Cross on the Charing Cross lines) all nasty feed back loops).

    Points and hot weather are well known issues with some mitigation measure possible.

  272. Malcolm says:

    Odd that. I have always assumed that handrails moving more slowly than escalators was deliberate, even though I cannot think of a reason (except perhaps “tradition”!).

  273. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: Your theory doesn’t ring entirely true… The last couple of days the signalling seems to have gone AWOL in the interpeak….

  274. ngh says:

    Re SH,

    “in the interpeak…” when it is hottest?

  275. Putters says:

    The escalator handrail thing – I think it is just an average speed thing, but can’t quite get my grey matter round it. At the bottom curve the handrail will be covering a shorter distance than the step chain. At the top curve it will have to travel further. As the top curve is longer than the bottom curve I suspect the difference to manifests itself in a slightly slower speed up the main incline …

    … totally a guess though.

  276. Man of Kent says:

    Tuesday’s signalling problems were compounded by the fact that the failed track circuit was on the boundary between the two signal ‘boxes’ (Three Bridges and London Bridge). Trains had to be talked past one signal from each box, and offered from box to box in between, all of which took a considerable amount of time.

  277. timbeau says:

    The handrail may slip a bit as, unlike the steps, it is not driven by gears.

  278. Malcolm says:

    Some belt-driven things do not slip at all (like the camshaft in my engine). If an escalator handrail does slip, it is because it has been designed that way, it’s not just an accident, surely?

  279. Greg Tingey says:

    Malcom
    Camshaft belts are toothed, so that that they can’t slip – or that’s the theory anyway.

    Ideally an escalator-handrail should move at the same velocity as the parallel escalator steps, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever found one such ….

  280. Putters says:

    But Greg, due to the curves at top and bottom it can’t do that all the time without stretching or contracting. And I’d guess the point where people need it matching speed is either at alighting or disembarking.

    Taking this one step further I think that it is the top curve that is important – don’t want people being overbalanced backwards at the top of an up escalator or pulled overbalanced forward on a down one. So you match closer to the the speed on the curve at the top which means slower on the main incline.

    Still total guesswork on my behalf though.

  281. Fandroid says:

    Escalator handrail theory! A new topic for LR.

    I suspect that people at London Bridge are finding the existence of escalators to the NR platforms rather novel, so are taking a lot more notice of them than they would at any Tube station.

  282. RayK says:

    Every point on an escalator handrail moves at the same speed. Whether on a straight or curve every bit of it moves at N m/sec. If this were not so the belt would either stretch or squeeze up in places. As we cannot see this happening any variation must be very small. What does happen is that the handrail turns to horizontal before or after the feet of the user. This gives the illusion of a change of speed.

  283. Malcolm says:

    I suggest that we have exhausted the topic of escalator handrail speed. Further speculative or amateur input is henceforth discouraged. (This is not a complaint about existing comments of that nature, but the time for them is now passed).

    If there is an expert escalator engineer, designer or maintainer willing to comment, that would be fine. But otherwise, let’s move on to other things.

  284. Malcolm says:

    Thank you, John B. If no expert is to hand, try the internet. If anyone is dissatisfied with the superbeefy explanation, would they please address the issue somewhere else.

  285. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    I noticed a little bit of a milestone today: arches on the Tooley Street side of the station have been demolished…

  286. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Actually, they are making staggering progress on the Cannon St side as far as demolition goes. It would be completely flat everywhere but for one fire alarm cable that as of a few days ago needed to be signed off for decommissioning and was preventing flattening of the final structure.

    The work site is huge.

    There are massive concrete pours each night and around 70-80 lorry movements a day as stuff gets demolished.

    On the construction side, the platforms get built at a rate of 12 metres every 3 days – or rather 3 nights. It all comes prefabricated so day 1 is the concrete base and day 3 is the roof.

    If you want to see something of how it is progressing just go in peak hours. The walking route to the Underground seems to be a moveable route with different flows for in and out of the station. When I went a few days ago the one from the main station to the Underground was quite circuituous and meant a lot of the arches could be seen.

    I also suspect the sheer size of the future retail area further along towards Bermondsey Street will surprise many people when its layout becomes apparent. I do wonder if there will eventually be a plan to pedestrianise the part of Bermondsey Street underneath the station and open up some of the arches there.

  287. Andrew Wapshott says:

    NR have tried to make it the best station in Europe. But all they have done is created another Brussels Midi. Personally I saw nothing wrong with the old concourse.

    Also problems occur at the area of the platform where the 4 escalators are. Because of so many escalators, people are contesting the area. I’ve driven into the new platforms and almost hit some people every evening rush hour. Surely that could have been thought about more.

    Unfortunately I don’t know where they got the idea of this new London Bridge station but I find it a disappointment.

  288. Old Buccaneer says:

    Re: Brussels Midi: “I never saw a sight that didn’t look better looking back” (Hank Marvin)

  289. Mike says:

    OB: wrong Marvin, I think – Lee, not Hank.

  290. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Network Rail have released their latest video showing just how much has been achieved, demolitionwise, at London Bridge on the Cannon Street side. Less obvious from the video is that a lot of concrete has been poured. Note the “day n” caption in the upper left area to give an idea of timescale.

  291. quinlet says:

    Interesting to spot them breaking through a live water main. The flow didn’t go on for long in the film but I wonder how long it was in reality!

  292. ngh says:

    Re quinlet,

    The water spray is to help reduce the dust during demolition as has happened in previous phases and at the diveunder too.
    1 frame every 10 minutes previously.

    Major demolition completed this week.

  293. ngh says:

    Re Andrew W,

    When the station is fully open things should improve on the SE side when passengers don’t have the last minute platform changes etc. so they feel happy to move away from the stairs /escalators and have both Charing Cross and Cannon Street services stopping.

    The model for London bridge is actually turning (and moving) Vienna South (“Terminus”) into the current Vienna Hbf which ended up being much delayed like the entire Thameslink scheme. The climatic wind tunnel and depot at Vienna Arsenal moved in 2002 but they didn’t start construction till Christmas 2009 and completed 6 months late* in mid 2014.
    *(Though some would argue completion 99years 11months too late as Vienna South couldn’t handle the mobilisation of the Austro-Hungarian army in summer 1914 quickly enough and this was a known limitation written into the Schlieffen plan)

  294. quinlet says:

    @ngh
    It is actually quite impressive now to see, in the evening peak, a train entering into platform 7 as the adjacent train in platform 8 starts to leave, and then vice versa routinely over 10-15 minutes. Just like clockwork.

  295. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    I noticed on Tuesday that there seem to be quite a number of bits missing here and there… The only reason I noticed was because, for once, I wasn’t in commuter mode. So actually had the time to take in the sights (plus a fifteen minute wait for my connection…).

    I noticed on Wednesday, back in full commute mode, that the route to the Underground had changed. So as noted above, the signs are wrong… However they have invested in some mobile displays. Just a pity they are only about 4 feet tall, when they should be 8 to 10 feet tall!

  296. Stuart says:

    @ngh “When the station is fully open things should improve on the SE side when passengers don’t have the last minute platform changes etc”

    Not true for services coming in from Cannon Street – they could be on either P1 or P2, and as I understand it, P1 will be at the edge of the site and P2 on island with P3

  297. ngh says:

    Re Stuart,

    The improvement for Cannon Street is that the services will stop which should reduce the crowding level and dwell times on each platform including the Charing Cross ones.

  298. Stuart says:

    ngh

    Well they did stop before the redevelopment too, so not sure that is a major selling point !

    But for those travelling up to CS in the morning peak from LBG P2/3, the island platform benefit will arise, which was not the case before redevelopment

  299. Timbeau says:

    For “down” Cannon Street trains, dashing over the bridge should be less of a problem as it is unlikely two trains arriving simultaneously will be going to the same place. Provided platforms are decided soon enough, and only changed rarely, when absolutely necessary (e.g. a preceding train failing in the platform), it should be less of a problem than the previous “guess which Cannon Street train will arrive first/ not spend 10 minutes admiring the view from the Alexandra Bridge/actually have some space” game.

  300. Josh says:

    Brussels Midi seemed fine to me.

  301. Graham Feakins says:

    @timbeau – “For “down” Cannon Street trains, dashing over the bridge should be less of a problem as it is unlikely two trains arriving simultaneously will be going to the same place.”

    Which particular bridge did you have in mind? I (regretfully) see no footbridge at London Bridge station these days, for example, whilst I guess there’ll be little dashing anywhere between the through platforms via the concourse far below at street level simply because of the height difference between the two.

    I’ve personally known of two business folk with fatal heart attacks at London Bridge when they were rushing to change trains before the reconstruction. I trust that defibrillators are installed these days.

  302. timbeau says:

    @Graham F
    Sorry, my mental map of London Bridge hasn’t caught up with reality. I’d forgotten that the bridge I last used just six weeks ago has now gone!

  303. Greg Tingey says:

    GF
    Yes, they are – I noted one a week back

  304. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Graham Feakins,

    There were defibrillators at the old London Bridge station. I haven’t seen any in the new one but I cannot believe that they wouldn’t be there. A big advantage now is the control room which has masses of monitors being observed as well as good communications so if someone has a heart attack I would imagine there would be people taking the appropriate action pretty quickly.

    At least now there are lifts and escalators. The latter are generally run in the up direction if there is only one.

  305. ngh says:

    There is also usually a London Ambulance Service cycle paramedic stationed at London Bridge equipped with a defibrillator and other useful items.

  306. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    A hospital next door also helps, even if it hasn’t got an emergency department….

  307. KitGreen says:

    A hospital next door could up the average of medical emergencies at the station as more ill people will travel to it.

  308. ngh says:

    Re Kit,

    Indeed but from experience at certain times of day you can have more than enough medical personnel travelling in each carriage to help with medical emergencies that develop!

  309. timbeau says:

    @ngh

    “A hospital next door also helps”

    Not if the incident in question stops the staff getting to work.

    (The radiologist who attended to me at hospital a few years ago said that she recognised me from earlier in the day, when she had seen the ambulance crew with me on the platform of the station next door, on her way to work. And she had been late for work because her train had been delayed by the previous train, which had been the one on (or rather under) which the accident occurred).

  310. Old Buccaneer says:

    My belated first impressions of the concourse today: lots of blue jackets ready to help (including one escorting a man with a guide dog. A pervasive smell of drains which I hope us temporary (as a long-time user of the Unmentionable Line)

  311. Sad Fat Dad says:

    OB – there has been a longstanding problem with the public sewer in Duke St Hill / Tooley St.

  312. NickBxn says:

    I also had my first go there last week. It seemed very good – handling the evening peak very well, and neatly organised at the time with all via Lewisham on Plat 7 and the fasts and those bypassing Lewisham from 8. (That was fine for my trip, but I suppose people going to the likes of Grove Park or Catford Bridge would get platform-swap-angst if just about to miss a train). It’s true that the platforms are quite narrow alongside the escalator wells, but there is plenty of space beyond them, and by the lifts between them, so it didn’t feel too constricted. The degree to which the platforms have been straightened also helps with general overview – and is an impressive feat, given the banana shape of the overall site. The only fly in the ointment was the appearance of a short-formation 5 car service that was already quite full… Signage was fine – perhaps I’m easy to please. I didn’t have nostalgic yearnings for the return of the overbridge, but for some reason, that place is still where I find it easiest to conjure up the ghosts of slam-doors past.

    The tube connection will obviously be a lot better when the shopping arcade is sorted out. It may be a longer distance between tube exit barrier and mainline entry barrier than before, but in the present peak hour mode, the overall distance from train to train is much the same.

  313. Old Buccaneer says:

    Sad Fat Dad: Thanks for that. I hope the sewer is on someone’s “to do” list; I seem to recall there is to be a Tooley St/Duke St Hill closure at some point fairly soon which might provide an opportunity to deal with it.

  314. Old Buccaneer says:

    Oh dear. The closure is happening now – eastbound only – so my hopes may be dashed. More here:

    https://tfl.gov.uk/status-updates/major-works-and-events/london-bridge-tooley-street-works#on-this-page-8

  315. Greg Tingey says:

    Given that there is still a persistent “whiff”, unchanged over the past 50 years, in St Thomas Road, on the S side of the station, I don’t think we should hold out much hope of future nasal purity in that area!

  316. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @NickBxn: While some may moan about it, that distance between the tube and the platforms will also provide for a nice dry waiting area when the system next goes into melt-down… 😉

  317. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights,

    Surely when either system goes into melt down as there are always queues out on to Tooley Street (inevitably in the rain) when the tube shuts down early in the AM peak especially the Jubilee line.

    Re OB,

    Road closure because the station site hoardings are in the middle of the former westbound lane…

    As seen in this photo:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cu92yriXgAAzqPS.jpg:large

    Also note the virtual completion of demolition and the concrete going in on the beams of the track 3&4 viaduct.

  318. Stuart says:

    Indeed many here have commented that the platforms are quite narrow alongside the escalators. I guess this is a side effect of how deep the lower concourse is and therefore how long the escalators need to be. If there was less depth and shorter escalators, there could be more platform space. But less air and light below … It is all about compromise, but I think when finished the scale of improvement will become very clear

  319. Malcolm says:

    Hard to see what effect the length of escalators has on the amount of mid-platform space needed. If the designers have chosen not to build platform space above the lower end of the escalators, perhaps on light-well, structural or aesthetic grounds, then the amount of narrow platform should be blamed on that decision, not on the depth of the lower concourse.

  320. Ian J says:

    @Malcolm: if the platforms are wider in the middle than at the ends (to fit in the sinuous station site plan) then escalators that surface nearer the ends will have less space alongside them. But then having the escalators come up nearer the ends also helps spread passengers along the platform.

    I think the initial version of the station design had a mezzanine level between the ground and the through platforms, so the escalators would have been shorter. There is a whole lot of information here about the various radically different options for London Bridge that were being considered as late as 2009.

  321. ngh says:

    Re Ian J,

    But the idea is not to have them spread along the whole length of the platforms but just along side the middle and country ends of the trains which tend to be slightly less crowded.

    The Vienna Hbf solution when they did rebuild 3-4 years ahead of London bridge was to have 2 escalator banks and 2 stair banks per island with the bottom of the stairs tucked underneath the top of the escalator banks but then they were more width constrained… the platform width along side the escalators /stairs is only slightly wider but there are no light wells in the platforms either so there is more waiting space out of the way.

    With London Bridge there should be noticeable improvements both when P6 opens and when Cannon Street services start stopping again.

  322. RayK says:

    Re ngh,
    This is an ‘iffy’ comment.
    ‘But the idea is not to have them spread along the whole length of the platforms but just alongside the middle and country ends of the trains ‘
    ‘If’ the planning drawings are still valid, this would ‘appear’ to not be what is achieved. Measuring the length from end of each platform to top of nearest escalator I get the following proportions. (Approximately, and dividing Country end length by City End length.)
    P1 Country end is 1.3 times City end length.
    P2&3 Country end is 3.2 times City end length.
    P4&5 Country end is 2.5 times City end length.
    P6&7 Country end is twice City end length.
    P8&9 Country end is same as City end length.
    These are approximate, and near enough to show where there is far more platform at the country end than at the city end. This obviously does not make any allowance for trains being shorter than platforms, which would make a great difference. I have no idea what the actual platform lengths are.

  323. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    They didn’t want a repeat of the old situation where the through platform entry /exit to/from the station was from the just the city end which is where the Charing Cross and Cannon Street users wanted to be on the trains to get a more even spread of passengers along the train. Being in coach (7 rear doors) 8 &9 of a London bound train now leaves you at the top of the country end stairs/escalators. The old through platforms were actually about 14 cars long as there was about car length at the city end with railings on to deal with the pedestrian flow issues near the ramps. The new platforms are actually shorter but straighter thanks partially to this change.

    Station progress:
    Track 3+4 viaduct deck concrete being cast (1st stage).
    Piling for track 1+2 viaduct has started.

  324. NickBxn says:

    The link to the alternative designs is fascinating, and it’s reassuring to see the sheer number and detail of options being considered. The light wells are much longer than need be just for just providing head room over the escalators, so it is clear that great importance has been placed on the architectural effect of daylight, views up and down on creating a good ambience down in the concourse. The mezzanine scheme would have felt quite claustrophobic on the lowest level, and enclosure of the light wells would make the current concourse into a non-daylit cavern too isolated from the activity above.

    I think that a good balance has been struck, but if the narrow parts of the platforms do prove to be problematic, then there is space available to bridge over the light wells in the future. This would be a shame, but it could be done cleverly, still leaving gaps here and there, and incorporating translucent materials.

  325. John B says:

    I’d rather both escalator banks faced the same way, so you could arrive a carriage 3 quickly from the tube, or 7 with a longer low level walk. I know the annoying diversion is temporary (anyone know for how long), but even without it it seems an awful long way to get to the train. I want carriage 7, but would like the option of leaping on carriage 1 if time is short, saving 2 minutes walking up the platform. It makes me want to join from the Jubilee at Waterloo East now.

  326. John U.K. says:

    @ NickBxn – 23 October 2016 at 14:05
    I think that a good balance has been struck, but if the narrow parts of the platforms do prove to be problematic, then there is space available to bridge over the light wells in the future. This would be a shame, but it could be done cleverly, still leaving gaps here and there, and incorporating translucent materials.

    Presumably glass, as in the footbridge of Tower Bridge?

  327. quinlet says:

    I don’t use the upper concourse at London Bridge but I was there today and quite surprised that the South Eastern trains are quite invisible. The departures board makes no reference to them at all and although there are signs pointing to platforms 7-9 (shortly to be 1-9) you have to know that your train will be going from one of those platforms in advance. Fine for a commuter but impossible for an occasional traveller. Previously the Southern departures board always showed a summary of the southeastern departures but no longer.

  328. ngh says:

    Re Quinlet,

    The upper concourse departure boards haven’t shown SE services since at least early 2014 (possibly earlier) for a number of reasons not least with the reduced number of boards since late 2014 has meant that a Southern service in the terminating platforms would only be visible for 3 minutes on the boards (assuming not late running or cancellations taking up board space) in rush hour which would lead to massive crowd control issues.

    The next service to boards by the now demolished temporary ticket office provide the SE information at the upper level.

    60+pages into Ian J’s link on design options the requirement to avoid crowding issues on the upper concourse due to it limited size and awkward shape are discussed in detail hence the need to focus passenger flow performance around the terminating platforms.

  329. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    The trains on platforms 8 & 9 actually stop further forwards so giving passengers in coaches 1-3 a longer walk than if you’re in the back of the train and the train is 10 coaches or less. For a 12 coach train it makes no difference, but then they are few…

  330. Brockley Mike says:

    Having worked on the design of the station back when the mezzanine option was the firm proposal, along with the air rights office building over, a few quick points:

    I believe the original reason for the longer-than-needed escalator slots was to allow columns to pass through to high level to support the air rights office building and I assume they were subsequently retained for the benefit of providing natural light to the lower concourse.

    The mezzanine was there to speed up passenger interchange between platforms and would have provided travel distances comparable to the original overbridge, compared with the as-built position whereby people have to travel far greater distances via the lower concourse. The columns supporting the air rights building would also have supported the mezzanine and reduced the span of the platform-level structure above the concourse, meaning shallower beams and so on and better headroom than one might imagine if inserting a mezzanine into the current overall height.

    The positioning of the platforms and the escalator access locations was, of course, a compromise aimed at achieving the straightest possible platforms and the fastest throughput of passengers. Certainly keeping the previous access point at the west end of the platforms was completely unviable given the anticipated growth in passenger numbers – and it could hardly be said to work even back in the 90’s.

    I agree that the trains do now feel a lot further away from London Bridge / Borough High Street, but in reality it is a lot easier and less congested (and therefore quicker) to reach the country end of trains, so probably overall no real change in practice.

  331. NickBxn says:

    @ John U.K – I suspect sheet glass flooring would have its drawbacks; I was thinking fancifully along the lines of Light Transmitting Concrete, or good old pavement lights – the round ones can look quite ‘designy’.

  332. Ian J says:

    @Brockley Mike: Thanks, that’s interesting. Am I right in believing that the mezzanine was abandoned because it would have taken too long to build?

  333. Brockley Mike says:

    @IanJ
    My involvement ceased* before the mezzanine was omitted so I am not 100% sure of the reason. The time might well have been a factor but I suspect cost was key. Also overall pedestrian flows may have not worked so well, possibly because of the bias towards interchange between platforms. Interchange at the time was a key driver – of course in the meantime the area local to the station has become quite a sizeable commuter destination in its own right, meaning more people to be catered for at street level.

    *I worked on the scheme around the year 2000! I remember being a ‘host’ at a scheme exhibition on the old forecourt and telling people it would not all be complete until 2007!

  334. Andrew M says:

    Are there any plans for an eastern entrance to the station? Looking at the map, the platforms appear to extend back as far as the Bermondsey Street tunnel. An exit near the Shipwright’s Arms would afford quicker access to City Hall and all the new offices around there, not to mention further reducing overcrowding at the western end of the station.

  335. ngh says:

    Re Andrew M,

    The emergency exits from some platforms exit on to the Bermondsey Street “tunnel” hence the railings on the edge of the pavement in front of the doors.

    There will be a massive northern entrance next to the Shipwrights Arms on Tooley Street.

  336. ngh says:

    Quick update:
    The final beams for the final track viaduct (for platforms 1&2) were installed at the weekend and most of the prefabricated concrete platform sections are in-place across the rest of the work site with the above platform steelwork and roof structure going up at a good rate too.

  337. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    There is an exhibition of London Bridge throughout its 180 year history in the non-paying area of the new concourse. It’s a little underwhelming, but worth a quick 5 minutes if you are passing…

    When I go through the station in the evenings, I notice that quite a lot of bits of cladding around the escalators is missing or patched up with tape. I guess we’ll see work done on that over Christmas as the station will be closed for a number of days…

  338. Greg Tingey says:

    SHLR
    but worth a quick 5 minutes if you are passing…
    Like … on the way to the “Royal Oak, tomorrow?

  339. Graham H says:

    I very rarely use LBR but had occasion last week to exit from the Jubilee Line to meet some people at the information point in the main line station. Presumably, the (badly) signed route that takes you of the LU station, into the street, past various hotels and a sexual diseases clinic before encountering a not-very-prominent entrance, is only temporary?

  340. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Yes, the Vaults will be re-opened in due course and indeed they are open during the rush hour as is a route from near the Cottons Centre escalators…

    However the route from the tube station is a bit Hogwarts-esque as it keeps changing by all accounts….

  341. ngh says:

    Re Graham H,

    Doing civil engineering works above passengers is verboten these days hence the diversions at quieter times to enable the works.

  342. John B says:

    And are they doing those works in the late evening when you still have to go round the houses?

  343. ngh says:

    look at the arrival times of the concrete mixers outside…
    (much easier when there is less traffic)

  344. Graham H,

    At least you appear to have taken the correct route. If you see the long queue at the Immigration Centre you are heading in the wrong direction. Funny that never appeared on the CGI pictures of how it will eventually look in St Thomas St.

  345. Malcolm says:

    Hmm. It seems as if Graham had a devil/deepBlueSea decision if he had to choose between walking past a stigmatised sexual disease clinic, and an even more stigmatised Immigration centre. I’m not sure which is the more unmentionable these days.

  346. Graham H says:

    Malcolm – I didn’t realise I had that choice – how, err, exciting.

  347. Old Buccaneer says:

    @ Malcolm: STDs trump immigration.

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