Five years of disruption ahead for rail commuters

COMMUTERS face five years of disruption after phase two of the ambitious Thameslink programme was launched this week.

Described as the ‘biggest station redevelopment in a generation’ the £6 billion Government-funded scheme includes redevelopment of London Bridge station, upgrades on outdated track, and a fleet of new state-of-the-art trains.

Network Rail says it will carry out the ‘essential works’ in ‘distinct’ phases, each having a different impact on train services, claiming this will result in shorter periods of disruption rather than all passengers being impacted for the full duration of the project.

Network Rail’s director of network operations, Robin Gisby, said this is one of the most ambitious and technically demanding projects ever undertaken.

He added: “It is only possible because of the partnership that we have built with the train operators, Transport for London and our suppliers. Ultimately its success will be defined by the passengers who use the station.

“The benefits will be massive, but we need their help and support to make it happen.”

The timetable for the works begins on December 9, when many Southern services to and from London Bridge will be changed and Southern’s South London Line services between Victoria and London Bridge via Denmark Hill withdrawn.

In May 2013, three platforms at London Bridge will be removed and many trains will re-timed. Further down the line, between December 2014-2018, Thameslink services to and from central London will be diverted away from London Bridge; 2015-2016 services to Charing Cross will not call at London Bridge; 2016-2017 Canon Street services will not call at London Bridge.

In a joint statement, train operators First Capital Connect, Southeastern and Southern said the project will mean more trains and better journeys for passengers, adding: “A critical part of the plan is providing passengers with good information. We thank passengers for their understanding and patience.”

For further information visit the website at:

- See page 25 to read about campaigners lobby for an end to timetable restrictions.