Three years of disruption for passengers through London Bridge stations is nearing the end. From the 2nd January, Cannon Street trains will again be able to stop at London Bridge after 18 months of passing straight through as Network Rail completes the bulk of platform and track work.
— Thameslink Programme (@TLProgramme) December 28, 2017
This will hopefully lessen the strain on Lewisham station as people can now jump on the first train at their local station and change at London Bridge.
One of the biggest changes is a large new concourse below all tracks including a large entrance/exit onto Tooley Street.
New escalators and stairs, all will be ready to open on Tuesday when Cannon Street trains resume calling at London Bridge pic.twitter.com/yxQBGmMElw
— Thameslink Programme (@TLProgramme) December 29, 2017
Unfortunately the current curtailed timetable remains in force for another five months. Stations such as Greenwich and Deptford will continue with a 40% cut in capacity compared to pre-rebuild levels, with near 30 minute gaps in the evening peak.
One stark juxtaposition will be clapped out and decrepit Southeastern Networker trains passing through the shiny new station. A post last week looked at the state of many trains as chronic problems increase.
But in May a far better timetable should be introduced with services going back to pre-2015 levels. Greenwich will go from as little as two trains per hour in the evening peak to six again, with two of those six being Thameslink services.
Note, there isn’t though much in the way of improvements above pre-2015 levels as London Bridge work mainly benefits Thameslink trains to other parts of London. The Thameslink service through Greenwich doesn’t bring a net increase as six Southeastern trains per hour drops to four.
One of the biggest benefits for most South East London passengers will be more through-platforms and separate tracks for Thameslink tracks which should help lessen the stacking of trains often seen on the approach to London Bridge.
Bizarrely, after May 2018’s improvements it appears things could go into reverse for Southeastern passengers in 2022 under the Department for Transport’s plans for the next Southeastern franchise, with stations near large areas of housing growth such as Woolwich Dockyard (which will be near many new homes planned in the Charlton Riverside Masterplan) and Erith and Belvedere (near thousands of planned homes in Bexley’s Growth Strategy) potentially seeing service cuts.
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