The project to rebuild London Bridge station and the surrounding tracks is almost complete. This week sees the final major track closure and if all goes well the station will reopen on 2 January, with trains stopping at all platforms for the first time in almost three years. This means that Cannon Street trains will once again call at London Bridge, and it will be possible to change between Charing Cross and Cannon Street trains at London Bridge.
In the meantime, there is a complete closure of the Charing Cross and Cannon Street routes, with trains diverted to alternative stations. From Tonbridge there are services to both Victoria and Waterloo Main, while from Hildenborough trains only run to Victoria and from Paddock Wood there are only trains to Waterloo. The service is vastly reduced compared to normal working days, but there seemed to be plenty of room on Wednesday 27th December. Late night revellers on New Year’s Eve should head to Victoria, where all services after midnight depart.
There are some timetable changes from 2 January, especially “shoulder” peak services from London to Hildenborough. These will now leave from Charing Cross rather than Cannon Street, but passengers from Cannon Street will be able to change at London Bridge. All services from Cannon Street leave one minute earlier than before. This is supposedly to accommodate the “extra stop” at London Bridge, but in fact timings between Cannon Street and London Bridge were never speeded up when the stop was temporarily removed, so services will simply be a minute slower than they were before the whole project started. It doesn’t really feel like progress.
On the positive side, the new concourse should be fully opened and walking routes to the Tube should be easier than they have been. Passengers will be relieved to no longer have to make their way through a building site. We’ve been promised that there will be many more shops on the new concourse, which has felt a little cold and empty to date.
We wait with bated breath to see whether everything opens smoothly on 2nd January. To be honest, we would expect (and could forgive) a few teething problems in the first few days, but the proof of the pudding will be in how things run after a couple of weeks. Please do let us know what you think of the new station and give us your feedback how services are running. We’re always ready to challenge the rail industry when things need to improve.