No trains to London Bridge for two years?

UPDATE: My headline is excessive… There will be trains, but fewer. Please read the comments to get a better picture of the situation. Please remember at all times that I know very little about anything, and I rely on readers for most of my info!

It looks as though Blackheath trains to Charing Cross might not be stopping at London Bridge in 2015-2016.

Andrew writes:

Just writing to bring to your attention what I found on the Network Rail website:
It looks like they have planned a severe deterioration in the train service planned in 2015/6 during the rebuilding of London Bridge railway station and if we want to fight this we need to do something now. Basically for two years our trains won’t stop at London Bridge which will make it a nightmare for me to get to work and represent a big deterioration in an already very poor train service.

More on Brockley Central last week:

When the work is completed, the services will come back on line, but we’re still looking at as much as three years of disruption, when London Bridge effectively becomes a terminus, forcing everyone travelling to the West End in to a tube station that is already a severe pinch point to complete their journey or persuading even more people to use the East London Line, which is already nearing maximum capacity.

Based on a spot from from SouthEastCentral.


Filed under blackheath, transport

31 responses to “No trains to London Bridge for two years?

  1. Sam TR

    It seems if we want progress, we will have to suffer the inconvenience. London is a terrible station, I cannot imagine how those improvements can take place without disruption. Maybe they will charge less for fares for the 2 years? Uh hum.

  2. Ed

    Already in the morning rush hour sometimes I’m not allowed onto the tube at LB due to over crowding .

  3. Andrew

    This headline is not correct. Charing X trains will not stop at LBG 2015/6 and Cannon St will not stop during 2016/7. There will not be an overlap as trains have to terminate somewhere either CHX or CST. One year pain for many year’s future gain! I was sorry to see the old LBG trainshed was going to be demolished after 146yrs in use but it is going to be dismantled and stored until a new location is found. LBG is one of the oldest Ry stations in the world. It needs a rebuild and the new design looks worth the disruption.

  4. Alan Burkitt-Gray

    Not sure what Andrew means by “if we want to fight this we need to do something now”. The London Bridge project is under way. Do you want to stop it and leave it quarter-built? The whole station, including the existing platforms, are to be demolished and rebuilt. The choices are to demolish everything in one go and bus people in from New Cross or to phase it, but that still means some services will be disrupted until the new station and the new flyover (between London Bridge and New Cross) are built.

  5. Rob McIvor

    I know it may not suit everyone, but it’s actually a very easy cycle ride from Blackheath to London Bridge. If you go via Deptford Bridge and Bermondsey, there is a bus lane, usable by bikes, almost all the way and in the peak hours there are probably as many bikes as there are cars. Coming home there is, of course, the need to get up to the Heath – and most people will want to avoid Blackheath Hill – but you can go via Greenwich and through the park (at least if there’s any park left after LOCOG have trashed it) or, if you live on the southern edge of the village, via Lewisham and Lee Road or Belmont Hill.

  6. jonbaldwin

    There was a time when being British meant ‘grinning and bearing it’ while looking forward to a better tomorrow. Now it seems to mean NIMBYish ‘fighting’ of progress without making anything more than a token effort to discover the facts, on the basis that a proposal may cause minor inconveninence for an individual’s journey.

    For the record:
    – the redevelopment of London Bridge really does need to happen, and is long overdue;
    – there will still be trains from Blackheath to London Bridge throughout construction (although some trains will be non-stop);
    – trains are due to be extended to 12 coaches to make up for the reduced frequency to London Bridge;
    – Blackheath has it better than the Greenwich line, which will be permanently and physically disconnected from Waterloo East and Charing Cross.

    • Franklin

      Huh? The Greenwich line “will be permanently and physically disconnected from Waterloo East and Charing Cross”?? I’ve not heard that before! I find it hard to believe given the very heavy passenger load on that line. Can you please provide a link to details? Thanks.

    • Franklin

      Never mind, sorry, should have googled before replying. Now I have to tell the wife that her journey into WAE is going to become that much more difficult from 2018…

    • Phil

      Where is the info on the Greenwich line being cut off? I can’t find anything online part from stuff saying service will increase.

      • Jon

        It’s been a consequence of the Thameslink Programme for a long time.

        The basic problem is that the Thameslink tracks (i.e. those running from London Bridge on to London Blackfriars and beyond) will run in between the Charing Cross and the Cannon Street tracks.

        The Greenwich line joins the approach to London Bridge on the Cannon Street side. To get over to the Charing Cross tracks, it would have to cross the Thameslink tracks. As the junction is flat, with no flyovers etc, every train in or out of platforms 1-9 would need to be held up to allow the Greenwich train to cross.

        These sorts of movements already cause hold-ups outside London Bridge in the peaks, and it just would not be possible to increase capacity with trains still permitted to do this.

        For a source see, for example, paragraph 9.7.3 of the South London Route Utilisation Strategy here:

      • Phil

        Jon and Franklin, thank you. That clears things up. So Charing cross from Greenwich will be a no go but there’s a confusing orange line on the illustration of planned changes map ( that suggests that looks like there might be some lines from Greenwich going to Blackfriars and possibly beyond to Farringdon? Is that right? As it is now I think I’m right in saying that there are very frequent services from Greenwich to London Bridge as there are two lines that serve it, one to Cannon Street and one to Charing Cross. If the Charring Cross line is closed off, will that mean that the service through Greenwich to London Bridge will be halved?

      • Jon

        Phil, actually only a few peak trains go from the Greenwich line to Charing Cross. Its normal daytime service is 6 trains per hour (tph) to Cannon Street only. Its current service does not really depend on Charing Cross, which is served only to allow for more people to make their commutes without changing.

        I suspect that following the works Greenwich will end up with 6-8tph to Cannon Street only.

      • Franklin

        Phil, on your question about a Greenwich-Blackfriars-Farringdon-all points north train, I’m afraid the answer appears to be that there will not be any direct trains. The Thameslink trains all run via New Cross, southbound of which they then split into the Blackheath and Lee branches before terminating at Dartford. But you’ll be able to pick up a Thameslink train at LBG for north-through-London trips.

  7. Barney

    Will trains still stop at Waterloo east during this work?

  8. If train services into London Bridge are to be severely disrupted in 2015-16 I’m wondering how people from Blackheath and elsewhere on the line who have to go to Guys for hospital appointments are going to make the journey.

    Car and bus travel through the south London traffic takes an age and taxis take an age, too, AND cost a fortune.

    Will Guys patients have to travel on to Waterloo and then travel back by bus or whatever to the hospital?

    They could get to London Bridge using a combination of DLR and Jubilee tube line. But that involves going to Lewisham to get on the DLR system in the first place and afterwards switching to the Jubilee. At rush hour that’s a physically demanding journey on the fit let alone the elderly and infirm.

    • Jon

      Hi Michelle

      It’s not as bad as that. Blackheath has a mix of Cannon Street and Charing Cross trains.

      In 2015/16, the Charing Cross ones will not stop at London Bridge. During those years, to get to London Bridge you just need to choose a Cannon Street train.

      In 2016/17, the Cannon Street ones will not stop at London Bridge. During those years, to get to London Bridge you just need to choose a Charing Cross train.

      So there won’t be a need to do complex changes, there may just be a slightly longer wait on the platform at Blackheath.

      • Cool. I see now that the situation with getting to Guys as you explained it, Jon, will be much less of a problem in this period than I’d feared. Thanks.

      • David and Nick

        And presumably the trains that do stop at London Bridge will be much busier as a result of this?

        WIll the cost of an annual travelcard from Blackheath to London Bridge be reduced or at least frozen to compensate? (rhetorical)

        What about people who work at London Bridge / Bank coming in from Slade Green / Dartford / Barnehurst and everywhere else in between – if they have to get in to work for 9am they’ll presumably have to get a much earlier train or risk not being able to squeeze onto a train? (the extra carriages that have been promised will barely contain the existing passengers)

        Jon – your information on this thread has been incredibly helpful – thank you. Do you work for the train companies?

        Obviously no way to change what is already going to happen at London Bridge, and it will be positive in the long run, but would it be feasible to get some guarantees regarding the extra trains and carriages that have been promised?

  9. Jon

    I don’t work for train companies, I’m just interested in following big building projects!

    I know that Network Rail has been recently going through the Southeastern metro network checking that 12-car trains can be supported (see I think trains will certainly end up busier over the construction period though, no doubt. People are likely to make alternative arrangements too, like walking from Cannon Street back over the bridge to the South Bank.

    Sadly if the likes of Southeastern were better at communicating then people might feel a little more reassured (or at least more informed) when these major infrastructure projects are planned. I would hope that they have already planned a timetable and the allocation of carriages in the peak. They should just publish these drafts ASAP so we can discuss the actual plans. I suspect, though, that they are currently being ‘consulted’ on with ‘key stakeholders’!

  10. Michelle O'Brien

    Guy’s Hospital at London Bridge has just allocated a Blackheath neighbour of mine an outpatients appointment for 9.30am on Friday Aug. 10, ie during the final week of the Olympics.

    London Bridge is the station facing the greatest crush from Olympics crowds heading for the Games, and Blackheath, designated an official Olympics travel hub, in its smaller way is also expected to be massively crowded.

    My neighbour is 86 and although mobile is arthritic and walks with a stick. She has all her mental faculties but like many elderly people gets upset and disorientated in large crowds.

    Does the NHS seriously expect this elderly lady on Aug. 10 to fight her way through hordes of Olympics fans at either end of the Blackheath-London Bridge journey and afterwards battle her way back home again?

    I appreciate the Aug. 10 appointment is simply a small example of mindless bureaucracy at work and just means she must arrange a new appointment for after the Olympics. But it backs up a growing stack of reports in recent years about persistent neglect of the concerns of the elderly.

    Has anyone else been given an appointment at Guy’s during the Olympics?

    • Silky Beastie

      I’m quite sure that Guy’s hospital simply allocated the earliest available appointment to your neighbour. A good thing surely for an elderly person in need of medical care? The fact that it so happens to be during the Olympics and your neighbour will have to suffer the travel chaos so many of us will have to endure every day can’t, I think, be branded as “mindless bureaucracy”. The NHS is stretched enough as it is without having to consider every individual patient’s travel plans.

      Perhaps you might be able to help your neighbour get to and from the hospital? Or perhaps Greenwich/Lewisham councils have a travel assistance service for elderly patients?

      That’s probably moot anyway as all the NHS staff will be stuck in the brilliant one-way system trialled on Tuesday.

  11. Anonymous

    I have a Kidney appointment at Guys on 7th August, and will need to go up to Guys the week before for a blood test. I also have a blood test (different one) on the 9th August at 10.21am.
    When is all this silly olympics happening anyway? I’m disabled and could not care less about a load of loonies running about.

  12. Michelle O'Brien

    @Anonymous: “… When is all this silly olympics happening anyway?”

    The Olympics start Friday July 27 and end Sunday August 12.

    Travel between Blackheath and Guy’s, and especially getting around inside London Bridge station itself, during that period looks like being pretty horrific for able-bodied people let alone the infirm.

    If you have mobility problems or you think your overall health is not going to be up to the stress I suggest you call the hospital department(s) you’re involved with and reschedule your appointments to after the Olympics end.

    • Michelle O'Brien

      Also remember to take water with you. Don’t drink it all on the train. Save some in case you need it during the time you’re in the care of the NHS.

  13. Michael Pain

    Greenwich line trains will still be able to get to/from Charing Cross as the old ramp which went to Bricklayers Arms is being recommissioned with a new line back up to London Bridge station. When all is done the SE services will back as they were (more or less).

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