Delays on the rail lines have been warned for all stations over the Christmas period, however it has recently been announced that passengers should this delays to continue for several years at the London Bridge station as the £6.5bn project to rebuild the station reaches its critical stage.
Between December 20th to January 4th no services will stop at London Bridge, whilst the majority of Thameslink trains will return to normal in January, London Bridge will be extremely limited in its service for the next 3 years. This includes South-eastern services from Kent and those bound for Charing Cross will not stop at London Bridge while the new platforms are built.
David Statham, managing director of South-eastern, refused to admit that the closure would cause longer journeys for its 93,000 daily passengers using London Bridge in the peak, despite the fact that using alternative routes such as Cannon Street or the over ground will definitely prolong journeys. Whilst promises have been made from rail bosses that this extra trip will not cost them more, no compensation will be offered to account for the extended travel time.
South-eastern will provide longer suburban trains, providing an additional 3,000 seats at peak times; in attempts to ease congestion and make commute easier during London Bridge’s closure. Janet Cooke, chief executive of London Travel Watch has said “passengers should not be disadvantaged while these works are taking place and we have worked with operators to try to minimise the number of people affected and ensure alternative routes are available at no additional charge.”
The minor delays that may be caused to travellers during this period are considered to be a worthwhile compromise in order to achieve these improvements as it will allow London Bridge to become a key station for the region offering an additional 1,400 trains once completed. Mr Blanchflower, who has worked on projects such as T5 and Crossrail projects, said “it is a total station rebuild and the most complex project I’ve worked on in 15 years. London Bridge is incredible overcrowded and we need to make it fit for passenger use for the next 40 to 50 years.”
Whilst the works at London Bridge will last significantly longer than the majority of rail works occurring this Christmas, all are being done to ensure the safety and convenience of rail passengers and prepare our infrastructure for the ever-increasing population of London City.
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