Maybe there is some light at the end of the (railway) tunnel for Croydon commuters who have to endure daily disruption to their journeys into London.
Because as well as the calamitous mishandling of staff and services by Govia Thameslink, who operate Southern and Thameslink trains, rail passengers into London Bridge Station have also had to put up with the impact of a the £1 billion engineering project to reconfigure the lines and rebuild the stations, which has been going on for more than three years, and is not due to be completed until 2018.
The project has been described as trying to perform “open heart surgery while jogging”.
But since August, when two-thirds of the station’s new concourse was opened for passengers, the work has entered its final phase.
Timelapse footage captured by Network Rail shows the progress made in the past month, as platforms 1, 2 and 3 were taken out of use to be demolished and rebuilt above the final section of street-level concourse, which is due to open in January 2018.
Network Rail, in a press release today, explain: “The video shows Network Rail’s engineers working round-the-clock to demolish platforms 1 to 3 and deliver major work to the tracks through the station as part of the Thameslink Programme. The Orange Army can be seen laying new track for trains to and from Cannon Street and trains resuming on their new lines after the three-day blockade.
“Platforms 1, 2 and 3 are reduced to rubble and the brick supports on top of the original Victorian arches are revealed, as the platform buildings and the last of the 1970s footbridge are demolished down to street level, making way for the final third of the new concourse to be built.”
The redevelopment of London Bridge station is a part of the Thameslink Programme, which is intended to improve north-south journeys and provide better, more frequent and more reliable train services. In the meantime, passengers from East Croydon on Thameslink will continue to board the slow train for the next 15 months, as it skirts the usual route through Crystal Palace, Herne Hill and the Elephant and Castle.
“In August we reached a huge milestone for the Thameslink Programme with the opening of the first part of the new concourse at London Bridge,” Simon Blanchflower, Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme director, said. “The progress we’ve made since then has been nothing short of incredible.”
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