London Bridge to Charing X and Cannon Street links scrapped during Thameslink works

We're grateful to Michael on South East Central, who points out that Network Rail are planning to prevent trains to and from Charing Cross, Waterloo East and Cannon Street from stopping at London Bridge during the final years of the Thameslink construction programme.

The Network Rail timetable from here on in looks like this:

  • Summer 2012 - New station concourse (part of The Shard development) and new bus station complete.
  • Summer 2013 - Complete redevelopment of London Bridge station begins 
  • Spring 2014 - First new platform opens 
  • 2015/6 Charing Cross services will not stop at London Bridge 
  • 2016/7 Cannon Street services will not stop at London Bridge
  • Summer 2018 - Station complete, full Thameslink services running
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.

The mitigation measures have not yet been agreed, but one priority should be to increase the capacity of the ELL as soon as possible - something that's already been identified as a "must do" as a result of the still-growing demand along the route.

57 comments:

TM said...

Sounds like a nightmare!

Anonymous said...

All trains or just specific routes?

Brockley Nick said...

ALL trains

CapnPatch said...

They must be planning to have a shuttle service between London Bridge and the others.

Anonymous said...

First World Problems

Tamsin said...

Charming! They managed to rebuild London Bridge in the 1980s and keep trains running through - although with mega-disruption. I suppose this time they have the excuse that there are alternatives in the DLR and ELL.

Anonymous said...

And the tube, and getting trains from Ladywell to Cannon Street...

...oh and buses, taxis, driving there, walking there, boris bikes....

What a nightmare, eh Mungo?

Anonymous said...

This really frightens me. Its such a main interchange!!! its going to be bad during the Olympics too. Time to really consider a bike!

Anonymous said...

As I see it, they are keeping the trains running through London Bridge. They're just not stopping there.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anonyfail Yes, this is a first world problem. And?

@Anon0957 - yes, that's right, but since all Brockley services terminate at London Bridge, once you disembark, you will not be able to get on a train to Charing X or Waterloo. So those through-trains are no good to you.

NXG_Resident said...

@ Nick

Any idea whether First Capital Connect trains will still be running through to Farringdon and beyond during this period?

Anonymous said...

So you could just use the Ladywell to Waterloo East or Charing Cross service instead?

This really is a "First world problem".

Anonymous said...

excellent news, when I'm on a 'fast to Ladywell' train from charing cross it's always irritating when it stops at London Bridge

Tamsin said...

Perhaps before this is implemented they could restore the through trains to Charing Cross as the service used to be way back when - one in three during the weekdays as well as in the evenings and weekends - and keep those running through without stopping at London Bridge - the way with so many rush-hour services from the outer suburbs that come through Lewisham and New Cross do anyway. With re-timetabling twice a year there should be time enough to do it and with all the franchisees in the same Govia group (if I have that right) there is an authority which can implement a directive from the tfl if, and this is the bit "if", there is the political clout to deliver it. But Mayor election time - shout about it.

Monkeyboy could perhaps confirm whether the the points and track are still in place to take the trains over from the NXG lines to platform six at London Bridge.

Sorry - boring hobby horse but it would be a sensible option - if physically and legally possible - to ameliorate some of the impact. Those who want to get to the West End and who now change to a Charing Cross train at London Bridge would have to adjust their journey times to one of the fast trains. Other passengers could - in the nicest possible sense - be terminated at London Bridge, either to go onto the underground as at present or walk over the bridge (very T.S. Eliot) to Canon Street and the City.

Anonymous said...

Having to go to Charing Cross or Cannon St will complicate the journeys for those of us needing the Bank branch of Northern line, though.

Brockley Nick said...

@FWP

Personally, I rarely get the London Bridge trains - I am reporting the news for others who this will effect and suggesting it has negative implications for the ELL service that many more use.

Tens of thousands of people using all sorts of routes use these services dailt. So that means other options will be overcrowded too, as the article suggests.

So yes, if I had to get to Waterloo or Charing X I suppose I could add another 40 mins a day on to my route by walking to Ladywell - thus denying me more time with my family, etc. And maybe that Ladywell service won't be overcrowded as a result of others making a similar switch.

I suppose I should just be glad I don't have river blindness and my children haven't been sold in to slavery - anything less than that and I mustn't grumble for fear of being labelled a spoiled ninny, by an internet troll who is basically saying "this doesn't effect me, so no one else should moan."

This is an important issue that will disrupt the daily lives of tens of thousands of people and many BC readers. You are either too selfish or too thick to appreciate that, but please let people who are not have a conversation about its implications.

You know, "First World Problems" is an internet meme that is generally used as a gently self-mocking phrase as a follow up to someone expressing frustration over something trivial "I can't find two matching socks - first world problems." You have completely missed the point. On every level.

DJ said...

Delete the tedious pricks, Nick!

Wonder if there will be additional trains from Crofton Park to Blackfriars and beyond during this time to ease the congestion? Or even peak services to Victoria?

mb said...

Haven't a clue about the points etc or what's possible. Squeezing lots of trains into a construction site will never be easy. Trains aint busses. This whole issue is perhaps another reason why the Ken (addopted by Borris!) plan to take control of suburban services would help co-ordinate better. Was always going to disrupt someone I guess.

I'm sure the Thameslink Farringdon service is sorted now. Will even have lifts!

mb said...

Anon @10:23. Perhaps they should just close Brockley station permanently, it's clearly not needed and a waste of taxpayers money.

That would be stupid, as is your point but you know that.

fong said...

If I have understood this correctly then the trains will not go to Charin X, but will continue to Canon Street. Then once that bit of work will finish, they'll stop going to Canon Street and all go to Cahring X. Then once that's done normal service will resume? Rather than all trains terminating at London Bridge.

Still sounds like a nightmare

Tamsin said...

@Anon. 10.17 - Where are you travelling from and to? What most people are having an issue with is that the trains from Brockley and NXG stop at London Bridge (where you can get onto the Bank branch of the Northern Line) and there is not going to be the option of then taking another train through to Charing Cross and Canon Street. If you are where you will be willy-nilly carried through London Bridge on a non-stop train either take a Canon Street one and walk up to Bank - then relatively empty carriages as a lot of people will be getting off there - or move sideways at the start of the journey - or the five minute walk from NX to NXG - to get one of the trains that stops at London Bridge.

Thom said...

This can't be serious?!

The 172 takes so long half the time due to Old Kent Road and traffic always builds up during rush hour creating long queues when you get the junction at the end of New Cross Road - Old Kent Road + Queen's Road. I avoid it after work as there's roadworks currently on Old Kent Road, which you know are going to cause long queues. As well as that, they terminate at New Cross Gate half the time if it's delayed.

The ELL acting as a replacement is a joke as it goes to East London not Central. Sure you can change at Canada Water and get the jubilee but for people who despise cramming into carriages underground like animals in a factory farm - this is an issue.

Also if you get the train to London Bridge during rush hours and do use it as an interchange to the underground in the morning I find you need a lot of patience - particularly when a line goes down.

And how does the DLR even come into it? That would make my journey take about 3/4 times as long.

To people saying Boris Bikes - it would be handy if there was one anywhere near Brockley but I wouldn't be very comfortable cycling in central London, Elephant and Castle or Waterloo.

Crofton Park Ranger said...

Could be wrong but I think...

The problem will be worst when for Southeastern commuters from SE london or kent who work in the city. They will either have to crowd onto the few Cannon St trains (when that is still an option) or go to Waterloo east and take jubilee to LB or Waterloo and City to Bank both of which are already chocka.

Sorry for being smug but I love my Scooter a little more every time disruption is announced (not that Brockers will be too bady affected).

Anonymous said...

Any indications what will happen at weekends, when engineering work takes place?

Quite often Ladywell, Lewisham or Hither Green trains are required to get to London Bridge to hook up with the underground.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope TfL and the railways coordinate their engineering works during this period.

If for any reason the line between London Bridge & Charing Cross is out of action they must ensure Cannon Street undergrond station is open, otherwise it will be a dead end for train passengers.

Anonymous said...

Reading the article it seems that the trains themselves will still run but wont stop at London Bridge - am I misreading this or is everyone else? So the service will still run to Cannon St. Charring Cross and Waterloo East - but you wont be able to get on or off at London Bridge.

Tamsin said...

So people from NXG and Brockley who currently change at London Bridge (where our trains now all terminate) for Cannon Street and Charing Cross wont be able to do so. For those whose ultimate destination would be Cannon Street it is - unless they are elderly, infirm or with heavy baggage - not a huge issue, just a bit of an extra walk from London Bridge. More of a pain for those who want to get to Waterloo (East) or Charing Cross. Hence my suggestion that through trains from this line to Charing Cross be re-introduced for the duration of the works (and, heaven knows, we might be allowed to keep them! Some pigs can fly...).

Pete said...

I think there are no trains from ladywell that terminate in London Bridge. So by the sounds of things if you live in ladywell you won't be able to get to London Bridge, whilst if you live in Brockley you won't be able to get to Charing X or Canon Street. Couldn't we swop a couple of services around? e.g. let Ladywell have a couple of trains an hour that terminate in London Bridge in exchange for Brockley getting a couple of trains that stop at Charing X or Canon St?

Tamsin said...

The difficulty with that is the necessary cross-over from the London Brighton & South Coast lines that go through New Cross Gate and terminate in London Bridge, platforms 9 to 16, and the South Eastern Railway lines that run from Lewisham and New Cross and on through London Bridge, by platforms 1 to 6, to Charing Cross and Cannon Street. Quite a tricky arrangement to make with ordinary services, let alone the rush hour. And it may simply not be physically possible with the present track layout.

Tamsin said...

By the sound of the arrangement - the platforms being closed consecutively, first those for trains to Cannon Street and then those with the trains through to Charing Cross - there will always be trains on the old SER routes that stop at London Bridge, just not so many of them.

fabhat said...

St Johns doesn't have services that terminate at London Bridge either, so that will become an alternative route to Cannon St at least...but

Tomorrow's Badger said...

2016 is years in the future.

By then we'll be living in spheres in the sky, gliding to work on magnetic fields.

It's the rail franchises I feel bad for. They've no idea.

Anonymous said...

The last time I checked London Bridge had an underground railway that went both to Waterloo AND Charing Cross. Does anyone know if it's still operational?

Headhunter said...

God, so no interchange at London Bridge to Charing X from Brockley until after 2018?! It was bad enough when they ended the direct trains through to Charing X... I wonder if they will actually bring these trains back after 6 years... By that time, they'll probably assume that everyone has sorted themselves out and they won't need to reinstate the link.... Brockley edges closer to being a cut off minor station off the main route of the ELL....

Ez said...

Clearly, this will inconvenience a lot of people, but they will cope by going to different stations.

More of an issue, perhaps, is the loss of footfall for the burgeoning retail businesses around Brockley Station.

Headhunter said...

Yes Anon, however the "underground railway" you speak of is already hugely busy at peak times, with everyone who wants to get to the West End who normally changes at London Br to a Charing X train now forced onto the Northern Line, the situation will be ridiculous...

Anonymous said...

In 2018 the 5 car ELL will be minutes from crossrail, a mainline sized service with tubelike frequencies that will scythe through central london. This is in addition to the links on longer trains to LB. HH, you lost this ELL argument sometime ago, I'd bail out while you can

It's still a pain in the arse for a few years though.

Brockley Nick said...

@HH "Brockley edges closer to being a cut off minor station off the main route of the ELL...."

As Anon has already said, you lost the ELL argument a long time ago, but tell me this, if the ELL service is so peripheral, then why have passenger numbers using Brockley Station trebled in the last three years? Clue: it's not because loads more people are piling on to the LB service...

Railer said...

The new platform being built at St Johns suggests that direct service to Charing X is on its way, though.

Headhunter said...

I didn't lose the argument, you lot just gave up and accepted the propaganda fed to you by the rail authorities. Brockley is less well connected for losing the direct link to Waterloo East and Charing X and the ELL, although lovely to have is no replacement.

We were told before the ELL extension opened that this would not be at the expense of central London links, but hey presto, central London links from Brockley are slowly disappearing.

Supposedly, the direct trains link from Brockley to Charing X was elminated due to new high speed (and high cost) train links from Kent through London, however these have not been popular and have already been cut, yet Brockley still does not have its direct link to Charing X...

Tamsin said...

What argument has HH "lost"? No-one is denying that the Overground (as opposed to the original ELL) is a great additional service for Brockley and stations further south. We just resented the flannel fed to us by the rail companies that it was the best thing since sliced bread for everyone, Goldsmiths and other users of NXG included, and want to ensure that the opportunistic cut-back of the evening and weekend direct servics to Charing Cross and Waterloo East is not allowed to drop off the agenda.

Anonymous said...

Surely that's the nature of compromise - the new London Overground takes us directly to places we couldn't go to before - including, crucially, the South-West (thus yet uncharted waters as far as the local Hugo and Mungos are concerned) for the price of the first world problem of having to change trains/tubes to go to other places. I think the price is right!

Mb said...

HH, the disruption at LB is being caused by a massive redevelopment along with Thamelink that will make it fit for purpose. The disruption is not caused by the ELL. The thousands who crowd onto the ELL rather than the LB trains in the morning don't share your opinion that it's second rate. Where are they all going? The LB trains even have seats occasionally.

I'm more than happy that we're better off now than before the ELL arrived. No question.

Tamsin said...

@ Anon. It wasn't a direct correlation. The Charing Cross services were not lost because of the ELL development but because the Govia wholly owned subsidiary with the lines out through Lewisham to Kent got their franchise application in first before our own equally wholly owned subsidiary and bagged those slots wanting to make extra money on the longer haul passengers (to borrow a term from air travel). In fact, as mentioned somewhere above and on other threads by people other than me, there was not sufficient take up of the services to warrant the extra trains and they've been discontinued - but because it is more convenient for the operators through Brockley and New Cross Gate not to go into Charing Cross the services have not been restored. All the operators and politicians at the time it was happening used the coming of the Overground and extension of the ELL as a distraction ploy - and a lot of people, accepted these distinctly flawed arguments.

So now is a chance, as I suggested above, to see if an occasional service through to Waterloo East and Charing Cross cannot be restored. It would make operational sense to have fewer people milling around London Bridge and trying to get on the underground and should still be physically possible on the track layouts. Getting right across to the lines into Cannon Street would be more problematic.

Headhunter said...

OK let's explain this again. As Tamsin says, THe ELL/Overground whatever you want to call it was always going to be a fantastic ADDITION to Brockley's transport links. We were told time and time again that there would be no reduction in central London services before the opening of the ELL to Brockley.

This was even reported here, by Nick, on these very pages. Then, as Tamsin points out, Govia decided it would make more money out of passengers cutting inner London links and providing much higher priced, high speed links through London bridge from Kent at our expense.

These expensive services have since been cut back through lack of demand. Basically no one wanted to spend the equivalent of a small mortgage to rush from Kent through to north London. Yet Brockley still lacks direct Charing X trains... However everyone here seems to believe the rubbish fed to them that the ELL via east London and Canada Water is a suitable replacement for a direct train to Charing X and Waterloo... Sigh...

Mb said...

The way it works is that the services can please all the people all of the time. The best you can do is please as many people as possible. Trains to LB are now emptier than the ELL, people choose it over the train. Tens of thousands disagree with you. I'd like a personal carriage direct to farringdon but I recognise that transport in London is a compromise so I "change trains", an intellectual feat I picked up when I was about 12.

Anyway, all this is irrelevant. LB is being redeveloped, it would have been redeveloped whether or not the ELL existed. Redevelopment can cause disruption, it's virtually a new station. This is good news as its our mainline station of choice. Mind you when whitechaple comes on line we will have a speedy alternative, you'll need to master the changing thing though.

Anonymous said...

Exactly Mb.

You can tell some of the people in this thread either work for really soft organisations or perhaps the public sector? The constant obsession with "having to satisfy all key stakeholders" (sorry for the bullshit-speak) even when there are valid alternatives available is so very, very draining.

Mb said...

According to HH it's a conspiracy to satisfy the rapacious private train opperating companies. How can we reconcile this paradox? Only the combined intellect of the Anons can crack it.

Tamsin said...

Changing trains late at night at London Bridge on the way back from Charing Cross is a pain, slightly uncomfortable if you are female and travelling alone and, going to NXG, nearly doubles the journey time. Enough to tip the balance when it comes to deciding whether or not to go to the theatre and have a significant impact on workers in the industry - hence those people getting up a separate petiton when the withrawal of the service was announced.

Changing trains at the weekend at London Bridge is a pain if you've got shopping, luggage or a buggy and children. Or if you are elderly or infirm. Enough to daunt the pleasure of a day out - but maybe only the fit and active deserve consideration.

For operational convenience the through services to Waterloo Charing Cross were cut back and then removed entirely. With the system in turmoil again why should we not make a case for them being restored?

Welcome to 2012 said...

Quite right HH! Everyone who uses the ELL every day because they THINK it's quicker, more frequent, more reliable and in some cases cheaper than the London Bridge service have been DUPED by the spin and marketing from TFL (you remember, all those adverts and celebrity endorsements - who could resist that kind of marketing barrage?).

So even though the FOOLS could get on the LB service, just as they did in the past, they won't, because they are TOO BLIND to see it.

If only everyone would listen to you: an impartial judge, who rarely even uses Brockley station and who made his mind up about the service before it even started and is too stubborn to admit defeat even though everyone in the world (except Tamsin and Lou) thinks he's completely and utterly WRONG!

You are a joker.

Headhunter said...

I understand that there is limited capacity through London Bridge but we were told that direct trains to Brockley were sacrificed specifically to provide capacity for a high speed link from Kent which itself has now been cut back through lack of demand...

WT2012, I'm afraid whichever way you cut it, getting to Charing X/Covent Gdn/Soho etc is quicker by train to Charing X rather than using the ELL.... You can call me a joker all you like but the facts remain!

Anonymous said...

HH, you think brockley had a better overall train service five years ago? You think people in se4 would cheer if we went back to that? I think not.

Welcome to 2012 said...

HH - that's not the "facts" we were arguing about. The old Charing X service was quite a good way of getting to Charing X if you got on it. But it only ran once every half hour and only after certain times at night. Now, I can still get to Charing X quickly by quickly changing trains at LB.

What has that got to do with the ELL or anything we were talking about?

Anonymous said...

Does any one have any news about the closure of the bus stop at outside lewisham station due to the building of those blinkin flats? I have complained to one of our councillors who said that she was already onto the issue?

Tamsin said...

Except for new trains and the options of getting to Dalston and Highbury and Islington - as if you want to do that every day - the service from NXG is worse than it was before. No longer the terminus of the ELL with empty trains, and no space being created on the London Bridge trains as people got off to move over to the ELL. But happy to accept that "for the greater good" - cue a echo-chorus as in Hot Fuzz...

Not happy to accept the hype that the powers that be tried to feed us saying that the works were an improvement for everyone nor their using it as some sort of distraction ploy when - for totally different operational reasons - they cut the direct Waterloo East and Charing Cross Service. Neither can I accpet that we can't get at least the weekend and evening Charing Cross service back now that the slots we had taken from us are, in theory, available again.

And, Welcome to 2012, if you look at the original post come 2015/2016 you wont find it so welcome as you wont be able to get to Charing Cross quickly by quickly changing trains at London Bridge because no Charing Cross trains will stop there. Why I'm suggesting that we push to have some non-stopping Charing Cross trains of our own for the duration (and hopefully manage to keep them afterwards) - but people don't seem to be able to grasp that.

Other Anon. - totally agree about the daft closure of the bus stop. Quite unecessary.

Anonymous said...

I use both the overground and lb train with a quick change to Charing x everyday to go to work from nxg. I favour train change at lb and a direct train to Charing x would be even better. Trains in the mornings are equally as full as overground if you board them any time after 8am. I find hard to imagine how the overground + Canada water combo trip will be like once the lb change to Charing cross disappears.

Anonymous said...

My point being the overground is good but for some, I include me in those, losing that change at lb or indeed the direct train to Charing x is a real nuisance.

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