The Sidcup, Grove Park and Bromley North lines through Hither Green will be closed for nine days from Saturday 25 July to Sunday 2 August 2020, while Network Rail completes critical signalling upgrades to improve reliability for passengers in South East London.

Buses will replace trains between Lewisham, Sidcup and Orpington, while trains on other routes will be retimed or diverted. Detailed station by station travel advice is now available at

People are advised to use alternative travel if possible over the nine days. Passengers who need to travel by train or replacement bus are advised to plan ahead; travel outside of peak times, allow more time for their journey and follow the government’s latest coronavirus travel advice.

Fiona Taylor, route director, Kent said:

“We know this is a tough ask of passengers who are already managing changes to their journeys and we haven’t taken the decision to close the lines lightly.

“The current signalling system, which controls the movement of trains on the lines through Hither Green, has been in place since the 1970s. It's old, unreliable, and becoming more difficult to source spare parts and maintain.

“If we don't upgrade now, it could lead to major delays and crowding for Southeastern passengers in future. That's a risk we weren’t prepared to take.

“We are extremely grateful to people for their patience in these difficult times. When this vital upgrade is complete, it will provide a more reliable and resilient railway for passengers in South East London for decades to come.”

Southeastern train services director, Scott Brightwell said:

“The equipment in this area is old and unreliable with some dating from the 1970’s; installing a modern signalling system is essential for improving journeys for our passengers. To aid those planning journeys throughout the works, we are providing a detailed station by station travel advice tool.

“We strongly advise customers to check this in advance as journeys on some routes are replaced with buses. Where buses replace trains, we expect journey times to be extended with queuing systems at busier times of day.“

Summary of travel advice

  • Buses will replace trains between Lewisham and both Sidcup and Orpington
  • Sidcup services will run east and into Central London via the Bexleyheath and Woolwich lines
  • Shuttle buses will run between New Eltham, Mottingham and Eltham, and between Elmstead Woods and Eltham, for services to London
  • Buses will replace trains on the Bromley North branch
  • Services from Petts Wood and Orpington will run to Victoria, Blackfriars or London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross (running non-stop via New Beckenham)
  • Tickets will be accepted on alternative routes
  • All Southeastern car parks will be available to season ticket holders who usually travel from a closed station (subject to capacity)

Plan your journey at