Nine day closure of South East London lines, Saturday 25 July – Sunday 2 August 2020 (inclusive)

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 we switch over to a more reliable signalling system.

The current signalling system, which controls the movement of trains on the lines through Hither Green, has been in place since the 1970s and it's becoming more difficult to source spare parts and maintain. If we don't upgrade now, it could lead to delays and crowding for Southeastern passengers in future.

Keeping passengers moving

There will be changes across the network from Saturday 25 July to Sunday 2 August 2020.

  • 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 Charring 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).
Map of affected lines – click to view full size

Services across the network will be retimed or diverted so please check before travelling and remember to follow the government travel advice around COVID-19 when travelling.

Extra capacity will be laid on, however we are asking people to leave space on trains that are running for those who need it, and we are working with Southeastern to make sure there’s provision for social distancing at stations and on buses.

This is a tough ask for people who are already coping with changes to travel and we would like to apologise for the disruption to their journeys, but the work is needed to ensure we can keep passengers and freight moving reliably now and in the future.

Plan your journey

Detailed station by station travel advice including bus replacement information is now available.

National Rail Enquiry planners will be updated shortly. Please use the travel advice link to plan your journey.

Passenger Survey

If you use this line or are affected by this work, please complete our survey to help us plan future projects.

What are we doing? 

We’re delivering a new, £81m system and other improvements:

  • Track circuits, which detect trains, have been replaced with 254 more reliable axle counters.
  • 58 new signals and 9 new, easier maintained signal gantries built.
  • Power supply upgraded and made more resilient.
  • Signalling improvements to provide turnback opportunities at Hither Green, Grove Park and Lee, allowing trains to turnback when there are delays or during engineering works.
  • Signal improvements at Grove Park to allow 12-car trains to stop at platform 3.
  • Signalling control of the area will be transferred to the to the state-of-the-art Three Bridges route control centre, helping to recover the service more quickly when there is an incident.
  • Deep cleaning, maintenance of closed stations, platform and canopy repairs and other improvements will take place on the affected lines to give passengers additional benefits.

Why the work must take place now?

This work is so important for passengers who travel through this area, not just at Hither Green but on into Lewisham and London terminals too. The 1970s signalling system is very old and in urgent need of upgrade with maintenance and sourcing of spare parts becoming ever more challenging.

Additionally, with social distancing in place for our maintenance teams finding and fixing faults is taking significantly longer. That could mean major delays at a time when some passengers and freight users are relying on us more than ever.

We wanted to bring the new signalling system into use over four days at Easter, but because technicians can’t work closely together for long periods, it is going to take double the length of time it would normally take to finish the job.

We have taken the decision to complete the work in the summer holidays because we wanted to give those passengers who are still travelling, many of them critical workers, enough time to plan ahead.

We also need time to put alternative travel options in place, such as an enhanced bus replacement service.

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Contact us

For more information, call our National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or contact us on Twitter @NetworkRailSE.

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