Spotlight on Christmas 2017: Thameslink Programme

London Bridge improvements are part of the Thameslink Programme.

This Christmas (Saturday 23 December 2017 to Monday 1 January 2018 inclusive), we will be working to deliver 260 projects on the rail network across Britain as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan.

The work we’re doing will provide more and faster services to help relieve over-crowding on the railway. Passenger numbers have doubled since 1996, and continue to grow. Every day, people take more than 4.6 million journeys to work, study or visit friends and family. Together, the rail industry is working to meet the challenges and improve journeys across the country.

We plan our larger work projects over bank holidays as they’re generally quiet periods, with fewer passengers travelling by rail – find out more here about why we plan work for bank holidays.

If you’re travelling over the bank holiday, please remember to check your journey plans on National Rail Enquiries, as there will be changes to rail services in some areas.


What’s the Thameslink Programme?

It will transform north-south travel through London by 2018, helping to meet the huge rise in demand for passenger train services. As more stations are linked to the Thameslink route as part of the Programme, there’ll be more travel options to and through London from Brighton all the way to Cambridge, Bedford and Peterborough.

A new rail hub at Farringdon will connect the Thameslink and Crossrail railway lines, providing direct links to three major airports (Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton) and St Pancras International station.

What have we done so far?

We’ve completed work at major stations including Blackfriars and Farringdon to make them more accessible and modern, as well as improving smaller stations and lengthening platforms across the Programme.

Since work began in 2009, we have renewed and remodelled over 40km of railway that links London Bridge and Blackfriars to Lewisham, and strengthened 35 bridges to support the tracks. We fitted the final set of points – which allow trains to move from one track to another – in Bermondsey in November 2017. This was the last of 154 sets of points to be installed and now connects the tracks through platform 4 at London Bridge to the flyover at Bermondsey.

The Thameslink Programme has been rebuilding London Bridge station since 2013, while keeping it open to the travelling public. The £1bn redevelopment project is now in its third and final phase.

What work is happening on the Thameslink Programme over Christmas and beyond?

There will be 10 days of major engineering work and resignalling around London Bridge this Christmas and New Year (Saturday 23 December 2017 to Monday 1 January 2018 inclusive). During this time there will be no trains to or from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo East, Farringdon and other major London stations, plus no Southeastern services at London Bridge.

Passengers are advised to check changes to services before travelling.

Find out more about the Christmas railway improvement work

The countdown to the completion of the transformation of London Bridge station begins on Tuesday 2 January. There will still be work to do in the station throughout 2018, but this will be completed during evenings and weekends rather than on working days.

As the railway reopens, Southeastern services will operate on a new timetable and – from May 2018 – cross-London Thameslink services will resume stopping at London Bridge, once Govia Thameslink Railway has familiarised their drivers with the route. 

Why are we redeveloping London Bridge station?

Once complete, the new London Bridge station will be modern, spacious and fully accessible, able to support the new timetables, meaning better journeys and more reliable services for the 56 million passengers that pass through it each year.

Did you know?

When finished, the station will have 15 entirely rebuilt platforms, better facilities and a concourse bigger than the pitch at Wembley station.

Find out more

London Bridge improvements

Thameslink Programme

London Bridge station – useful information for travellers and visitors

Railway Upgrade Plan update 2017-2018