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Southeastern publishes new timetable early to cope with upheavals for £6.5bn London Bridge Thameslink programme

By KentOnline reporter

Southeastern has published its new timetable ahead of time - to cope with upheavals for a multi-billion pounds development.

Work at London Bridge is part of the £6.5 billion Thameslink programme, which aims to increase capacity on one of Europe's busiest stretches of railway.

Once complete, the station will include new platforms and a huge new concourse.

How a revamped London Bridge concourse could look

Track will also be "untangled", reducing delays from trains crossing paths and waiting outside for platforms to clear.

Work will also start on untangling the track outside the station, which will reduce delays from trains crossing pathways and waiting outside the station for platforms to clear.

From January next year, work will start on platforms 4, 5 and 6 and the approaching track and signalling.

The new timetable includes changes needed for when building work starts, and looks ahead to improvements to services.

Artist's impression of revamped London Bridge platform

The main changes to services to accommodate the Thameslink construction include:

  • Charing Cross trains not stopping at London Bridge from January to August next year. Then Cannon Street trains won’t stop there until early 2018
  • Longer opening hours for Cannon Street station (5am to 1am), including all day opening on Sundays.
  • Diversion of some trains on Metro and Mainline services such as from Rochester, Broadstairs, Ashford, Dover and Orpington into London Blackfriars
  • All current Rochester to Bedford and Ashford to Bedford services (and vice versa) will start and terminate at London Blackfriars
Sir Keith is credited with bringing the high-speed rail link to the town.

In the long term there will be a new high speed ‘rounder’ service improving connections between London and North / East Kent; high speed trains will stop at Snodland, Birchington-on-Sea, Martin Mill and Walmer for the first time; extra seats on the Highspeed service (with 698 seats at Ashford in the morning peak and 349 extra seats from Ebbsfleet); two more high speed trains from Margate and Broadstairs; one more service from Ramsgate via Canterbury to St Pancras; a new hourly direct off-peak service between Maidstone East and Canterbury West; a new peak hour service from Maidstone East to Blackfriars departing at 8.45am; a new morning Blackfriars to Maidstone East service; new services between Dartford and London Victoria; a new direct through-service between London Victoria and Sheerness.

Charles Horton, managing director of Southeastern, said: "The project to rebuild London Bridge station is an enormous challenge and one of the biggest railway construction projects since the Second World War.

"The government investment will provide a brand new station with a concourse the size of the pitch at Wembley Stadium, new journey opportunities to the north and south of England, and this will untangle the railway lines to remove the bottleneck we experience today.

Southeastern has proposed a fast service from Ashford International to Cannon Street

"This will however, mean our passengers, particularly those who use London Bridge station will need to change their travel patterns while the work is carried out.

"We’ve got a huge job to provide a service that meets demand at a time when track capacity has much reduced, and we’ve developed a timetable - with new journey opportunities, longer trains and later services to help meet that challenge. "

Southeastern runs trains into London from Kent and East Sussex, operating some 2000 trains a day, and carrying more than 570,000 passengers a day.

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