Thameslink programme

Image showing the canopies of the completed stationWhat’s happening?

London Bridge is the fourth busiest station in the country, handling around 54 million passengers each year.

As part of the £6.5bn Government-sponsored Thameslink Programme, London Bridge station is being rebuilt to provide dedicated platforms for up to 18 Thameslink trains an hour in each direction. There’ll be more space, with a concourse the size of the pitch at Wembley Stadium, and improved connections to more destinations.

The station is being rebuilt in phases with construction work at London Bridge station going well and on schedule.

Both London Bridge rail and Underground stations are open throughout, but Thameslink, Southern and Southeastern and London Overground customers have been and will continue to be, affected at certain times by substantial service changes until the project is completed in 2018.

Since the opening of the last two terminating platforms at London Bridge in January 2015, work has focused on the ‘through’ platforms and the creation of the new dedicated platforms and tracks for Charing Cross services.

Work on the dedicated Thameslink platforms is due to be completed and ready for passenger service in early 2018.

What have the impacts been?

We’re aware that the essential improvement works at London Bridge have had a substantial impact on customers, both in terms of their route, train services and changes to the station layout.

Network Rail and Southern have apologised for the delays over the past few months. Thameslink would also like to apologise if you've been caught up in any disruption.

For more information on this issue please visit the disruption page on the Thameslink Programme website.

What’s being done to address the problems?

Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway and Southern are working together to deliver a Performance Improvement Plan with realistic targets. Published on our websites, this plan sets out a realistic timeframe for delivering short, medium and long-term improvements.

Network Rail and Southern have made considerable efforts in improving the management at the station, including:

  • a crowd management plan
  • more staff (in hi-visibility tabards) and more customer assistance staff, with additional training and better equipment
  • more despatch staff at London Bridge and East Croydon
  • additional information screens installed, along with a revised timetable from 18 May

What service changes are there during the London Bridge redevelopment?

During the station rebuild, we will be keeping our passengers informed about what is happening and help them understand how they can complete their journeys as easily as possible.

Please be aware that from 20 December 2014 until January 2018 there will be NO cross-London, Bedford to Brighton Thameslink trains to/from or through London Bridge. Instead they will take an alternative route between East Croydon and London Blackfriars.

From 5 January 2015 there will be a reduced off-peak service between Brighton and London Bridge with only a VERY limited service between these stations in the peak.

Click on the travel advice below for more information.

Passengers should be aware of the following:

  • London Bridge mainline rail station and Tube will remain open but Thameslink, London Overground, Southern, and Southeastern customers will be affected at certain times until the project is completed in 2018. Customers are urged to check to see how their journeys could be affected before travelling
  • From early January 2015, the track work taking place around London Bridge station will mean the Jubilee line at London Bridge, Southwark and Waterloo may be exceptionally busy, as National Rail customers use alternative routes to get to their destination. Passengers are advised to avoid Southwark or the Jubilee line unless absolutely necessary

Travel advice from 5 January 2015

Ticketing and travel

 From 5 January 2015 until January 2018

  • National Rail tickets tickets will be accepted on certain routes on London Overground, Thameslink, Southern, Southeastern, South West Trains, London Underground, Tramlink, DLR and London Buses.
  • Passengers with valid National Rail season and day tickets will be able to use Transport for London services from the following stations only: Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, London Bridge, Cannon Street, Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross, Southwark. Tickets will have to be shown to staff at ticket barriers
  • If passengers are using the rerouting advice provided, their ticket will be valid, but the ticket gate may not recognise it
  • If using Oyster Pay As You Go, passengers will be charged for any journeys on the Transport for London network as normal

Thameslink Programme Update 2017

The first of our new class 700 trains entered passenger service in June 2016 and we now have 20 units in service on the Brighton - Bedford, Wimbledon Loop and Kent routes.

We are currently night testing class 700s on the Great Northern route, prior to entry into service on this route in 2017.

The introduction of the new class 700s has meant that additional maintenance, cleaning and stabling facilities have been created across the network and that exisiting depots have had to be redeveloped to ensure that 700s can use them.

Hornsey depot
The historic depot has experienced a new lease of life in several ways: the dedicated Class 700 maintenance facility is now open and has become integrated into the existing facility. Siemens staff will man the new depot, working closely with GTR’s own 237 strong Hornsey workforce. The new depot represents millions of pounds of investment by DfT to support the Thameslink Programme.

The site, the size of 12 football pitches, will maintain a total of six classes of trains.

Hornsey, a centre of engineering excellence. Apprentices Chris Priestly, Katie Everett and Will Webster

Hornsey is also set to become a centre of engineering excellence, with GTR and Siemens sponsoring 20 engineering apprentices each year to train there, ensuring vital investment in the future of the rail industry.

The combined facilities at Hornsey will make it one of the biggest train maintenance facilities in the UK.

Horsham depot
Following testing and commissioning, the first Class 700 unit used the depot on 5 December, with full passenger service use of the six x 12 car roads planned for early in 2017

Peterborough Spital
This is a brand new state-of-the-art train servicing facility, with capacity for five x 12 car class 700 units and purpose built staff accommodation, built by Carillion on behalf of the DfT as part of the Thameslink Programme.


London Bridge
The New Year saw the new Bermondsey Dive Under commissioned. This is a major new junction on the approaches to London Bridge, which will cut delays and allow more trains to run.

There will be more closures and changes to services over weekends and bank holidays in 2017 as the rebuild of London Bridge station continues.

Passengers looking to travel over Easter, May/Spring bank holidays, between 26 August - 2 September 2017 and 23 December 2017 - 2 January 2018 need to be aware that there will be substantial changes and disruption to their services (on Southeastern services in August, and Southeastern, Southern and Thameslink at Christmas) and they'll need to check before they travel and are likely to need to change their regular route of travel. An information campaign to alert passengers of these changes will be launched shortly.

Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton
Work is due to start shortly on extending platforms at Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton to allow 12 car trains (class 700s) to use the stations, ready for when the new fleet goes into operation on the Great Northern route in 2017.

New Class 700 trains on the network

The first new 12 carriage Siemens built Class 700 train went into service on Monday 20 June 2016 on the 10.02 Brighton to London Bridge service.

Capable of carrying up to 1,750 people, the intention is to run the 12-carriage trains in the peak from Brighton, meaning there’ll be at least 1,000 extra standard class seats from the town in the morning peak once the new fleet and timetable is introduced.

The new trains are 12 and 8 car fixed formation, meaning it cannot be split up into shorter units. Our existing Thameslink trains are made up of four-carriage units so they run as either 8s or 4s. The new trains are either 8s or 12s and cannot be split.

There are currently 20 trains in the UK (12 x 12 carriage and 8 x 8 carriage trains), undergoing testing or in service.

By the end of 2018, 115 trains will have been delivered and be into service on an expanded Thameslink network to additional destinations such as Peterborough and Cambridge.

The new Siemens trains will be stabled at the new purpose-built Three Bridges depot, which opened in August 2015 and the new Hornsey Depot, completed in July 2016.

The new Thameslink trains will transform journeys for our passengers, creating much-needed capacity on our busy commuter routes with 80% more seats across Central London by 2019. This, with other exciting improvements we are delivering, will add 10,000 more seats on services into London.

The trains will connect many new communities into the cross-London Thameslink route, creating fast, convenient direct services across the capital without the need to take the Tube – a new, direct service between Cambridge and Gatwick Airport, for example, will take just 1 hour 40 minutes and our services will connect with Crossrail at Farringdon every two-and-a-half minutes in the peak for trains to Heathrow.

They’re also cutting edge, with state of the art passenger information systems, excellent features for people with disabilities and – critically – high levels of reliability so that we can give our passengers a dependable punctual service.

The design of the Class 700 incorporates the feedback of UK train operators, passenger focus groups, train crew, cleaners and maintainers. Developed specifically to meet the demands of the Thameslink infrastructure programme - delivering high frequency, high capacity services - they will be more reliable and more energy efficient than existing rolling stock. Their lightweight design will mean less wear and tear on the tracks, saving money in maintaining the network.

The trains have undergone a rigorous testing schedule. Early last year the first Class 700 was put to the test in a special climate chamber, measuring its ability to withstand the effects of extreme ambient temperatures, solar gain, ice, snow and wind, thus ensuring the trains are up to the challenge of carrying commuters in and out of London, whatever the weather.

When will the Three Bridges and Hornsey depots be ready for service?

The purpose-built Three Bridges depot in Crawley, West Sussex, opened in August 2015, and has been key in undertaking train testing and maintenance and staff training, ensuring the first Class 700s could make it’s into service debut on 20 June.

The construction of the second depot in Hornsey, north London, was completed in July 2016.

More information

For the latest information please keep checking this website or, sign up for text or email alerts and follow @TLProgramme on Twitter.