Commuters face rail disruption as Thameslink work continues
Commuters are being told to expect major disruption as train stations used by Kent passengers are closed for more than a week.
Southeastern announced there will be no services to major hubs in the capital such as Waterloo and Cannon Street as work is carried out for the Thameslink programme.
The work also means no trains will run to and from Charing Cross, London Bridge and Waterloo East stations between Saturday, August 26, and Saturday, September 2.
It means anyone who would normally travel to and from those stations with Southeastern will be diverted elsewhere.
Network Rail has enforced the closures to allow time for engineers to fit the infrastructure for the London Crossrail scheme.
In addition to the lack of service at Charing Cross and London Bridge, there will also be no service at Blackfriars on Monday, August 28, and Saturday, September 2.
Trains will not run at Cannon Street Saturday and Sunday, August 26-27, Victoria on Sunday, September 3, and Waterloo between Saturday and Monday, August 26-28, and again between Saturday and Sunday, September 2-3.
Between Tuesday, August 29, and Friday, September 1, trains on the Maidstone East line will be diverted to London Victoria.
Lianna Etkind, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “This is part of the Thameslink programme which is improving rail links between Kent and London and it’s going to be incredibly frustrating for commuters that week. But the good news is that after those engineering works hopefully there will be a positive effect for journeys made.
“I think this is a case of shortterm pain for long-term gain.”
Simon Blanchflower, Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme director, said: “I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we continue to rebuild the UK’s fourth busiest station and upgrade the railway to make it fit for the 21st century.
“I strongly advise passengers to plan their journeys ahead and check before they travel as we build a better, more reliable railway with greater capacity for the millions of passengers that use it each year.”
Ellie Burrows, Southeastern’s train services director, said: “The closures mean we are unable to run our normal service and it will mean considerable disruption for our passengers, particularly for those four working days.
“We are doing everything we can to provide alternative journey options, and we’ll be running longer trains where possible.
“But with the three major London stations closed there will be fewer services, queues are to be expected and trains that do run will be very busy.
“We’ve been working very closely with Network Rail, TfL and the Department for Transport to plan for this and we’ve been giving passengers advance notice so they can plan ahead.
“We urge passengers to check how their journeys will be affected by visiting our website.”
Those trains that do run will be much busier than usual and will be diverted to other stations, including Victoria, Blackfriars, Cannon Street and London Waterloo International.
Queuing systems will be in place in some stations and passengers are advised to leave more time for their journey.
‘We are doing everything we can to provide alternative journey options, and we’ll be running longer trains where possible’