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Rail passengers using Southeastern services are being urged to check before they travel as a major timetable change comes into effect from Monday 12 January.

On that date work will start on Southeastern’s platforms at London Bridge as part of the £6.5 billion government-sponsored Thameslink Programme – which will dramatically increase capacity on one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway once complete.

As a result, Hastings to London Bridge via the Charing Cross services will be unable to stop at the station until August 2016 whilst these works are carried out. The new timetable from Southeastern includes service changes required to accommodate the construction work and also includes new long-term improvements that provide extra services and new journey opportunities.

The principal changes to services to accommodate the Thameslink Programme include:southeastern-CharingX1-trains

  • Charing Cross trains won’t stop at London Bridge from January 2015 until August 2016. If passengers need London Bridge they should catch a Cannon Street service or interchange enroute.
  • Charing Cross services to and from New Cross, St Johns, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park will be permanently diverted to and from Cannon Street. There will be fewer peak trains (two fewer trains in the morning peak, and four fewer trains in the evening peak). The line will be served by longer trains to boost capacity in peak hours
  • Charing Cross services to Plumstead, Woolwich Dockyard, Belvedere and Erith will also be diverted to run to/from Cannon Street
  • Some trains will be diverted to or from an alternative London terminal
  • Longer metro trains to increase capacity
  • Longer opening hours for Cannon Street station (0500-0100), including all day opening on Sundays. (Cannon Street tube station to also offer longer opening hours)
  • Diversion of some trains from Rochester, Broadstairs, Ashford, Dover and Orpington into London Blackfriars
  • Since 20 December, Rochester to Bedford and Ashford to Bedford services (and vice versa) will start and terminate at London Blackfriars

Long-term service improvements include a new fast service from Hastings to Charing Cross departing at 0804 and a Charing Cross to Hastings service departing at 1620, offering a 90 minute journey time

Southeastern has informed us that they are working together with the transport industry to co-ordinate planning and an arrangement is in place for rail tickets to be accepted on specific London Underground, bus and Docklands Light Railway routes to ensure that passengers can get to London Bridge at no extra charge while Network Rail is doing this crucial work. More details can be found on the Southeastern website.

David Statham, managing director of Southeastern, said: “The project to rebuild London Bridge station 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 it will untangle the railway lines to remove the bottleneck we experience today.

“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. Our new timetable is designed to provide a service that meets demand at a time when track capacity has much reduced, whilst also providing new journey opportunities, longer trains and later services.

“We consulted with our customers and stakeholders to develop our plans and this timetable balances the competing needs of passengers with the infrastructure constraints.”

Passengers can check for changes to their services at www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/thameslink/january2015/.