SEmG

London Bridge

London Bridge station, situated at the foot of London Bridge on the south Bank of the Thames across the river from the City of London, was the first permanent railway terminal in the capital. It opened in December 1836 after the London and Greenwich Railway extended its tracks from its temporary terminus at Spa Road. The London and Croydon, London and Brighton Railways (eventual constituents of the LBSCR) and the South Eastern Railway became tenants paying fees to the L&G (which remained a separate legal entity until grouping). The original station had only two platforms but nevertheless gained the distinction of having the first ever London commuter season ticket holder. An extension to the original station was opened on 10 May 1842 with the tenants using the original station and the L&G using the extension. The L&G prospered on its fees but the high level of these led to the SER opening its own terminus at Bricklayers Arms in 1844. In 1864 the SER extended its line to a new terminus at Charing Cross which resulted in the opening of new high level through platforms at London Bridge, though the SER continued also to use the low level station until 1902. The LBSCR became the major user of the terminal. Thereafter the station operated as two separate entities, much like Victoria, until grouping and the formation of the Southern Railway, which again like Victoria saw the construction of an opening between the two. The approaches to the station were widened in 1866 and again in 1880. With the 1866 widening the LBSCR instituted its south London line service to and from Victoria - a service which in the intervening time has had its ups and downs, being particularly badly affected by the introduction of trams which prompted the LBSCR to electrify the line.
 
The functional entrance to London Bridge Station is sandwiched between the railway viaduct and high-rise office blocks.

photograph by Colin Duff

London Bridge
 
London Bridge The former SER through "high level" platforms are busy throughout the day, but pictured here is a rare quiet moment on the 17th May 2000.

photograph by Colin Duff

 
Connex South Eastern class 465 (seen here) and class 466 Networkers dominate the action on the high level platforms punctuated occasionally by the remaining Connex MkI units and Thameslink class 319s. It is intended that new high level platforms will be built immediately behind the unit seen here standing in platform 6.

photograph by Colin Duff

London Bridge
 
Despite its prestigious name and location the station has never been one of London's most ergonomic or attractive stations. It suffered particularly badly during World War Two and in the 1970s the station and its area's signalling were rebuilt. The station was rebuilt in the prevailing utilitarian style (retaining the trainshed over the terminal platforms) and at last achieved a semblance of unification with a concourse and a footbridge serving all platforms. The new station was reopened on 15th December 1978 with much ceremony.

The station today is still a very busy place serving both commuters and long distance passengers. In recent years the through platforms have become more important than the terminus - having become an important interchange since the introduction of the successful cross London Thameslink service- and the capacity of these platforms is now severely strained. A further rebuilding is now underway to add another through platform in place of the existing low level platform outside of the trainshed.

 
London Bridge The low level terminal platforms are not busy between peak commuter services.....

photograph by Colin Duff

 
...at lunchtime providing an almost sleepy air with just two platforms in use, with platform 15 holding two class 456 units and platform 11 a class 455 unit - all for Connex South Central services.

photograph by Colin Duff

London Bridge
 
London Bridge A very similar view to the above, but showing a little better the high-rise buildings outside the station. The nearest track is that of platform six in the high-level station and the one beyond this is the "fast" line for Charing Cross services.

photograph by Richard A

 
"In this rare 1970 view of the high level platforms one of Bulleid's two 4DD units can be seen on the left and the former sigal box just right of centre.

photograph by Michael Taylor

London Bridge
 
London Bridge Contrast this 17th May 2000 view from the high level platforms across the low level platforms to the replacement signalling centre (the boxy building on the left) commissioned in the 1970s.

photograph by Colin Duff

 
Looking south from the end of platforms 3 & 4 with a Networker and two sets of slam-door stock in evidence.
Although all platform lines are reversible the normal flow of traffic is:
Cannon Street lines:
1 - up, 2 - up (morning peak), reversible (off peak), down (evening peak), 3 - down.
Charing X and Thameslink lines:
4 - down, 5 - reversible, 6 - up.
7 - up through road for Charing X.

photograph by Richard A

London Bridge
 
London Bridge Another view from platforms 3 and 4, this time further up the platforms. Here can also be seen the ends of platforms 2, 5 & 6 and 9 & 10, the Signalbox, a DEMU, a 455, two Networkers and two banner signals. These give a driver advance warning of the signal ahead which may be obscured due to the curvature of the platform and/or stock in the adjacent road.

photograph by Erinrail

All photographs are copyright

return to Southern Maps

return to picture gallery page

This page was last updated 13 October 2003

SR Target

Valid CSS!    Valid HTML 4.01!