London Bridge station
The Shard concourse at London Bridge
Location of London Bridge in Central London
|Local authority||London Borough of Southwark|
|Managed by||Network Rail|
|Number of platforms||10
(numbered 6–15, 1–5 currently closed)
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|– interchange||8.610 million|
|– interchange||8.568 million|
|– interchange||8.815 million|
|– interchange||8.454 million|
|– interchange||2.025 million|
|Original company||London & Croydon Railway|
|Pre-grouping||South Eastern Railway
London, Brighton & South Coast Railway
|14 December 1836||Opened|
|Lists of stations|
| London Transport portal
UK Railways portal
London Bridge is a central London railway terminus and connected London Underground station in Southwark, occupying a large area on three levels immediately south-east of London Bridge and 1.6 miles (2.6 km) east of Charing Cross. The main line station is the oldest railway station in London fare zone 1 and one of the oldest in the world having opened in 1836. It is one of two main line termini in London to the south of the River Thames, the other being Waterloo.
London Bridge is served by Southeastern services from Charing Cross to destinations in southeast London, Kent and East Sussex and is a terminus for many Southern commuter and regional services to south London and numerous destinations in South East England. Historically, trains from Cannon Street and Thameslink services from Bedford to Brighton also called at the station, and will once again in early 2018 when current redevelopment works are complete. In terms of passenger arrivals and departures it is the fourth-busiest station in London as well as the United Kingdom as a whole, handling over 54 million customers a year. (These statistics do not include the many commuters who transfer between lines at the station.).
The main line station is one of 19 UK stations managed by Network Rail. The Underground station is served by the Jubilee line and the Bank branch of the Northern line. It consists of a ticket hall and entrance area with its main frontage on Tooley Street, along with entrances on Borough High Street, as well as within the main line station concourse.
- 1 History
- 2 National Rail station
- 3 London Underground station
- 4 Accidents and incidents
- 5 Connections
- 6 References
- 7 External links
London Bridge station was opened as the London station on 14 December 1836 south of the River Thames in Tooley Street, making it the first and oldest of the current London railway termini. It was not the earliest station in the present London metropolitan area, as the London and Greenwich Railway opened stations first at Spa Road (in Bermondsey) and Deptford on 8 February 1836. Delays in the completion of a bridge at Bermondsey Street postponed the opening of the line into London Bridge station until December. From 10 October 1836, trains were able to operate as far as the east end of Bermondsey Street bridge, but no further, with passengers having to walk the last 300 yards. Since then the station has had several changes of ownership and complete rebuilds.
Original London and Greenwich Railway station
The original station was 60 feet (18 m) wide and 400 feet (120 m) long, and contained four tracks and was approached through a pair of iron gates. It consisted of three tracks leading into two platforms as a stub end of a viaduct. The station was originally entirely exposed to the weather, though the platforms were later covered with a wooden trussed pitched roof, 56 by 212 ft (17 by 65 m), shortly after opening. Sixteen columns and fourteen beams from this structure were retrieved in 2013 and given to the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Aberystwyth, Wales for use in a planned railway museum.
Prior to completion of the train shed, the London and Greenwich Railway entered into an agreement with the proposed London and Croydon Railway for the latter to use its tracks from Corbett's Lane, Bermondsey, and to share its station. The Greenwich railway had however underestimated the cost of building the long viaduct leading to London Bridge and was not able to build a sufficiently large station for the traffic for both companies, and so in July 1836 it sold some land adjacent to its station (then still under construction) to the Croydon railway to build their own independent station.
London and Croydon Railway station
The London and Brighton Railway and the South Eastern Railway (SER) were also then planning routes from London to Brighton and Dover respectively, and the British Parliament decided that the London and Greenwich line should become the entry corridor into London from South East England. Thus these two railways were required to share the route of the London and Croydon Railway from near Norwood (which in turn shared the route of the London and Greenwich Railway from Bermondsey to London Bridge). As a result, in 1838 the London and Croydon Railway obtained powers to enlarge the station it was then constructing at London Bridge, even before it had opened for traffic.
The London and Croydon Railway opened its line and began using its station on 5 June 1839, the London and Brighton Railway joined it on 12 July 1841, followed by the South Eastern Railway in 26 May 1842. Fairly quickly it was found that the viaduct approaching London Bridge would be inadequate to deal with the traffic generated by four railways and so between 1840 and 1842 the Greenwich railway widened it, doubling the number of tracks to four. The new lines, intended for the Croydon, Brighton and South Eastern trains, were situated on the south side of the existing Greenwich line, whereas their station was to the north of the London Bridge site, giving rise to an awkward and potentially dangerous crossing of one another's lines. The directors of the companies involved therefore decided to exchange the station sites. The London and Greenwich Railway would take over the newly completed London and Croydon Railway station, whilst a new joint committee of the Croydon, Brighton and South Eastern companies would demolish the first station and build a new joint station on its site.
Plans for a large new station were drawn up, designed jointly by Lewis Cubitt, John Urpeth Rastrick and Henry Roberts. Drawings were published in the Illustrated London News and George Bradshaw's Guide to the London and Brighton Railway 1844. They show 'a quasi-Italianate building with a picturesque campanile'. It opened for business in July 1844 while only partially complete, but events were taking place which would mean that the bell tower would never be built, and the new building would only last five years.
In 1843 the SER and Croydon railway companies became increasingly concerned by the high tolls charged by the London and Greenwich Railway for the use of the station approaches, and gained Parliamentary approval to build their own independent line into south London to a new station at Bricklayer's Arms, which was tenuously described as a "West End terminus". This line opened on 1 May 1844 and most of the services from these two companies were withdrawn from London Bridge, leaving only the Greenwich and Brighton companies using London Bridge station. The Greenwich company, which was in financial difficulties beforehand, was on the brink of bankruptcy and so was forced to lease its lines to the South Eastern Railway, which took effect from 1 January 1845. The following year the Croydon and Brighton companies merged with others to form the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR). As a result of these amalgamations, there were now only two companies wishing to use the two adjoining stations at London Bridge. As a result, the LB&SCR used the unfinished joint station until 1849, when it was demolished to make way for an enlarged station.
South Eastern Railway station
The SER took over the second London and Greenwich station (which had been built for the London and Croydon Railway) and sought to develop that site rather than continue to invest in the former joint station, which became the property of the LB&SCR. The SER station was therefore rebuilt and enlarged between 1847 and 1850, to a design by Samuel Beazley. At the same time yet further improvements were made to the station approaches, increasing the number of tracks to six, which entirely separated the lines of the two railways. Once these extensions were complete the SER closed its passenger terminus at Bricklayer's Arms and converted the site into a goods depot.
London Bridge station remained the London terminus of the SER until 1864 when its station was again rebuilt and five of the existing platforms were converted into a through station to enable the extension of the main line into central London and the opening of Charing Cross railway station, and in 1866 to Cannon Street station. In 1899 the SER entered into a working amalgamation with the London Chatham and Dover Railway (LC&DR) to form the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Companies Joint Management Committee. Junctions were laid to enable trains through London Bridge to reach the LC&DR stations at Holborn Viaduct and St Pauls.
London Brighton and South Coast Railway station
The LB&SCR took over the unfinished joint station, which they demolished in 1849 and opened a temporary station in 1850. This was rebuilt and enlarged in 1853-4 to deal with the additional traffic from the lines to Sydenham and Crystal Palace. A three-storey box-like structure in Italian style was erected, with the name of the railway emblazoned on the top parapet.
In 1859 the London Chatham and Dover Railway applied to the LB&SCR for running powers from Sydenham to London Bridge, but was refused. However, some ticketing arrangement was made between the two companies as the LC&DR advertised connections to and from London Bridge in its timetables in The Times and Bradshaw's Railway Guide for July 1861. This arrangement was short-lived pending the construction of the LC&DR line to Holborn Viaduct.
The LB&SCR also built the Terminus Hotel at the station in 1861. It was designed by Henry Currey, architect for St Thomas's Hospital and had 150 public rooms over seven stories. It was not successful due to its site on the south bank of the river and so was turned into offices for the railway in 1893. It was destroyed by bombing in 1941.
An Act of Parliament of 1862 gave the LB&SCR power to enlarge the station further. Over the next few years under the direction of new Chief Engineer Frederick Banister, the company built four more platform-faces in an adjoining area to the south of its existing station to cope with additional traffic generated by the completion of the South London Line and other suburban lines to Victoria station. This had a single-span trussed-arch roof measuring 88 by 655 ft (27 by 200 m), and was designed by J. Hawkshaw and Banister. During the first decade of the twentieth century LB&SCR station at London Bridge was again enlarged, but overall London Bridge station remained a sprawling confusion.
The chaotic nature of the station at the turn of the century was described in John Davidson's poem, "London Bridge":
Inside the station, everything's so old,
So inconvenient, of such manifold
Perplexity, and, as a mole might see,
So strictly what a station shouldn't be,
That no idea minifies its crude
And yet elaborate ineptitude.— John Davidson, Fleet Street and Other Poems
The LB&SCR electrified the South London Line from London Bridge to Victoria in 1909 using an overhead system. Once this experiment proved to be successful other suburban services from the station were electrified, including the lines to Crystal Palace in 1912. Electrification of the main line to Croydon was not however completed until 1920 due to delays resulting from the First World War.
Southern Railway station
The Railways Act 1921 led to the Big Four grouping in 1923. All of the railways of southern England combined to form the Southern Railway (SR), bringing the London Bridge complex under single ownership. The wall that divided the Chatham and Brighton stations was partially knocked through in 1928 to provide an easier interchange between stations. This allowed a greater range of platforms to be used for the increasingly frequent suburban rail services to London Bridge.
Between 1926 and 1928 the Southern Railway electrified the SE&CR suburban lines at London Bridge using a third rail electric system, and converted the existing LB&SCR routes to the same system. The first electric services ran on 25 March 1928 from London Bridge to Crystal Palace via Sydenham, followed by a peak hour service to Coulsdon North on 17 June. This was followed by electric services to Epsom Downs via West Croydon, Crystal Palace via Tulse Hill, and Streatham Hill, and to Dorking North and Effingham Junction via Mitcham on 3 March 1929. At the same time as electrification, the SR installed colour light signalling. The Southern Railway electrified the Brighton Main Line services to Brighton and the South Coast, providing a full service to Three Bridges on 17 July 1932. This was following by a full electric service to Brighton and West Worthing on 1 January 1933, followed by services to Seaford, Eastbourne and Hastings on 7 July 1935 and to Bognor Regis and Littlehampton on 3 July 1938.
By the 1930s, a regular feature of London Bridge traffic was a glut of commuter services all departing at or shortly after 5:00 pm. A typical timetable included 12-car services to Brighton, Eastbourne and Littlehampton, all between 5:00 and 5:05. "The fives" continued to run until the mid-1970s.
Both the London Bridge stations were badly damaged by bombing in the London Blitz in December 1940 and early 1941. The shell of the two stations was patched up but the former Terminal Hotel, then used as railway offices, was rendered unsafe and demolished.
British Railways station
British Railways (BR) took over responsibility for the station in 1948 following nationalisation of the railways. They did not consider London Bridge a priority at first, and the war-torn damage of the station remained into the 1960s. Electrification of the lines into London Bridge continued during the 1950s and 1960s, with the final steam service running in 1964, when the line to Oxted and Uckfield was replaced by diesel / electric multiple units.
By the early 1970s the station could no longer cope with the volume of traffic. Thus between 1972 and 1978, British Rail (as it was then known) undertook a major redevelopment of the station and its approaches. This included a £21 million re-signalling scheme, and a new station concourse designed by N. D. T. Wikeley, regional architect for the Southern Region. This was opened 14 December 1978. New awnings were added over the former S.E.R. platforms, but the arched Brighton roof was retained. It has been described as "one of the best modern station reconstructions in Britain".
Patronage to London Bridge tailed off from a peak in the early 1970s. The station remained largely unchanged in the following decades, apart from the closure of Platform 7, which was removed from customer service in the 1990s when other platforms were extended to accommodate 12 car trains. The remaining platforms were not subsequently renumbered. The track previously running through the platform was kept as an express 'through' line for use by certain Charing Cross trains in the morning peak.
Construction of The Shard adjacent to the station between 2009 and 2013 created a new entrance and roof for the terminal level concourse and a new, larger bus station in front of it. This first step began a major transformation programme known as Masterplan, linked to the Thameslink programme and providing many other benefits.
Each platform is being demolished and rebuilt, moving progressively from the south to the north of the station. Work began in 2012 with the terminal platforms on the southern side of the station adjacent to St Thomas Street, reducing them in count from nine to six, and extending them to accommodate longer 12-car trains.
Through platforms will be increased from six to nine, all of which will accommodate 12 car trains, and allow the station to function as an emergency terminus for services from the West when needed. Historically, platforms 4, 5 & 6 served services bound for both Charing Cross station and the Thameslink core, creating conflicting moves and capacity problems during peak hours. In the new design, Charing Cross services have been assigned to four new dedicated platforms, and a final phase is now underway to complete construction of two dedicated platforms for Thameslink services which will resume calling at the station at significantly higher frequency in 2018. The three existing platforms for Cannon Street services on the north side of the station are also being rebuilt, with services temporarily running through the station without stopping until completion, also in 2018.
As part of the rebuilding works, the listed northern wall of the terminus train-shed was demolished and replaced with a new retaining wall, and the listed bays of the roof over the terminating platforms were dismantled and stored. Each of the rebuilt platforms has its own full length platform canopy.
A new station concourse underneath the platforms at street level has been built to improve circulation; this required the demolition of brick vaults between Stainer and Weston Streets, which themselves have become pedestrianised and parts of the new concourse itself. A wider route through the western arcade to Joiner Street and the underground station has also been created by relocating existing shops in to renovated barrel vaults. New retail facilities have been added to the concourse and the Western Arcade, which will open in 2018. The concourse will eventually extended all the way to the north edge of the station with new entrances to Tooley Street.
National Rail station
The station's current configuration is:
- Platforms 1–5 undergoing redevelopment are not currently in passenger service.
- Platforms 6 & 7 serve trains from Charing Cross to southeast London, Kent and East Sussex.
- Platforms 8 & 9 serve trains to London Waterloo East and Charing Cross.
- Platforms 10–15 serving mainly Southern services toward south London and the south coast.
The platforms are linked together by a large street-level concourse, offering a ticket office, retail facilities and waiting areas, with entrances on St Thomas Street and limited access to Tooley Street.
When redevelopment work is complete:
- Platforms 1, 2 and 3 will be rebuilt and reopened, once again serving trains to and from Cannon Street.
- Platforms 4 and 5 will open to serve Thameslink trains between the Brighton main line and the Thameslink core via Blackfriars.
- A large new main entrance to the station will open on Tooley Street, in addition to a new concourse area beneath the new platforms.
Mainline railways around the South Bank
As of December 2015 the typical off-peak service from the station is:
Between August 2016 and early 2018 no services to Cannon Street will call at this station.
- 14 trains per hour (tph) to London Charing Cross via Waterloo East
- 2 tph Dartford via Bexleyheath
- 2 tph Gravesend via Sidcup
- 2 tph Gillingham via Lewisham and Woolwich Arsenal
- 2 tph Hayes avoiding Lewisham
- 2 tph Sevenoaks via Orpington
- 2 tph Hastings via Tunbridge Wells
- 1 tph Dover via Ashford International
- 1 tph Ramsgate via Ashford International and Canterbury West
Monday to Saturday
- 2 tph to London Victoria via Crystal Palace
- 2 tph to West Croydon via Streatham
- 2 tph to Caterham via New Cross Gate
- 2 tph to Tattenham Corner
- 2 tph to Beckenham Junction via Crystal Palace
- 2 tph to Horsham via Redhill
- 1 tph to Uckfield via Oxted
- 2 tph to Brighton via Haywards Heath
- 2 tph to Sutton via West Croydon
- 3 tpd to Littlehampton via Hove
- 2 tpd to Eastbourne via Lewes
Between late December 2014 and early 2018, Thameslink services will not run through to/from London Blackfriars, but some Thameslink-branded services run from London Bridge to Brighton.
- 2 tph to Brighton
London Underground station
Tooley Street entrance
|Local authority||London Borough of Southwark|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||4|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|Original company||City & South London Railway|
|7 October 1999||Jubilee line started|
|Lists of stations|
|London Transport portal|
The Underground station, served by the Jubilee line and the Bank branch of the Northern line, is the sixth busiest on the Underground network and is the only station on the London Underground network with 'London' in its name (while the NR termini are named, for instance, 'London Waterloo' the Underground station is simply named 'Waterloo').
There are two platforms on each line and two main sets of escalators to and from the Tooley Street ticket hall. All four platforms are directly accessible from the Borough High Street entrance/exit.
The first underground station at London Bridge was part of the second section of the City & South London Railway. The company had been formed on 28 July 1884 with the intention of constructing a line under the Thames from King William Street to Stockwell via Elephant and Castle and Kennington, which opened on 18 December 1890. King William Street was found to be an awkwardly placed station, so it was replaced by Bank and London Bridge tube stations, with the line running on a more easterly alignment under the Thames. The newly placed line opened on 25 February 1900. An extension of the line to Moorgate opened at the same time.
The station entrance was originally at Three Castles House on the corner of London Bridge Street and Railway Approach, but has since been moved to Borough High Street and Tooley Street. The original entrance remained standing until March 2013 when it was demolished.
In the aftermath of the King's Cross fire in 1987, London Underground was recommended to investigate "passenger flow and congestion in stations and take remedial action". As a consequence, the congested Northern line platforms were rebuilt during the late 1990s, increasing the platform and circulation areas for the opening of the Jubilee Line Extension.
The station is arranged for right-hand running. This is because it is in a stretch of the Northern line (from just south of Borough to just south of Moorgate) where the northbound line is to the east of the southbound, instead of to the west.
The Jubilee line station is between Southwark and Bermondsey. It opened on 7 October 1999 as part of the Jubilee Line Extension, although trains had been running through non-stop from the previous month. To enable the Jubilee line to be constructed, months of major engineering works to relocate buried services in the surrounding streets had to be undertaken. A new ticket hall was created in the arches under the main-line station, providing improved interchange. During excavations a variety of Roman remains were found, including pottery and fragments of mosaics; some of these are now on display in the station. The Jubilee line platforms have been fitted with platform screen doors in common with all other stations on the extension.
Accidents and incidents
There have been several recorded accidents at London Bridge station, though relatively few of these have caused fatalities. The most serious accidents were:
- On 1 February 1884, the 12:05 pm London Bridge to Victoria, hauled by LB&SCR Terrier No.71 Wapping, collided with a D1 tank which was fouling the exit from the platform. Two carriages derailed.
- On 27 November 1895, a local train hauled by LB&SCR Terrier No. 70 Poplar collided with the buffer stops.
- On August 1926, a F1 class locomotive overran the buffers and crashed into a brewery.
- On 9 July 1928, B2X class locomotive No. B210 was in a sidelong collision with an electric multiple unit after the driver of B210 misread signals. Two people were killed and nine were injured, six seriously.
- On 23 January 1948, a train formed of a 6PAN and a 6PUL unit, which formed that day's 7:30 am service from Ore coupled with the 8:50 am from Seaford, was allowed to draw up to the inner home signal, where it should have stopped. Instead, it overran the signal and collided at a speed of between 15 and 20 mph (24 and 32 km/h) with an empty stock which had formed the 8:20 am from Brighton and was waiting to depart London Bridge's platform 14 for New Cross Gate. This train was formed of two 6PAN units. The train that was struck was forced through the buffers and demolished a bookstall. Two train crew and one passenger were killed and 34 people were injured.
- On 28 February 1992, a bomb planted by the Provisional IRA exploded at the station, injuring 29 people.
- On 3 June 2017, the station was closed for several hours during a terrorist attack on London Bridge and in nearby Borough Market.
London Buses routes 17, 21, 35, 40, 43, 47, 48, 133, 141, 149, 343, 381, 521 and RV1 and night routes N21, N35, N133, N199 and N381 serve the station; some via the bus station. River buses serve London Bridge City Pier.
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- Network Rail (2005b) – pg.18, paragraph 2.25
- "London Bridge Redevelopment" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- "Thameslink KO2 Presentation" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2016.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to London Bridge station.|
- London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
- Station information on London Bridge station from Network Rail
- More photographs of Underground station
Thameslink Programme publicity:
- "London Bridge redevelopment" (PDF). Publicity leaflet. Network Rail. 9 May 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "London Bridge – a vision for the future" (PDF). Public information display panel. Network Rail. 6 May 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "London Bridge – a bigger, better station" (PDF). Public information display panel. Network Rail. 9 May 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2013.