Saturday, 7 April 2018

The Grand Tour (three)

Thameslink 2000, Thameslink 2018

This is what they said, way back then, when the project was ALREADY running years late!

The £800m Thameslink 2000 scheme will transform services across the whole of the south-east of the UK when it is complete, expected to be 2006. It requires upgrading most of the principal commuter routes feeding into London, the country’s largest city.
However, January 2003 saw the project stalled after the Government rejected Railtrack’s (now Network Rail’s) plans to upgrade the cross-London route. NR and the Strategic Rail Authority now have to go back to the drawing board to develop new plans, a process that could put the project back by several years.
Well now, there is a fighting chance that it will all be finished sometime next year almost 20 years late. To celebrate that delay, GoVia, the rail company that runs "Thameslink", is labelling its new-look timetable as ...
... RailPlan 20/20!

For those who are not all that familiar with the London scene, the "new" Thameslink will bring 24 trains an hour (at peak) through the tunnels that link St Pancras with Blackfriars - eventually.

For some considerable time now there have been no trains from London Bridge through the tunnels but things will no change progressively.

So as part of his "Grand Tour", fbb decided to take a look at the "fettled-up" London Bridge station and a take a new train through to St Pancras; hence the RV1 from Waterloo.

The bus deposited your chubby blogger in Tooley Street which runs along the northern side of the station.
RV1 continues via Tower Bridge to its Tower Gateway terminus.
Meanwhile, back at London Bridge:-
The traditional entrance to the station was where the Shard now stands ...
In simple terms, a brand-new booking hall and entrance has been created further east linking St Thomas Street and Tooley Street.
But the diagram does not do justice to the real thing.

fbb left the RV1 and crossed Tooley Street and entered a rather dingy tunnel with a departure board  at the end.
This is what is left of a real road, bridged when the line was built. Welcome to Joiner Street.
Not impressive yet.
But turn first left and you enter the new "colonnade".Three parallel rows of arches, a combination of ancient (brick) and modern (concrete) with shop units on the outside two.
"Impressive" begins here! Doubly so because here is where we find the toilets AND THEY ARE FREE!
fbb was relieved (in both ways!). Victoria, 50p; London Bridge, free - DAFT but much appreciated!

It will all look so much better when it is finished!
This tunnel leads into the huge new "Eastern" concourse. And by "huge" fbb means "hugely huge".

This is the entrance from St Thomas Street passing under the "terminating" platforms which always were, and still are, at the lower level than the "through" lines. 
"Impressive" is becoming "more impressive".

But once "fully in" fbb was, as they say, blown away. At 1145 it was almost empty and rather surreal. This is the view looking towards the Tooley Street entrance once inside the gateline.
Banks of escalators and stairs lead up to the platforms, access to the left of us; access to the right of us and onward trod the fat bus bloke. [spot the poetic reference!].

Impressive wins hands down!

This is what the original entrance looked like in the "good old days", i.e. BEFORE the previous rebuild which was in 1978.
And this is the pre-Shard, pre Thameslink Whenever view of he bus/taxi terminal area ...
... part of the 1970s "improvements". The original (1930s original) was nicer all-round!
There is an excellent history of the station, compiled by Kent Rail (here)

On line is a tasty compilation picture with the above picture merged with today's Shard-foot view.

So; tomorrow (at last!) fbb catches a train!

 Next Grand Tour blog : Sunday 8th April 

2 comments:

  1. https://londonist.com/london/transport/station-toilets-to-go-free

    Victoria free to prevent for a while

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