Eastbourne commuters face months of disruption following the closure of London Bridge train station for building works.
London Bridge is one of the busiest railway stations in the capital, with 120,000 passengers passing through it every morning, including many people who have made the journey from the Sussex coast.
Building works at London Bridge are expected to take up to three years, during which time the majority of trains won’t be stopping at that station. Commuters from across the South East will be affected from January 2015 until the following August, when Charing Cross services won’t be able to stop at London Bridge and from August 2016 for two years when Cannon Street services won’t be able to stop there either.
The work is a huge engineering feat that will see the largest re-build of a station undertaken by Network Rail costing £1.6bn.
Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said, “This is a challenge for all of us who travel to and from London but I appreciate it will, ultimately, lead to a better service to London Bridge and other stations in the capital. I will be monitoring the whole process very closely to ensure they remain on schedule.”
Dave Ward from Network Rail says it’s not possible to shut the station but says it’s been a “big, big job for three or four years – it’s one you only come across once in a lifetime”.
Commuters fear both the disrupted journeys and potential extra costs. Some even worry – due to the duration of the disruption – it will have an impact on house prices in Kent and Sussex.
Southeastern says it is working with other operators to ensure that customers are not out of pocket while Network Rail is doing the work but say the final decision is for the Department for Transport. It also plans to produce a timetable – taking into account the London Bridge works – next week.