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London Bridge station

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Location  Southwark
Station code  LBG
Address  London SE1 3QX, UK
Height  67 m
Managed by  Network Rail
DfT category  A
Opened  14 December 1836
Owner  Network Rail
London Bridge station
Local authority  London Borough of Southwark
Number of platforms  9 (was 16) (numbered 7–15)
Architects  Rob Naybour, Andrew Weston, Chris Williamson, Steve Humphreys
Similar  London Victoria station, East Croydon station, London Underground, London Waterloo station, Charing Cross railway st

What s going on at london bridge station

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.

London bridge station


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. This meant that 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 hundred or so yards. Since then the station has had a most complex history, involving frequent rebuilding and changes of ownership.

Original London and Greenwich Railway station

The original station was 60 ft wide and 400 ft long and contained four tracks and was approached through a pair of iron gates. It was later covered with a wooden trussed pitched roof, 56 ft by 212 ft (17m by 65m), 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 for use in a planned railway museum.

However, 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 in July 1841, followed by the South Eastern Railway in December 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.

Joint station

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 South Eastern, and the 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. This line opened in 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 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 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, but this was not successful due to its site on the south bank of the river and so was turned into offices for the railway in 1892.

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 ft by 655 ft (27m by 200m), 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":

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 grouping of the railways of southern England to form the Southern Railway in 1923 at last brought the two adjoining stations under single ownership. 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. At the same time it installed colour light signalling. The Southern Railway electrified the Brighton Main Line services to Brighton and the South Coast in 1932/3, so that by 1936 90% of trains at the station were electric.

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, which took over responsibility for the station in 1948, continued the electrification of the lines from London Bridge during the 1950s and 1960s. However, 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.".

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 and other buildings in London Bridge Quarter between 2009 and 2013 created a new roof for the terminal level concourse and a new larger bus station in front of the station. These changes marked the beginning of a major transformation known as Masterplan to accommodate longer 12-car trains and provide many other benefits.

Historically, platforms 4, 5 and 6 served both Charing Cross and Thameslink trains, creating conflicts and capacity problems during peak hours. The first phase of redevelopment involved rebuilding the terminating platforms, previously numbered 8-16, reducing them in count from nine to six, and renumbering them 10-15. This work was completed in late 2014.

The space made available has been used to create brand new platforms in the centre part of the station; platforms 6, 7, 8 and 9, dedicated to Charing Cross services, three of which came in to use in late 2016, and 4 and 5 dedicated to Thameslink services set to resume in 2018. The eventual increase in through-platforms from six to nine will also allow London Bridge to function as an emergency terminus for services approaching the station from the west, and all platforms will be long enough to accommodate 12 car trains when needed. 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. New individual platform canopies have been built along with the new platforms.

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 progressively between 2016 and 2018.

A final phase is now underway to rebuild platforms 1, 2 and 3, which will serve Cannon Street trains once again in 2018, and complete platforms 4 and 5 to serve Thameslink, also set to resume in 2018 at a significantly higher frequency. The concourse will be expanded 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:

  • Platform 1-6 undergoing redevelopment are not currently in passenger service.
  • Platforms 7, 8 and 9 serve trains to/from Charing Cross southeast London, Kent and East Sussex
  • 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.
  • Platform 6 will join 7, 8, and 9 to provide additional capacity from Charing Cross.
  • Services

    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.

  • 14tph to London Charing Cross via Waterloo East
  • 2 trains per hour (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
  • Southern

    Monday to Saturday

  • 2tph to London Victoria via Crystal Palace
  • 2tph to West Croydon via Streatham
  • 2tph to Caterham via New Cross Gate
  • 2tph to Tattenham Corner
  • 2tph to Beckenham Junction via Crystal Palace
  • 2tph to Horsham via Redhill
  • 1tph to Uckfield via Oxted
  • Weekdays

  • 2tph to Brighton via Haywards Heath
  • 2tph to Sutton via West Croydon
  • 3tpd to Littlehampton via Hove
  • 2tpd to Eastbourne via Lewes
  • Thameslink

    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.

  • 2tph to Brighton
  • London Underground station

    The Underground station, served by the Northern line Bank branch and the Jubilee line, is the fifth 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.

    Northern line

    The station is located between Borough and Bank on the Northern line. The Northern line station opened on 25 February 1900 as part of the City & South London Railway's (C&SLR's) revised route from Borough to Bank and Moorgate.

    Originally Northern line trains ran to a terminus at King William Street bypassing London Bridge, but the construction of a new station at Bank to provide greater capacity and allow northward extension required a new tunnel alignment, and provided the opportunity for a station at London Bridge. 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.

    The Northern line platforms were rebuilt during the late 1990s to increase the platform and circulation areas in preparation for the opening of the Jubilee line. 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.

    Jubilee line

    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 36 recorded accidents at London Bridge station, the earliest on 6 December 1850 and the latest on 22 October 1956, but 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 to 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.
  • Connections

    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.


    London Bridge station Wikipedia