Despite the fact the rebuilt London Bridge station has been open some time now I’m still amazed at the transformation. As a Londoner I used to pass through its narrow confines on a regular basis and I always cursed that narrow, claustrophobic footbridge and those long corridors up from the tube station. I’ve watched and photographed the redevelopment from start to finish, so here’s a selection of pictures from 1989 to the present day that show just how much the place has changed.
This blog will take time to complete as there’s many more pictures to dig out of the archive, but here’s a start.
Part 1. The BR years.
Its the 2nd September 1989 and Motor Luggage Van (MLV) is being loaded with mail in sacks as it sits at platform 13. The area’s full of red painted Royal Mail BRUTES (British Rail Universal Trolley Equipment) which were a once familiar site at stations up and down the country. Notice the loco release crossover, this was the only platform equipped with them.
Loaded with mail and ready to roll, MLV 9009 waits for the road later that same day. My memory’s hazy now but this could have been working to Tonbridge, or Dover.
Almost a year later, on the 19th May 1990, BR design 4 EPB No 5610 leads a Southern design unit into platform 3 after leaving London Cannon St. The headcode indicates the unit was working to Gillingham or Ramsgate (my money’s on Gillingham).
It’s the 31st August 1991 and that bank holiday Cannon St was closed to allow for engineering work to take place. Here’s one of the Southern regions ‘Cromptons’, 33012 with a rake of 4-wheel engineers wagons sitting in platform 2.
Moving forward to the 20th May 1994 is Southern design 4EPB 5467, sitting in the up passenger loop, waiting to head ECS to Charing Cross to pick up passengers heading home out of the city.
Part 2. Privatisation and the last days of the Mk1 DMU/EMU fleets.
The BR built Mark I fleets soldiered on at London Bridge until the mid 2000s. Here’s a few shots showing their lives and times.
Connex liveried 4-VEP 3492 arrives at London Bridge from Cannon St. The French operator had lost the franchise the previous November but this graffiti covered example is typical of the state their trains got into! This telephoto lens shot shows off the curvature of the old platforms at London Bridge very well.
‘Thumper’ DEMU 205032 sits at platform 9 inside the old London, Brighton and South Coast Rly terminus (the South side of London Bridge) on the 9th September 2004.
205032 sits empty at platform 8 on the 27th November 2004 after returning on “The last Thump” railtour to commemorate the demise of the class. This was one of the final units left in traffic. They were all withdrawn the next month. 032 is preserved at the Dartmoor Railway.
on April 1st 2005 Southern liveried 4-CIG 1854 sits across the platform from 4-VOP 3911 which was still in Connex livery. The end was already in sight for these units as withdrawals were happening at a steady pace. The picture shows off the ugly footbridge which linked both sides of the station in all its ‘glory’ (and naff cladding).
The London skyline doesn’t look like this anymore! On the 5th April 2005 a pair of VEPs with Connex liveried 3482 at the rear approach London Bridge from the East. The approaches have now been heavily remodelled as part of the station rebuilding.
Almost a year after the ‘Last Thump’ London Bridge bid farewell to the Mk1 EMU’s with the ‘Sussex Slammer’ railtour. You can find the full gallery and history of the units involved in this gallery on my Zenfolio website, but here’s a picture of the tour at London Bridge.
4-VEP 3514 stands in the old LBSC terminus at London Bridge whilst working the ‘Sussex Slammer’ railtour on the 19th November 2005.
The very last Mk1 EMU’s ran on Southern rails the following week on the 26th November 2005. You can find pictures here.
Part 3. Change is coming…
The old LBSC terminus seen on the 1st December 2008, only a few years before redevelopment started and the scene changed forever – not to mention the skyline as the ‘Shard’ was yet to appear…
A view from the East of the 6 through platforms carrying services From Charing Cross, Cannon St and Blackfriars. The old slam door trains have been replaced by the BR built Class 466 ‘Networker’ (left) introduced between 1991-93 and the later Class 376 ‘Electrostars’ (right) built by Bombardier and introduced in 2004-05
Part 4. The rebuilding starts. Here’s a series of shots taken on 11th September 2012
A view showing the (almost) completed Shard dominating the skyline. Meanwhile, blue sheeting and scaffolding has appeared over the LBSC roof in preparation for demolition.
Building the crash-deck that will protect trains and passengers whilst the roof is dismantled.
On the 12th March 2013 passengers watch the information screens inside the footbridge across the platforms (you can see the outside of it in the last picture). This section between platforms 1-6 was slightly wider but was always cramped as the people stood waiting would impede the flow of passengers heading for their trains.