Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Bolina Road in Lewisham re-opened after a major transformation by Network Rail

Network Rail aren’t just replacing the railway infrastructure as part of the Thameslink Programme, they’ve also improved parts of the street surfacing.

Bolina Road was closed in January 2013 when Network Rail engineers began to build the Bermondsey Dive Under, a new railway junction that will uncork a major bottle-neck on the eastern approaches to London Bridge station. Network Rail agreed to rejuvenate the area after discussions with Lewisham Council, as part of the organisation’s commitment to sustainability and working together to support communities, as well as improve and maintain the railway.

At the time, Bolina Road was part of an area identified by the local community as in need of investment. The road itself was run-down, un-lit and unwelcoming, with a dilapidated bridge riddled with bullet-holes from the Second World War. After investment by the Thameslink Programme, which is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, the road has been transformed into a safe, well-lit community space, open to pedestrians and cyclists, with granite kerbs, pallas paving, improved lighting and a state of the art cycling surface.

Bob Wormald, Network Rail’s consents manager for highways, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do on the Thameslink Programme and the work we have done here at Bolina Road is testament to that. We would like to thank local residents for their patience while we built the Dive Under, which will improve journeys for the millions of passengers that travel into and out of London Bridge each year.”

Recently, the final tracks have been laid through the Dive Under ahead of two new lines coming into use for Southeastern services over the August bank holiday. Similar to a motorway flyover or underpass, the new railway junction will allow Southeastern trains travelling to and from Kent to ‘dive under’ the Sussex lines used by Southern and Thameslink trains, relieving the bottleneck of trains and improving the travel experience for millions of passengers travelling to and through the landmark new station.

The work at Bermondsey and the rebuilding of London Bridge station are both integral parts of the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme, which combines infrastructure upgrades, new technology and a fleet of brand new trains to provide better, more frequent and more reliable journeys to passengers across London and the south east of England.

More news from Network rail: Amtrak Executive Vice President Stephen Gardner visits Network Rail’s state-of-the-art control centre at Three Bridges in Sussex. He also visited London Bridge station to see how its reconstruction is coming along.

Amtrak Executive Vice President Stephen Gardner visited Network Rail’s state-of-the-art control centre at Three Bridges in Sussex and also went on a behind-the-scenes tour of London Bridge station – currently being rebuilt by Network Rail as part of the Thameslink Programme – as part of a fact-finding trip to see how investment is transforming the railways in and around the capital.

Amtrak owns and operates North America’s busiest railway route connecting Washington DC, New York and Boston. Faced with ageing infrastructure and congested major railway stations, such as Penn Station in New York, Amtrak is making the case for investment and is looking to Network Rail’s experience of delivering major upgrades such as the Thameslink Programme for inspiration.

Mr Gardner said: “It is life-changing investment that is happening here. The challenge for railways is always to have the presence of mind, amidst all the immediate demands, to understand the needs of the coming decades and to create the capacity to provide for them.

“What is particularly impressive here is the scale of the investment and the magnitude of concurrent projects. The UK is making a generational change to the network and the thought and care with which the work has been done and the ‘system view’ that has been taken is very important.

“For us in the States, we are just starting on the task of addressing the multitude of hundred year old assets that our railway relies on and we have to convince people to invest in renewing these and expanding capacity for the generations ahead.

“Our great-grandparents built much of our infrastructure and our parents and grandparents maintained it. It is now our job to rebuild it and expand it for the future.”

The Thameslink Programme is creating the capacity to run trains every two- to three minutes between London Blackfriars and St Pancras International and rebuilding London Bridge station, all part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan. Further afield, investment in Network Rail stations such as Birmingham New Street and King’s Cross, have succeeded in driving regeneration and economic growth.

Steve Knight, programme director for Network Rail, said: “Investment in the railway generates economic growth and supports new jobs and housing.

“Our work to rebuild London Bridge station is already having a positive impact on the local area, and when our work is complete in 2018 the improvement in train services will unlock further growth across London and the south east of England.

“Upgrading a Victorian railway is a huge challenge and we know that passengers have had a tough time as a result of our work, but it’s hugely positive that our colleagues in the States are looking to Network Rail and to Britain’s rail industry as an example of how investment in rail can deliver for passengers and the economy.”

As well as London Bridge, Mr Gardner, who is himself a former signaller (or dispatcher in US terminology), visited Network Rail’s Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre in Sussex, which controls the railway around London Bridge and up to St Pancras International. It features the first application of ETCS in-cab signalling and automatic train control on a high-intensity railway in the UK, which will enable up to 24 trains per hour to operate through central London from December 2018.

I’ll wrap this article up with some London Bus news from LOTS:

New 9.0m E20Ds for CTPlus route 394 (Nos 1272-82) and Epsom Buses route S3 (SD61-63) are now all delivered and should start to enter service  during the coming week. Next Saturday will see the cutback of route 100 to Barbican and the extension of 388 to the Elephant. Also from the 8th Metroline route 207 moves from Hayes to Greenford Garage, using VW-class Volvos off the 427 and 13 other VWs spare from Holloway. The former First London Scanias presently on the207 are being withdrawn.

After Arriva 724 had hourly short workings added between Harlow and Hertford from 12th March, rival Trustybus will double its 424 over the same corridor from 10th April.

As my regular readers will know, you can follow me on Twitter and Google Plus which is @CLondoner92

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