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Thursday, May 28, 2020

South East London lines to close for 9 days over the summer

Network Rail is giving passengers advance warning that the railway through Hither Green, in South East London, will be closed for nine days from Saturday 25 July to Sunday 2 August as it completes signalling upgrades through the area.

The current 1970s signalling system, which controls the movement of trains on the Bromley North, Sidcup branches and main line through Hither Green, is being completely replaced with a modern, more reliable system.

The work taking place over the nine days is the commissioning of the new signalling equipment and the transfer of control from London Bridge Area Signalling Centre to Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre. It will mark the end for the old signalling location, which has been in continuous use since 1975.

The work is a key part of Network Rail’s £250 million investment to improve signalling and track reliability through the busy Lewisham area of South East London.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail route director for Kent, said: “This work is so important for delivering a reliable railway for the many passengers who travel through this area. The signalling system is very old and in urgent need of upgrade.

“We wanted to get this work done over Easter but, because technicians can’t work closely together for long periods, it is going to take double the amount of time it would normally take to finish the job.

“We have taken the decision to complete the work in the summer holidays because we wanted to give those passengers who are still travelling, many of them critical workers, enough time to plan ahead. We also need time to put alternative travel options in place, such as an enhanced bus replacement service.”

Buses will replace trains on affected routes for the nine days, with services resuming on Monday, 3 August. Extra buses will be laid on to make sure social distancing can be achieved on the replacement services. Tickets will be accepted on alternative routes and Transport for London services, which will also be increased to ensure passengers travelling can maintain a two-metre distance.

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