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Published by membersonly, 2018-05-08 01:15:36


21st March 2015

Special supplement to e-BLN 1229 BLN Pictorial 21 March 2015
‘The View from the Shard’

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Our first BLN Pictorial ‘special’ features what was, until fairly recently, a rarely seen aerial tour of the London Bridge area, with photographs by our
member David Guy who took the opportunity to visit the Shard, the 87-storey skyscraper adjacent to London Bridge station. David thoroughly
recommends this visit, which is bookable in advance and costs £24.95 for adult entrance (see BLN 1226.258) . Click here for more details and booking.
Meanwhile, on to the railways – all photographs in this feature are of course © David Guy and are reproduced with thanks for his permission. David’s visit
was on 22 February 2014 so the Thameslink programme (of which the London Bridge redevelopment is a major part) has moved on considerably since

The new platform and track layout for the whole area bounded by Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Blackfriars, New Cross and South Bermondsey was
shown in the schematic diagram London_se.pdf sent out with e-BLN 1218. Anyone who has mislaid this attachment is welcome to click here to email us
and request a copy – please specify whether you would like the single page version London_se.pdf or the two page London_se_print.pdf for a more
legible print-friendly format (or even both).

The adjacent London Bridge station is seen in the picture on the previous page, looking eastwards, with work well in hand on the redevelopment of the
‘Brighton’ (former LB&SCR) side, and the conversion of former terminal platforms 7 (closed in the early 1990s), 8 and 9 into through platforms.

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Looking further east, the Shard gives an excellent view of the eight track approach to London Bridge from Bermondsey. This route was first OP 14
December 1836, as a simple double track line by the London and Greenwich Railway (L&GR) after several months’ delay while the viaduct was
constructed from the temporary terminus at Spa Road, Bermondsey which was OP 8 February 1836. As so often, the cost of building the viaduct through
this crowded urban area was underestimated and the L&GR was unable to fund the originally intended joint station at London Bridge for itself and the
London and Croydon Railway (L&CR), precursor of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, resulting in the sale of some land adjacent to the
planned joint station to the L&CR so that it could build its own station. The subsequent complex development of London Bridge (including the very
sensible swapping of stations so that L&CR trains didn’t have to cross the L&GR route) is outside the scope of this account; suffice it to say that the left
hand photograph of the eastern approach to London Bridge clearly shows the path of the L&GR whose viaduct, nearly 200 years later, has expanded to
eight tracks as far as Blue Anchor Jct. in Bermondsey, the point at which the L&CR and L&GR routes diverge. The closer view in the right hand photograph
shows the complex track layout on the station approach, with its four ‘scissors’ crossovers allowing access to and from any platform; leading to three
fully reversibly signalled lines to the right in the distance. It also shows how London Bridge Signal Box (right side of right hand picture) needs to be
demolished to enable platform 15 to be completed.

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This vertiginous view of the west end of London Bridge, taken at dusk, shows just how busy the station can be at the height of the evening rush hour. All
but two of the through South Eastern side platforms are occupied, with trains running at very short headways and stopping for less than a minute despite
the large number of passengers alighting and boarding.

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The newly converted through platforms will provide additional paths westwards towards Charing Cross using a new double track viaduct which cuts
through densely packed buildings to the south of the existing alignment at Borough Market Jct., which can be seen in the photograph below, looking
northwest from the Shard. As this BBC report put it : “The historic Wheatsheaf pub has lost its top floor, while the Globe pub now finds itself
ignominiously wedged in between the brick arches of the old line and the steel frame of the new”. The curve to the right leads to Cannon Street station
and the one across the top of the picture is the once rarely used curve from Cannon Street to Metropolitan Jct. now used by seven late night/early
morning workings from Charing Cross (see PSUL for details). The original plan was to close this curve as part of the Thameslink upgrade but as the request
of the TOCs it is being retained, mainly for ECS workings (BLN 1218.1434). The two passing trains are on the future 'Thameslink' lines which will be slewed
north at Metropolitan Jct. To the left, the new and currently trackless viaduct is to be used by Charing Cross services.

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The viewing gallery at the Shard, at 244.3 metres (802 ft), allows far more than the immediate surroundings of London Bridge to be seen, with the limit
reportedly up to 40 miles away. Looking north east from The Shard, our dedicated member, while taking advantage of the unique aerial view of the
Tower of London just across the Thames (below left), was able to include a 4-car EMU on the approach to Fenchurch Street station (centre background)
with the adjacent Docklands Light Railway tracks. This section of line, eventually part of the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway, was OP by the London
and Blackwall Railway in 1841, and like the London & Greenwich, reached its terminus by a long viaduct.

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Two more evening shots make the railways stand out, if anything more clearly than in the daytime, as black pathways through the otherwise brightly lit
city. The left hand picture shows the South Eastern main line heading towards Charing Cross, which is top centre of the picture to the right of the London
Eye and on the opposite bank of the Thames, and the Borough Market Jct./Metropolitan Jct./Cannon Street triangle lower right. The right hand photo
shows the London & Greenwich/London & Croydon viaduct extending eastwards, looking like the Victorian equivalent of an urban motorway!

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The final photograph from David’s collection (entitled ‘Waterloo Sunset’ – which might explain some Kinks in the alignment in the foreground) shows the
view north west from London Bridge. As well as the tourist hotspots like the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament there is much of railway interest.
In the foreground at the bottom of the picture is the curve heading from Metropolitan Jct. to Blackfriars Jct. where it connects with the former London
Chatham & Dover Railway line from Blackfriars (OP 1886 as St Pauls) to Herne Hill. On the former South Eastern Railway main line the four platforms of
Waterloo East can be seen north of the bridge under the Blackfriars-Herne Hill line. Just to the left of Waterloo East can be seen the expanse of the main
Waterloo Station (OP 11 July 1848 by the London & South Western Railway), with the former Waterloo International Eurostar station (OP 14 November
1994, CP 13 November 2007) now in partial use by South West Trains, just beyond it. To the right of the London Eye can be seen Hungerford Bridge
across the Thames, taking the railway into Charing Cross station (OP 11 January 1864), terminus of the South Eastern Railway. The tall structures either
side of Hungerford Bridge are the supporting pylons for the Golden Jubilee Bridges, two footbridges opened in 2002 to replace the increasingly decrepit
original on the downstream (right of the photo) side.

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