As I passed through London Bridge at around 23.00 this evening, surrounded by many workers clad in orange getting work underway where possible ahead of the formal 01.20 possession start time, I couldn’t help but feel a touch of sensitivity over what, after many years of hard work and planning, finally goes live tonight…
For both myself and Oly, being employed by one of the train operators most affected by it, London Bridge has played such a massive part of our lives and careers for so long, this is the final Big Bang! My first planning job on when I joined the railway back in mid 2012, was for the engineering work at Christmas to double the Tanners Hill flydown, an essential enabler for the London Bridge project, and since then through 2 companies, everything has been focussed on the redevelopment of London Bridge, and seeing various major engineering work and challenges through the various stages required in order to come to fruition.
Providing nothing disastrous happens, Tuesday 2nd January should see the completed station handed back to train operators and the commencement of various route learning trips for GTR services in the lead up to the introduction of the May 2018 timetable change, where that distant reality of an intense timetable of Thameslink services from the south to both the East Coast and Midland Mainlines finally becomes true.
So while wishing all readers of OTCM a very merry Christmas (and a happy new year if we are too lazy to post anything before then) let us also raise a glass to all those working over the festive period (Oly included, but not me, I’ll be on the sofa at home drinking beer and avoiding doing any modelling..) to make this massive project, among others, come to fruition over the next 10 days.
All the best!