London Bridge signalling centre closes and £81m signalling scheme hits halfway point in South London
An £81m scheme by Network Rail to renew infrastructure in the Hither Green area of South London has reached halfway and is on track to hand back a much-improved railway for passengers, while also marking the end of London Bridge Area Signalling Centre as an operational location.
The project means the whole main line from Charing Cross and St Pancras International to Chislehurst is under the control of Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre near Gatwick in Sussex, signalled from modern WestCAD workstations.
Network Rail and its contractors have been on site at Hither Green since Saturday morning replacing the 1976-built signalling equipment, which was reaching the end of its life and increasingly difficult to maintain or operate reliably. Teams are installing 92 LED signal heads, and replacing almost 90 track circuits with 262 Frauscher axle counters, along with enhancing 86 sets of points and laying 24km of power cable and 19km of fibre telecoms cable.
In addition, the local power supply is being upgraded and made more resilient and turnback facilities are being put in place at Hither Green, Grove Park and Lee.
In addition to the new signalling equipment, a great deal of work is being undertaken at stations, from new drainage and platform edging at Chislehurst, to ongoing work at Hither Green station itself, which is getting new platforms and canopies.
London Bridge ASC was built in 1974 with an NX panel and first started signalling trains in 1975, absorbing a variety of smaller boxes, from the two-man level-frame Borough Market Junction, to the 1962-era panel at Hither Green. At its largest it was one of the busiest boxes on the whole railway, controlling trains from Charing Cross on the routes out to Kent through Greenwich, Lewisham, Grove Park, and the four tracks down to Norwood Junction.
Some of its equipment is being retained for use as spares elsewhere on the network and the building itself is being assessed to see what use it can be put to.
Three Bridges control centre now fringes with Ashford IECC and Victoria ASC at Chislehurst.
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From the GRES committee – We have now been advised to stop all unnecessary social contact. In the light of this advice the Committee has decided to immediately suspend all future GRES and modelling meetings. We don’t know how long these measures will last and when we will be able to meet again but we will keep all members closely advised when normal service is resumed. May we wish everyone strength and well-being during these difficult times. Best wishes for the future and stay healthy.
Henry Harryman, GRES Secretary
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