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Southwark Park 'ghost' station uncovered by Thameslink workers

Greg Thornett, Project Manager, looks at the remains of Southwark Park station, hidden in the catacombs under the railway in Bermondsey

The ghostly remains of a long-lost South London railway station – closed 100 years ago - have been uncovered by engineers constructing the Bermondsey Dive Under, as part of the Thameslink Programme.

Southwark Park station, perched on a viaduct above Rotherhithe New Road, only served passengers from 1902 to 1915 before it closed for good.

Now engineers working on a massive project to rebuild the railway in Bermondsey have rediscovered the former ticket hall and platforms.

Project Manager Greg Thornett said: ““The Bermondsey Dive Under is a key part of the Thameslink Programme, creating the railway necessary to provide a frequent and reliable service through London Bridge and make a huge difference to passengers’ journeys , cutting journey times and making the services more reliable.

“We uncovered the footings for the former platforms while we were preparing the top of the viaduct for new track and we are now working up in the roof space of the former ticket hall to fill in the old sky lights, ready to carry the final track alignment.

“Much of the existing stretch of viaduct will be replaced by the ramps into and out of the new dive under, but the arch that used to house the old booking hall will remain.”

The Government-sponsored £6.5bn Thameslink Programme is rebuilding much of the railway from New Cross Gate through London Bridge and on to Blackfriars and St Pancras. The Bermondsey Dive Under will see two Victorian viaducts partially-demolished and rebuilt to allow Charing Cross trains from South East London and Kent to dive down to almost street level, under a new route carrying Thameslink services from Croydon, and back up again.

In addition the same team, from Network Rail and contractor Skanska, are rebuilding 20 bridges between New Cross and Waterloo East to increase their strength.

Greg Thornett added: “Although the old viaducts will be replaced by modern structures, they are designed to remain in keeping with the older architecture. It’s exciting to see this transformation and it will be a real sense of achievement to see trains running on it.”

Southwark Park station was one of several in the area, including Spa Road, closed as a result of competition from trams and buses and the coming of the First World War.

The Bermondsey Dive Under is situated where the former Bricklayers Arms branch left the main line and a new access road follows the former trackbed under the remaining viaducts.

The site offices sit on the stub end of the trackbed leading towards the former locomotive shed.

The 20 bridges being replaced are of an old design where the rails are carried on timber baulks. These need replacing every 5-10 years so the newer structures will be stronger and last longer between maintenance.

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