Greenwich line rail users will be able to catch direct trains to Charing Cross again – but for three days only at the start of May.
The last trains from Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich and Deptford to the West End terminal ran in January 2015, after which the link was severed as part of the Thameslink Programme to revamp London Bridge station.
Since then, all trains have run to and from Cannon Street – which has also meant many weekends (and some weekdays) without trains at all when that terminal has been closed for engineering work.
But the new track layout features a connection between Charing Cross and the Greenwich branch for occasional use – and it will be brought into service over the May Day holiday weekend when major works close all lines through Hither Green and Lewisham.
Eight trains an hour will serve the Greenwich line in each direction on 5, 6 and 7 May, with six stopping at all stations and two at Greenwich alone. (Check the times for yourself on Real Time Trains.)
The Charing Cross services were withdrawn to accommodate new lines to Blackfriars, and to prevent trains heading to and from Greenwich crossing the new tracks and holding up other services.
But these trains will be the only through services running via London Bridge all bank holiday weekend, so will have the tracks to themselves.
Two trains per hour will run a convoluted route to Orpington to provide some sort of service through both Sidcup and Chislehurst, using a connection between Lee and Grove Park that rarely sees passenger trains.
The major closure around Lewisham is for signalling works, with Greenwich station as a hub for rail replacement buses that weekend.
Thameslink is coming too
New timetables recently uploaded also confirm the start of Thameslink services on the Greenwich line from May, with two trains each hour between Rainham, Kent and Luton running from Monday 21 May, running via London Bridge, Blackfriars, Farringdon and West Hampstead.
The first day of Thameslink services, Sunday 20 May, is due to see trains run to Kentish Town.
Instead of six Cannon Street trains per hour, Greenwich line stations will have two Luton trains and four Cannon Street trains. Charlton, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood and Slade Green stations will have those plus two Charing Cross trains; Woolwich Dockyard, Belvedere and Erith won’t get the Thameslink trains – they will get the four Cannon Street trains and two Charing Cross trains.
After three years of work, railway bosses are now allowing the public to test out some of the new Thameslink services ahead of their official launch.
Monday saw the first trains from Cambridge and Peterborough run through London Bridge, with Thameslink officials handing out cupcakes to the first passengers. Whether Greenwich line passengers will get the same sweet treats in May remains to be seen.