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Network Rail chief: New London Bridge concourse not enough to meet the demand in 50 years time

Network Rail: New London Bridge concourse not enough. Credit: PA

The head of Network Rail says the new concourse at one of the capital's busiest railways will not solve commuter problems for the next 50 year.

Two thirds of the development at London Bridge station was unveiled on Monday which will enable passengers to access all platforms from one level for the first time.

But Mark Carne, who was speaking at the opening of the new concourse, said he was not confident that it would meet the needs of passengers in the long term. Credit: PA

But Mark Carne, who was speaking at the opening of the new concourse, said he was not confident that it would meet the needs of passengers in the long term.

There's no doubt at all that this is not going to meet the demand for 50 years.

As the passenger demand continues to grow we will need to continue to invest and there will need to be significant investment in the railways over the next 20 years just to keep pace.

Since this project was originally approved the passenger numbers have grown by 35%.

So it's a constant challenge to keep pace with demand but that's a problem of success and I think Britain's railways are a huge success story.

– Head of Network Rail Mark Carne

Mr Carne said that there had been a "staggering" growth in passenger numbers on services that pass through London Bridge of 5% to 6% every year.

Network Rail: New London Bridge concourse not enough. Credit: PA

Over the bank holiday weekend the project's construction site was moved away from the Southern and future Thameslink platforms to focus on the north of the station, used by Southeastern.

Trains into Charing Cross have now begun calling at London Bridge for the first time since January 2015, but Cannon Street trains stopped serving the station on Friday and will not resume until January 2018.

Over the bank holiday weekend the project's construction site was moved away from the Southern and future Thameslink platforms to focus on the north of the station, used by Southeastern. Trains into Charing Cross have now begun calling at London Bridge for the first time since January 2015, but Cannon Street trains stopped serving the station on Friday and will not resume until January 2018. Credit: PA

The south London station has suffered incidents of severe overcrowding since work began four years ago. Reconfiguring the complex track layout around the station has exacerbated the impact of any delays.

Network Rail (NR), which owns and operates Britain's railway tracks, signals and busiest stations, including London Bridge, said the improvements will allow up to 24 Thameslink trains an hour to run through the capital - equivalent to one every two to three minutes - compared with just eight previously.

There will also be more connections to Gatwick and Luton airports, and beyond to Peterborough and Cambridge.

Mr Carne said he was "very excited" about the changes that had been made and apologised to passengers who had been affected by the delays.

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