Thameslink London Bridge Last Train - Too Early?

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hkstudent

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It is noticed that the last Thameslink train passes through London Bridge at 2335, and then no more.

However, the last train from London Bridge to East Croydon is at 0035, while the last Southeastern train passes through London Bridge at about 00:10 during weekdays and 01:00 during weekends.

Is there any reason why the 24-hour Thameslink services don't call at London Bridge when the station is still opening, given that London Bridge is a key hub for transiting from the two airports (Luton and Gatwick) to south-east London?
 
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At the moment I'd imagine it can't matter much

However pre covid I drove through the station on a TL service without stopping possibly rare ish as most go via streatham and herne hill. Blackfriars is presumably close enough. Farringdon and City TL shut as well
 

londonteacher

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Engineering. After Blackfriars the service could be diverted either way so they don't have a stop between Blackfriars and East Croydon.
 

hkstudent

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Engineering. After Blackfriars the service could be diverted either way so they don't have a stop between Blackfriars and East Croydon.
Which section requires that at 2330 - 0030?
Obviously that LBG - ECR section won't be, as there will still be Southern service...
 

Mcr Warrior

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Which section requires that at 2330 - 0030?
Obviously that LBG - ECR section won't be, as there will still be Southern service...
Might it be the short section between Blackfriars and London Bridge (via Metropolitan Junction)?
 
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There are standard section 5 possessions at London Bridge that block the Thameslink route from Blackfriars Junction to Bricklayers Arms Junction from around 0001 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

That's why all Thameslink services in the WTT are timed to go via Streatham and Tulse Hill after that time.

The section 5 possessions can get ammended to allow the Thameslink services to run via London Bridge if there is a block affecting the line through Tulse Hill or Herne Hill and so forth.

They may be section 4 possessions actually, I can't remember for certain.
 

JonathanH

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The section 5 possessions can get ammended to allow the Thameslink services to run via London Bridge if there is a block affecting the line through Tulse Hill or Herne Hill and so forth.
Yes, although even then it is not uncommon for the trains to go through the 'Charing Cross' platforms non stop and use Spa Road Junction rather than the Thameslink platforms 4/5.
 
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Yes, although even then it is not uncommon for the trains to go through the 'Charing Cross' platforms non stop and use Spa Road Junction rather than the Thameslink platforms 4/5.
That's what I meant, as sometimes the Tuesday and Wednesday can be ammended to have platforms 6-9 open for thameslink services to pass through.
 

londonteacher

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Which section requires that at 2330 - 0030?
Obviously that LBG - ECR section won't be, as there will still be Southern service...
Not necessarily. Replacement buses could be used and it isn't uncommon people to be asked to travel to Victoria rather than London Bridge for the last few services.
 

DPQ

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It's section 4 opportunities not section 5. (Also known as whitespace)

The permanent (LTP) base timetable cannot have trains going through section 4 opportunities.

As such Thameslink trains cannot be planned to run via London Bridge during these times.
 
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It's section 4 opportunities not section 5. (Also known as whitespace)

The permanent (LTP) base timetable cannot have trains going through section 4 opportunities.

As such Thameslink trains cannot be planned to run via London Bridge during these times.
I'm well aware of the difference between Sections 4's and 5's. I just couldn't remember if the London Bridge ones were section 4's or 5's as they can change and don't always include areas that are part of the section 4 opportunity.
 

DPQ

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I'm well aware of the difference between Sections 4's and 5's. I just couldn't remember if the London Bridge ones were section 4's or 5's as they can change and don't always include areas that are part of the section 4 opportunity.

Apologies, it was more of an open statement than a correction.

If it were section 5 then arguably Thameslink would be planned that way (calling London Bridge) and when possessions were taken passengers would be expected to take a Southern service (heading South) or the tube (heading north).
 
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Apologies, it was more of an open statement than a correction.

If it were section 5 then arguably Thameslink would be planned that way (calling London Bridge) and when possessions were taken passengers would be expected to take a Southern service (heading South) or the tube (heading north).
No worries! That was a bit of a blunt statement on my part so I apologise too.

I think most of the time the possession is a section 4, but as sometimes the possessions can be ammended at London Bridge depending on larger engineering works being required or other possessions going on in Kent and Sussex it can become a Section 5.
 

Watershed

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No worries! That was a bit of a blunt statement on my part so I apologise too.

I think most of the time the possession is a section 4, but as sometimes the possessions can be ammended at London Bridge depending on larger engineering works being required or other possessions going on in Kent and Sussex it can become a Section 5.
Yes, in corridors where there are multiple diversionary routes, one will normally always be kept available (though not necessarily Saturday night to Sunday morning).

In places like here where it's not a question of signal box opening times, the section 4s are really there to accommodate engineering work without causing regular disruption, so it follows that not all section 4 time will necessarily be used.
 
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Yes, in corridors like this where there are multiple diversionary routes, one will normally always be kept available (though not necessarily Saturday night to Sunday morning).
Very true. But the London Bridge Section 4's I'm talking about are midweek anyway, so don't affect saturday night or Sunday morning.
 

Watershed

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Very true. But the London Bridge Section 4's I'm talking about are midweek anyway, so don't affect saturday night or Sunday morning.
Yes, you do get some unusual weeknight section 4s, I suppose it means that you can keep that route open as a diversionary option for when other routes have their section 4/5s.
 

etr221

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Is there a reason for the standard possessions that preclude Thameslink services running via London Bridge at a time (2330-0030/0100) when other services are running to/from/via London Bridge? A time period when I would expect the end of normal day service to be provided (as it is on other London Bridge routes)?
 

Watershed

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Is there a reason for the standard possessions that preclude Thameslink services running via London Bridge at a time (2330-0030/0100) when other services are running to/from/via London Bridge? A time period when I would expect the end of normal day service to be provided (as it is on other London Bridge routes)?
For want of a more technical way of putting it, the line is deemed 'shut' between Blackfriars Jn and Metropolitan Jn - the spur used by Thameslink services to travel from Blackfriars to Borough Market and London Bridge.

This happens from 23:45 to 05:25 on Monday-Friday nights (there are closures on Saturday and Sunday nights too).

The spur is kept open when the diversionary route via Herne Hill and Streatham is shut for engineering works. However, that is not normally the case, and therefore even if the services occasionally run via London Bridge, so you cannot plan for the service to call there on a regular basis - it would fail to do so perhaps 5 out of every 6 weeks.
 
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At London Bridge the possession changes as well, on Tuesday and Wednesday the Charing Cross side of London Bridge is blocked as well as the Thameslink, and on Thursday and Friday it switches to the Cannon Street side of London Bridge as well as the Thameslink.
 

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Also thameslink can only stop at platforms 3-4-5-6, we can not call at the high numbered platforms at high level. So if they put in advertised calls but then are diverted you would need to supply replacement buses from blackfriars through to east Croydon.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Might it be the short section between Blackfriars and London Bridge (via Metropolitan Junction)?

For want of a more technical way of putting it, the line is deemed 'shut' between Blackfriars Jn and Metropolitan Jn - the spur used by Thameslink services to travel from Blackfriars to Borough Market and London Bridge.

This happens from 23:45 to 05:25 on Monday-Friday nights (there are closures on Saturday and Sunday nights too).
Thanks for confirming.

Could someone also explain (in non technical terms) the significance of (and difference between) so-called "Section 4" and "Section 5" possessions, as previously mentioned in this thread?
 

30907

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Which section requires that at 2330 - 0030?
Obviously that LBG - ECR section won't be, as there will still be Southern service...
Think you've been answered, but for LBG-ECR Southern services can be diverted via Tulse Hill, which TL cannot access.
 

Watershed

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Thanks for confirming.

Could someone also explain (in non technical terms) the significance of (and difference between) so-called "Section 4" and "Section 5" possessions, as previously mentioned in this thread?
Section 4 of the Engineering Access Statement (previously known as the Rules of the Route) defines the times when a route is considered open for traffic. Trains can't normally be planned to run in the long-term timetable, i.e. the one that changes each May and December, at a time when the route in question is closed as per the section 4 times.

Section 4 times reflect both the need for regular engineering access time, as well as limitations imposed by signal box opening times (the latter is particularly a constraint on lines with lots of mechanical signal boxes, e.g. the Cumbrian Coast line).

Section 5 of the EAS refers to regular possessions infringing on the normal section 4 route opening hours. These are typically cyclical and mid-week, for example every 6 weeks from 23:30 to 05:30 on Monday-Thursday nights.

Because these possessions will tend to disrupt trains in the WTT, they are co-ordinated such that in areas with multiple diversionary routes, one route is always kept open. Sometimes this will require an amendment to normal section 4 times, so that trains can travel over an otherwise closed line.

There is also section 7 of the EAS, which gives details of ad-hoc possessions. These are typically for bigger pieces of engineering work, for example weekend or bank holiday closures. Here there may be a total block on traffic.

So to come back to the thread title, the reason that late evening Thameslink services do not call at London Bridge is that the Blackfriars-London Bridge chord is closed overnight as per section 4 times, and thus they will not travel via London Bridge except when the route via Herne Hill and Streatham is closed by a section 5 (or, exceptionally, a section 7) possession.
 

etr221

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While the situation has been clarified, nobody has actually answered my question as to why...

The bottom line seems to be that the railway is being run for the engineers, rather than its customers...
 

HamworthyGoods

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While the situation has been clarified, nobody has actually answered my question as to why...

The bottom line seems to be that the railway is being run for the engineers, rather than its customers...

No the bottom line is the to move the customers the railway needs to undertake a number of disruptive maintenance windows and this will have been deemed the best time to do these.
 

Watershed

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While the situation has been clarified, nobody has actually answered my question as to why...

The bottom line seems to be that the railway is being run for the engineers, rather than its customers...
I appreciate what you're saying, but the reality is that engineering blocks are an inevitable part of today's railway; it simply can't reliably and safely operate if all lines are open 24/7.

The section 4 times aren't set on a whim, indeed the whole issue of engineering work is very carefully considered (otherwise you wouldn't go to the effort of coordinating section 5 blocks, for example).

So if maintaining the Blackfriars-London Bridge chord shouldn't happen overnight, when else would you propose for it to happen?
 

The Planner

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Bear in mind Section 4 and 5 are classified as opportunities, so they are not actually white space (though 99.9999% of the time they are). If at 26 weeks we said no one was going to use it then a TOC could bid through it STP, but considering that would be such a rare occurrence and of little use, it doesn't happen.
 

Watershed

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Bear in mind Section 4 and 5 are classified as opportunities, so they are not actually white space (though 99.9999% of the time they are). If at 26 weeks we said no one was going to use it then a TOC could bid through it STP, but considering that would be such a rare occurrence and of little use, it doesn't happen.
I don't even think much use has been made of the whitespace during the current STP'd emergency timetables. Though perhaps that's not a surprise, given the intention is to reduce costs and thus train mileage!
 

etr221

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Given that other parts of the route are open - through Blackfriars, and from LBG to ECR - what are the EXCEPTIONAL and SUSTAINED disruptive maintenance requirements for this (short) stretch?

If they weren't exceptional, the rest of the route would similarly need to be closed; if they weren't sustained, closure would only be needed intermittently.

If there aren't any such, then the railway is being run for the convenience of the engineers, not the customers.
So if maintaining the Blackfriars-London Bridge chord shouldn't happen overnight, when else would you propose for it to happen?
I note this: BUT we are not talking about all night, rather the 2330-0030/0100 ish slot.

When is Blackfriars-Farringdon maintained, as there doesn't seem to be any similar closure for that stretch?
 
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