Train services running through south east London are set for nine days of frustration, starting on Saturday (July 25).
The Sidcup, Grove Park and Bromley North lines through Hither Green will be closed from July 25 to Sunday August 2, while Network Rail completes signalling upgrades.
The work will see the 1970s signalling system, which controls the movement of trains across south east London, completely replaced, and passengers are advised to find other modes of transport if possible.
Buses will replace trains between Lewisham, Sidcup and Orpington, while trains on other routes will be diverted.
Fiona Taylor, route director, Kent said:“We know this is a tough ask of passengers who are already managing changes to their journeys and we haven’t taken the decision to close the lines lightly.
“The current signalling system, which controls the movement of trains on the lines through Hither Green, has been in place since the 1970s.”
She described the current system as “old, unreliable, and becoming more difficult to source spare parts and maintain.”
“If we don’t upgrade now, it could lead to major delays and crowding for Southeastern passengers in future.
“That’s a risk we weren’t prepared to take.
“We are extremely grateful to people for their patience in these difficult times.
“When this vital upgrade is complete, it will provide a more reliable and resilient railway for passengers in south east London for decades to come.”
Buses will replace trains between Lewisham and both Sidcup and Orpington, with Sidcup services will run east and into Central London via the Bexleyheath and Woolwich lines.
Shuttle buses will run between New Eltham, Mottingham and Eltham, and between Elmstead Woods and Eltham, for services to London
Buses will replace trains on the Bromley North branch.
Services from Petts Wood and Orpington will run to Victoria, Blackfriars or London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross (running non-stop via New Beckenham).
People are advised to use alternative travel if possible over the nine days, and those who need to travel by train or replacement bus are advised to plan ahead; travel outside of peak times, allow more time for their journey and follow the government’s latest coronavirus travel advice.
Southeastern train services director, Scott Brightwell said: “The equipment in this area is old and unreliable with some dating from the 1970’s; installing a modern signalling system is essential for improving journeys for our passengers.
“To aid those planning journeys throughout the works, we are providing a detailed station by station travel advice tool.
“We strongly advise customers to check this in advance as journeys on some routes are replaced with buses. Where buses replace trains, we expect journey times to be extended with queuing systems at busier times of day.“