This guide to London Bridge station will help make sense of the enormous space and explains how the different areas of the station are linked and how to make optimum connections.
London Bridge station has recently been transformed from one of Britain’s least loved stations into a showpiece 21st century transportation hub.
Though from a first time user perspective, the enormity of the space that’s been created can be bewildering.
A key thing worth knowing is that it is a station of two distinct parts:
The relatively new, huge street level concourse, which is located under the railway tracks, between St Thomas Street and Tooley Street, has direct access to ALL of the platforms/tracks above by escalators and lifts (elevators).
(Only one lift connects the concourse to platforms 10-15 - it's on the opposite side of the concourse to the escalators which go up to platforms 12-13).
What can be a tad unexpected is that the ticket gate lines surround this concourse, so there aren’t separate ticket gates for each platform (track).
And what’s particularly unusual for a British station is that some of the shops at the station are on the inside of the ticket gates.
A tad bizarrely, what this main concourse doesn’t have is a primary departure board, which lists all departures and all of the stations that each train will be calling at.
Instead there are separate groups of departure screens;
There are also information desks and other station staff who can point you in the right direction.
There is also an upper level concourse, which is adjacent to The Shard skyscraper.
If you take a taxi to London Bridge it may drop you by this upper level concourse; and the bus routes which terminate at the station
One of the taxi ranks which serve the station is also located here, it's to the left of the bus stands.
This upper concourse is on the same level as the part of the station used by the Southern trains which depart from platforms (tracks) 10-15, so the main departure board on this concourse only shows details of the Southern trains.
If you enter the station at its upper level, beside the entrance to The Shard skyscraper, and find that your train is departing from platforms (tracks) 1 - 9, you will need to use the escalator or elevator, which are both to the left of platform 10, and descend to the lower level concourse.
Platforms (tracks) 1 - 9 can only be accessed from the lower level concourse.
In contrast all of the platforms (tracks) can be accessed from the lower level concourse, but the upper level concourse has easier access to:
So from the main, lower-level concourse you can use that same set of escalators to transfer to the upper level; the signs above the entrance read 'Way Out - Station Approach'
Though on the main course the elevator to the upper concourse is a tad tricky to find, it's opposite the escalators which lead up to platforms 13-14.
From the main (lower level) concourse, once you have passed through the ticket barriers, all of the platforms can be accessed by escalators, elevators and stairs.
Platforms 1 - 9 are immediately above this concourse and they arranged in pairs' 2 and 3; 4 and 5; 6 and 7,8 and 9, with platform 1 separate.
Each of the pairs, plus platform 1, have an elevator, plus two sets of escalators and stairs.
Others sets of escalators lead up to platforms 10, 11 and 12, 13 and 14, as well as platform 15
Another elevator provides an alternative link from the lower concourse platforms 10-15; this elevator to the upper level is opposite the escalators to platforms 13 and 14.
All of the platforms in the station can be also accessed from the upper concourse, platforms 10-15 are right beside it; and escalators and elevators down to the lower level provide the access from this part of the station to the routes to platforms 1-9.
If you're not used to taking a train from London Bridge station something to be aware of is that there are different types of information screen at the station; it doesn't have one main departure board.
On the lower concourse the easiest information to make sense is by using the A to Z departure indicators.
They list most of the the destinations served by all of the trains from the station in alphabetical order and show the departure time of the next train and which platform (track) it will be leaving from.
The main A to Z screen is on the wall of the concourse area beyond the ticket barriers, it is above the convenience store located between the escalators leading up to platforms 4-5 and 6-7.
The two more conventional departure boards which show each departure individually, along with all of the stations each of them serves; the one on the upper concourse and the one on the lower concourse (opposite the access to platforms (tracks) 10 - 15), only list the Southern departures.
However, Thameslink trains serve many of the same destinations as these Southern trains and those trains aren't listed on those departure boards, hence using the A to Z departure screens being a good option.
The most numerous departure screens on the lower level concourse are the 'next fastest train to' departure screens, which show the times and platform numbers of trains heading to particularly popular locations.
Though there's no getting away from the fact that the departure screens can be confusing if you're not used to the station.
Also if you look at the 'next fastest train to' and 'A-Z departure' indicators by the exit from the Underground station; and the next train to where you're heading is leaving within 3 minutes, then you won't make it in time.
If you're confused there are staffed information desks on both the upper and lower level concourse.
However, the overwhelming majority of destinations served from London Bridge are served by departures leaving at least every 30 minutes, so the advice is to take your time.
Platforms 1; (2); 6 and 7:
The Southeastern trains heading away from London depart from these platforms (tracks) 1 and 6 and 7 (plus platform 2 in peak hours).
Trains calling at Greenwich usually depart from platform 1.
Trains heading to Canterbury, Dover, Hastings and Tunbridge Wells depart from platforms (tracks) 6 or 7 – these are accessed by the same escalator and lift.
Though during Monday to Friday peak hours there are additional departures to these destinations from platform 1.
However, these trains heading to Canterbury, Dover, Hastings and Tunbridge Wells will have previously departed from Charing Cross and Waterloo (East) stations.
So check whether boarding the trains at either of those stations will suit you better before you head to London Bridge.
Waterloo (East) station is also connected to Southwark Underground station on the Jubilee Line.
Platforms 2 and 3:
For trains to Cannon Street station, on the north bank of The Thames (a 10-15 min walk from London Bridge).
For the Thameslink trains heading south to a swathe of destinations in Surrey and Sussex including Gatwick Airport and Brighton.
Thameslink also serves some destinations in north Kent with a service which terminates at Rainham and calls in Greenwich and Rochester.
(So if you are heading to Greenwich, the next train to depart can be a Thameslink train from platform 4 instead of a Southeastern train from platform 1).
These trains will have previously called at St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars stations before they depart from London Bridge, so check if any of those alternative stations will be more convenient.
Farringdon station has connections with the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines, while Blackfriars has an easy interchange with the Circle and District Lines.
The Thameslink trains heading north to destinations such as Cambridge, Peterborough and St Albans all leave from here.
If you will be heading to St Pancras station to connect into the EMR or Eurostar trains, or will be taking a train on from King's Cross station, taking these Thameslink trains can be a good alternative to taking the Northern Line of the Underground.
At both London Bridge and St Pancras stations, the transfer to and from these Thameslink trains is quicker and easier than making the connections with the Underground.
Platforms 8 and 9:
For trains to Waterloo (East) and Charing Cross stations in central London (see below)
Platforms 10 - 15:
These are used by the trains operated by Southern; destinations served include Crystal Palace, Forest Hill for The Horniman Museum and East Grinstead for The Bluebell Railway.
How you exit from the station and connect to onward public transports depends on whether you train arrives at:
These platforms all have two sets of escalators, both of which lead down to the main concourse, so use whichever you come to first.
Between them there is an elevator, which will also take you down to the lower level concourse.
This lower level has exits at one end on to Tooley Street; turn left for London Bridge itself and turn right for Tower Bridge and the south bank of the Thames, including the boat pier.
The taxi rank which serves the lower level concourse is also accessed from the Tooley Street exit, you need to turn right when you step out of the station and walk around the corner on to Bermondsey Street.
The St Thomas St exit on the other side of the station has the simplest route to Borough Market (turn right), and The Shard Experience (also to the right) and Bermondsey High St (turn left).
This concourse also has access to the Underground station, through a fairly lengthy passage way lined with stores.
Having passed through the ticket barriers, this passage way to the Underground station will be over to the left.
Or you can head up to the exits by the upper level concourse, which is where the bus station is located.
This part of the station has a typical terminus layout, with a concourse at one end of the platforms, so to exit through the upper level concourse you need to go through the ticket barriers passed the front of the trains.
From this part of the station exiting through the front of the upper concourse is the quickest route to:
Each of these platforms also has a set of stairs and escalators down to the lower (main) concourse, with an elevator by the end of platform 10.
Head to the lower concourse in order to use the exits on Tooley Street, which is the quickest route to The London Dungeon and the riverside attractions including Tower Bridge and the boat pier,
London Bridge station is located on the south-eastern corner of central London, but when heading towards London, the South Eastern and Thameslink trains continue beyond London Bridge to call at other stations closer to the city centre.
So taking these trains services can be a better option than taking the Underground, because they connect to different areas of the city than the Jubilee and Northern Lines, which are the two Underground lines, which serve London Bridge.
Many travellers therefore transfer between main line train services instead of taking the Underground, particularly as takes around 3 - 5 minutes to reach the Underground station when stepping off a train at London Bridge.
Up to 17 Southeastern trains per hour depart from platforms (tracks) 8 and 9 and link London Bridge to Charing Cross station, which has easy access to numerous attractions including Covent Garden, the National Galleries, Leicester Square, Soho and the areas around Piccadilly.
Up to 10 Thameslink trains per hour leave from platform 5 and call at Blackfriars*, for the South Bank arts complex and Tate Modern, City Thameslink for St Pauls and Farringdon for the Smithfield area.
(*Blackfriars railway station spans the River Thames, so if you’re heading to destinations on the south bank, board towards the rear of the train).
This is one of more than 300 station guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.