►► Passengers leave a train at London Bridge’s new platform 15 on 25 April 2014 ◀◀

Trains and passengers are now using the first two new platforms of London Bridge station in the shadow of the capital’s tallest building, the Shard.

The two platforms (numbers 14 and 15) are the first fruits of the ambitious rebuild of the station as part of the £6 billion Thameslink programme.

Eventually there will be four other terminating platforms and nine through platforms, which will allow the station to handle 50% more trains.

The platform canopies are part of a sweeping design that will wipe away virtually all of the old station which dates back to 1836.

The number of passengers is growing even while the station looks like a building site. The latest figure is 54 million a year.

The project will be completed in 2018 when a new passenger concourse will link the Thames side of the station to the Guy’s hospital side.

The original Thameslink scheme opened in 1988, after a Railfuture campaign, and was a spectacular success.

Much of the credit must go to Ken Livingstone’s Greater London Council and his transport chief Dave Wetzel. The GLC funded a feasibility study and British Rail recognised that through running was more efficient than terminating trains at St Pancras, the former Holborn Viaduct station and Blackfriars.