Abbey Wood

In the meantime, in January 1967, construction of the ''Thamesmead'' development began. This involved building twelve concrete-fabricated thirteen-storey-high tower blocks, and several five-storey-high flats, on 130 acres of drained Erith marshland. In June of the following year, the first residents moved into the new mass residential development, which had been intended for those families which had been displaced from East London, as a result of World War II bombing. During the Summer of 1969, Bexley Council developed a display model of the intended alterations to Abbey Wood station and its immediate environs, as a result of the advent of Thamesmead. The plans outlined a completely new road bridge immediately east of the station, on the site of the level crossing. The platform surfaces were to be lengthened at their eastern ends, underneath the proposed road bridge, and in addition, a loop and third platform face were to come into use. The loop was to act as a turn-back facility for the additional trains which it was then assumed would be required to serve Thamesmead.  There was to be a new station building at road level over the tracks, with a bus lay-by. 

Construction of the concrete road bridge commenced, complete with bus lay-by, and their completion allowed the closure of the level crossing and signal box on 13th July 1975. The lattice footbridge beside the level crossing was cut up into sections and sent for scrap. Reconstruction of the rest of the station site was not proceeded with, and the SER-designed main building continued in use, despite the fact that the road bridge had been built to accommodate the proposed ''high-level'' structure. However, in 1977, work began on erecting a footbridge between the platform surfaces. This comprised a span which was salvaged from the terminus at Blackfriars, where rebuilding to accommodate an office block was being undertaken. The bridge span was probably built by the LC&DR, but in its initial form was too long for the platforms at Abbey Wood; therefore, a section was cut out, and the bridge re-spliced by welding. The footbridge was intended only as a temporary measure, to be retained for about two years, and as a result, the ex-Blackfriars span was supported upon a light military trestle. By this time, the "down" side SER waiting shelter had been replaced by a basic flat-roofed glazed object.

During the Network SouthEast era, many stations along the three North Kent routes were subject to rebuilds. On the Dartford Loop Line via Sidcup, this did see the loss of much historical clapboard, and even those brick structures on the original 1849 line were not immune, as proven by the transformation of Abbey Wood. In 1988, a station rebuilding programme got underway, which set about removing all traces of the SER layout. A prominent pitched-roof glazed and crème-brick station building appeared on the ‘’up’’ side, in addition to a peculiar arrangement of canopy sections (as the subsequent pictures indicate) for weather protection. The flat-roofed glazed bus shelter of the 1970s remained on the ‘’down’’ side, but the rear of this platform surface was lined with a low crème brick wall. The footbridge of 1977 was, however, retained, and being an ex-Blackfriars span, became the oldest component of the station. Finally, circa 1997, the square bus shelter on the ‘’down’’ side was replaced with a more modern example demonstrating a curved roof, completing the station’s modernisation.

3rd July 2006

Class 376 No. 376035 is seen disappearing into the distance in this eastward view of Abbey Wood. The main building is on the right (''up'' side), and we are able to glimpse the peculiar canopy arrangement mentioned within the main text. The footbridge was, amazingly, a span salvaged in 1977 from the Blackfriars station rebuilding. © David Glasspool

3rd July 2006

The modern, but attractive-looking station building replaced the original SER structure. The ticket office is marginally below platform level and when this was not open, an alternative platform entrance to the structure's immediate left was used. © David Glasspool

3rd July 2006

A westward view from the 1975 bridge reveals high-density residential development on the right, which took place during 2004. Beyond the 1977 footbridge are the 1956 prefabricated concrete extensions, which have since lost their concrete backing in favour of palisade fencing. Prominent on the left of this view is the sloped roof of the station building. © David Glasspool