East London is getting a “bus replacement rail service”

Usually, people talk about rail replacement bus services when a railway is closed, but for a few weekends, there will be the opposite – a bus replacement rail service, when part of the Blackwall tunnel is closed.

For a few weekends, the southbound route at Blackwall will be closed to allow for work on the neighbouring Silvertown Tunnel. That means all southbound road traffic will need to find an alternative route — including the one bus route that passes through the tunnel.

During the tunnel closures, Bus Route 108[1] will be temporarily split at Canning Town station and North Greenwich, with customers using the Jubilee line to cross the river to complete their journeys.

Hence – a bus replacement rail service.

Route 108 at North Greenwich in 2017 – photo by km30192002[2] cc 2.0

TfL says that it will ensure that bus customers on Route 108 who then use the Jubilee line as part of their journey over the weekend will avoid being charged for the Tube section of their journey via an automatic refund which will be processed after the weekend. The Mayor’s Hopper fare will also mean that customers won’t be charged for any additional bus journeys on the other side of the river, providing they begin within an hour of touching in on the first bus. From 00:01 on the Monday mornings of the closure, northbound buses will return to their normal route and southbound buses will be diverted via Tower Bridge until the tunnel is re-opened to southbound traffic.

(If they were issuing special bus replacement rail tickets for the Jubilee line section, the bus would be packed full of transport nerds wanting one)

The Blackwall tunnel’s southbound route will be closed on:

  • 13th to 15th January
  • 20th to 22nd January
  • 27th to 29th January (a contingency if either of the previous two weekends are not possible)
  • 10th to 12th February
  • 24th to 26th February

The closures will start at 00:01 on the Saturday morning and will be reopened by 05:00 on the Monday morning at the latest.

The works, which are required to implement the road configuration for the new Silvertown Tunnel will see new drainage as well as new over-height vehicle gantries installed, which are necessary to protect the tunnel.

Northbound road traffic will not be affected by these closures as traffic will be diverted through the southbound Blackwall Tunnel. However, there will be no access to Tunnel Avenue from the A102 at Pear Island across the weekend due to the works. The northbound on-slip on Blackwall Lane will also be closed and a signed diversion via the Woolwich Flyover roundabout will be in place.

During the weekend of the 24-26 February, northbound traffic will also be diverted from the A102 via Millennium Way to the Blackwall tunnel entrance from 22:00 until 08:00 to allow for additional works to install new gantries across all lanes of the A102.

Drivers of HGVs, as well as vans more than two metres in height or weighing more than two tonnes, are advised to consider routes away from central London across the weekend where possible.

The new Silvertown Tunnel[3] is due to open in 2025.


  1. ^ Bus Route 108 (tfl.gov.uk)
  2. ^ km30192002 (www.flickr.com)
  3. ^ Silvertown Tunnel (www.ianvisits.co.uk)