Train services through Hither Green will be suspended for nine days to allow signalling upgrades to take place.

The 1970s system, which controls the movement of trains on the Bromley North, Sidcup branches and main line through Hither Green, is being completely replaced.

Buses will replace trains on affected routes for the nine days, from July 25 to Sunday August 2.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail route director for Kent, said: “This work is so important for delivering a reliable railway for the many passengers who travel through this area.

"The signalling system is very old and in urgent need of upgrade.

“We wanted to get this work done over Easter but because technicians can’t work closely together for long periods, it is going to take double the amount of time it would normally take to finish the job.

“We have taken the decision to complete the work in the summer holidays because we wanted to give those passengers who are still travelling, many of them critical workers, enough time to plan ahead.

“We also need time to put alternative travel options in place, such as an enhanced bus replacement service.”

Extra buses will be laid on to make sure social distancing can be achieved on the replacement services.

Tickets will be accepted on alternative routes and Transport for London services, which will also be increased to ensure passengers travelling can maintain a 2m distance.

While extra capacity will be laid on, only critical passengers and those who absolutely must travel are advised to.

The work taking place over the nine days is the commissioning of the new signalling equipment and the transfer of control from London Bridge Area Signalling Centre to Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre.

It will mark the end for the old signalling location, which has been in continuous use since 1975.

The work is a key part of Network Rail’s £250m investment to improve signalling and track reliability through the busy Lewisham area of South East London.