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News timetable on Thameslink

03/29/2009 AT 16:37

The multi-billion pound Thameslink upgrade will revolutionise travel on the capital's only north-south main line route, delivering more trains, more seats and more journey choices as well as new and upgraded stations that will benefit millions of passengers.

As part of massive improvement work, the Farringdon to Moorgate branch will close so that Network Rail can extend Farringdon's platforms to accommodate longer 12-car trains. Blackfriars main line station remains open but the three terminating ‘bay' platforms have been temporarily closed so work can begin on a completely new station - the first to span the River Thames with a new entrance on the South Bank serving the Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe and other top London destinations.

These changes simplify the rail route through central London, paving the way for a new timetable with almost double the number of trains travelling through London in each direction every hour (from eight to 15).

The new timetable and the start of Network Rail's major construction work is just the latest milestone to be completed on a project which has already successfully delivered:
- Improved connections to and from Europe by opening a new Thameslink station at St Pancras International,
- Platform extensions at Luton Airport Parkway, as part of a programme to lengthen the trains serving many stations on the route by 2012,
- A new, larger footbridge to relieve station congestion at Farringdon.

Andy Mitchell, Network Rail programme director, said: “Hitting this latest milestone on the congestion-busting Thameslink upgrade is not simply a next step, it's a step change. The new timetable means more trains through the heart of London and gives us the green light to start major work at Farringdon and Blackfriars.

“Once completed, these new and improved stations will make travelling in and around London quicker and easier, providing better access for people with restricted mobility, pushchairs or suitcases, as well as improving connections with London Underground and future Crossrail services.

“Blackfriars, with its stunning glass façade running the full width of the Thames, will become a new landmark that London can be proud of.”

Mr Mitchell added: “Even now, as we work day and night to build new stations and upgrade the railway, passengers are benefiting from more trains through London offering direct services to new destinations. This must be the first time that anyone has been able to actually increase the number of trains whilst carrying out a major upgrade of a busy capital city commuter line.

“Keeping the railway open for day to day business is crucial for London's economy. With a project of this scale this represents a serious challenge and will require the whole industry to work together to keep our work on schedule and minimise disruption to passengers.”

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