The delayed Thameslink 2000 rail upgrade project has taken a major step forward with the government today agreeing to grant planning permission and legal powers to Network Rail to rebuild and expand the route.
In a written statement to Parliament, the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government today granted legal powers and planning consents to Network Rail for the £3.5bn ‘Thameslink Programme’.
This includes the necessary Transport and Works Act Order giving planning permission and statutory powers to Network Rail, together with listed building and conservation area consents, including the demolition of contested sites around Borough Market and consents for consequential rail closures. It follows the recommendations of the planning inspectorate’s public inquiry last year into the scheme.
Expected to take seven years to complete and cost £3.5bn, the Thameslink project will more than double passenger capacity on one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway – the core route through London Bridge, Blackfriars and Farringdon – benefiting tens of thousands of passengers each day. The scheme will also increase the number of stations linked by direct north-south services by more than 200% from the present 51 to 172.
The project would deliver a maximum of 24 trains per hour through the core section – up from the present eight – with platforms and signaling allowing 12-car trains to run, instead of the current maximum of eight-coach formation. There would be less overcrowding across the Thameslink route with reduced congestion on the London Underground – particularly the Northern and Victoria lines – and much improved Tube access at rebuilt Farringdon, Blackfriars and London Bridge stations.
A total of 172 stations would be linked by the extended Thameslink routes, up from the present 51, reducing the need for passengers to change trains or travel using the London Underground. Track and signaling would be simplified and key rail bottlenecks removed.
From: Thameslink rail project gains T&W Act powers, Transport Briefing, 18/10/06
More at: Thameslink 2000
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Sat, 28/10/2006 - 18:05.