With a budget of 7,400 million euros, the Thameslink project will connect the north and south of the River Thames enabling passengers to make the journey without having to make a change train.
The program known as Thamelink will completely change travelling between the North and South through London and, In consequence, passenger demand will increase. Construction works and suitability were formally launched in 2008 and is expected to be completed in 2018.
Once the project is completed, the Thameslink network will be able to offer about 24 trains per hour (equivalent to a train every 150 seconds) through the central core between St Pancras Station and Blackfriars. Each train will have 12 cars. Thanks to this program rail congestion in the London underground will decrease, especially in the Northern Line. For the first time this rail link will allow passengers to travel from Peterborough and Cambridge directly to Blackfriars.
Thanks to interconnections with the Crossrail line, there will also be direct links to the three major airports (Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton) and St Pancras International. Also, other destinations like Dartford and Ashford, East Grinstead, Guildford, Horsham, Littlehampton and Eastbourne will also have train connections.
In order to achieve this network, two railway tunnels in North London have been linked, extending between the main line of the east coast, near King’s Cross Station, and the Thameslink route, in St Pancras station.
Another important aspect that is being carried out to achieve Thameslink is signalling the central section. To achieve a capacity of 24 trains per hour, Network Rail has chosen to install ETCS level 2 overlaid with automatic operation. The launch of the new signalling is closely related to the reconstruction of infrastructure and stations in the central section of Thameslink.
This program will enable to decrease congestion in the access to London Bridge station and, at the same time, waiting times for trains on platforms will be reduced.
The upgradingof the stations was based primarily on three of them:
◗ Blackfriars: The first station to cross the Thames provides longer passenger trains and more frequent services and easier access to the metro, in addition to free access to both banks of the Thames. Today, passengers are already benefiting from twice the number of new platforms and track systems and services have increased from 8 to 12 trains per hour (and up to 24 when Thameslink is completed in 2018).
The station also includes the world’s largest solar bridge with more than 4,400 photovoltaic panels. The roof provides up to 50% of the energy station. Network Rail was responsible for managing the upgrading of the new Blackfriars station, whose funding was provided by the Thameslink program.
◗ Farringdon: In 2018, this station will become a railway hub between Thameslink and Crossrail and will provide direct links to the three major international airports (Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton) and St Pancras International. Works on Farringdon Station are already finished and there is a new main entrance for Thameslink and for future Crossrail passengers.
◗ The greatest work included in the program, which is still unfinished, is London Bridge station. At the end of the project, about 54 million passengers per year will stop at this station. The works are being carried out in two phases to avoid its closure.
Thameslink will transform London Bridge station which, along with the signalling of the central section and the new fleet, are the last two major projects that are in the program. The station will be able to move up to 86 trains per hour in each direction. The most intense phase of the project began in 2014 with the closure of some of its platforms and diversion of services to avoid the station. The main works will continue until 2017.