The £6bn Thameslink north-south link through the capital is safe from cuts, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has announced. But the project will not now be completed until 2017-8 – opening at roughly the same time as the east-west Crossrail project is completed.
The newly revamped line – so long delayed that the project was initially called Thameslink 2000 – will enable passengers to travel directly from Sydenham station to Thameslink stations north of the river (via London Bridge). Existing lines from both south and north of London will feed into the network meaning that passengers from Sydenham will be able to travel to destinations such as Peterborough or Cambridge without leaving the Thameslink system.
What Thameslink and Crossrail will mean for local passengers:
The ability to travel directly from Sydenham to Thameslink stations north of the river
Direct access to Farringdon station giving links to Crossrail and underground network
Brand new station at Whitechapel giving step-free access to Crossrail, Hammersmith & City and District lines.
John Bull, the respected rail commentator who runs the London reconnections blog sums up the situation:
“Overall, it is important to keep in mind the positives, and the confirmation that Thameslink will go ahead is most definitely a huge one. In addition, Hammond also confirmed a number of electrification schemes that will be of benefit to London and its surrounds – notably between London and Reading, Didcot, Newbury and Oxford all of which should be completed by 2016.
Given the potential for wholesale cuts, therefore, which had left many commentators (this author included) fearing the worst, today has represented another good day for London’s transport infrastructure. It is easy to pick at the details, but there are few who, pre-CSR, would have thought it likely that London would emerge with its Underground upgrades, Crossrail and the Thameslink project intact. Common sense, of course, indicated that they should all proceed, but it would not have been the first time that common sense had fallen victim to financial or political necessity.
So whilst it is easy to look upon today’s announcement as a re-announcement rather than an announcement – an exercise in confirming that which was already taking place – it is worth bearing in mind that this is ultimately very much a positive thing for the capital.”