Work to rebuild Blackfriars station came a step closer to completion yesterday as the station’s final two new platforms open for use.
Passengers will benefit from more than 700 extra trains every week at Blackfriars thanks to the new platforms and the completion of engineering work on the central London section of the Thameslink route, allowing trains to serve the station later at night and on weekends.
Network Rail senior programme manager for Blackfriars Paul Byrne said: “Our work to rebuild Blackfriars is approaching completion with two new platforms opening on Saturday, coupled with the end of weekend closures on the route, allowing over 700 extra trains to serve the station each week.
“We’ve still got a plenty of work to do before the Blackfriars upgrade is completed but more areas of the new station are opening month by month, train services are improving, and passengers are seeing the benefits.”
Network Rail and its contractor Balfour Beatty has rebuilt Blackfriars station using part of an existing Victorian rail bridge, creating the only station in London to span the River Thames. The new station roof, built on top of the bridge, is currently being fitted with 4,400 solar panels to create London’s largest solar array.
Saturday also saw weekend and late evening services return to First Capital Connect’s Thameslink route through central London. For three-and-a-half years the section of the route between London Bridge and St Pancras has been closed every night and almost every weekend to allow Network Rail to install new track and signalling and rebuild Farringdon and Blackfriars stations.
“The continued improvements at Blackfriars station are great news for our customers. We’ll have 40% more trains serving the station once we reopen at night and weekends. This and the new south station entrance, suddenly makes Blackfriars a great destination for art lovers and theatregoers,” added First Capital Connect customer service director Keith Jipps.
Timelapse footage of the entire station rebuild – from 2009 until the present day – is available online: http://bit.ly/JwzFT7
- Spring 2009: Work to restore and widen the eastern side of Blackfriars rail bridge begins
- January 2010: Tracks switched to the eastern side of the bridge to allow work to begin on the west, while trains continue running
- October 2011: Work begins to install 4,400 solar panels on the roof of Blackfriars, creating London’s largest solar array
- 5 December 2011: First passengers use new entrance on the south bank of the Thames
- 12 December 2011: First 12-carriage Thameslink trains serve Blackfriars; new northern entrance opens
- 26 February 2012: New London Underground station opens
- May 2012: Two more terminating platforms completed; south bank entrance complete
- Summer 2012: Full passenger benefits delivered, two new entrances, capability for 12-carriage trains and a new Underground station fully operational ahead of Olympic and Paralympic Games