Theresa Villiers today helped lay the foundations of London’s next major transport hub in a visit to Farringdon station.
From 2017, upwards of 140 trains per hour are planned to flow through Farringdon as north-south Thameslink, east-west Crossrail and London Underground services all meet at the new station.
This would see Farringdon surpass Clapham Junction as Britain’s busiest train station and bring passengers from outer London closer to the City and Canary Wharf.
Farringdon will be the only station from which passengers will be able to access Crossrail, Thameslink and London Underground trains. It will provide links to Gatwick, Luton, Heathrow and London City airports in addition to St Pancras international rail station.
“This important work at Farringdon will see the station transformed into a 21st century transport hub, fit for the needs of a flourishing London,” said Transport Minister Theresa Villiers.
“With the completion of the Crossrail and Thameslink programmes, passengers can look forward to better, faster journeys from a station set to become the busiest in Britain. Under those plans, the fully redeveloped station will act as an elegant gateway to London, Britain and the continent. And Farringdon’s patient Thameslink passengers are expected to start to reap the benefits of a much-improved station from as early as Christmas next year.”
The ticket hall is being constructed by Network Rail and the Minister’s visit marks the start of work on the hall’s foundations.
“In less than 18 months time passengers at Farringdon will benefit from this new ticket hall, vastly improving access to the station and helping transform it into one of London’s most important transport hubs,” Network Rail’s Thameslink programme director Jim Crawford.
“London relies on rail to get hundreds of thousands of people to work each day, so I’m pleased to say our work at Farringdon is on time and on budget.”
“Passengers using the redeveloped Farringdon station will be able to benefit from two new station entrances, a more modern, spacious national rail ticket hall, improved London Underground access and longer platforms that will be able to take 12-carriage Thameslink trains.”
It will also be fully accessible for people with pushchairs, heavy luggage or disabilities.
Farringdon station’s new ticket hall is scheduled to open in December 2011 for Thameslink services, with work continuing unobtrusively for Crossrail services which are due to begin running from 2017.
Farringdon station is one of eight new Crossrail stations along the central tunnel section. Crossrail will run 74 miles from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 13 mile tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. When Crossrail begins it’s phased operations in 2017 it will increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent.
Thameslink is one of Britain’s busiest rail routes and the only overground railway to go through central London. The £5.5bn - £6bn modernisation scheme will deliver a dramatic increase in capacity, with 12-carriage trains running 24 times an hour through central London, meaning more seats and improved reliability for passengers.