RAILTRACK TODAY re-submitted plans for the £800M Thameslink 2000 upgrade to ease the congested Brighton-London-Bedford commuter route.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott will review the plans, which include nearly £200M of variations to the original £580M scheme submitted under the Transport & Works Act in 1997. These changes result from nearly 700 objections by local residents, lobby groups and local authorities.
Prescott will hear objections to the revised scheme before deciding whether a public inquiry is required. He will announce his decision on 10 December.
The Thameslink 2000 project will increase capacity by lengthening platforms and remodelling station approaches to create more through lines for Thameslink trains. There will be six major civils packages associated with the route's London stations as well as track, signalling and station work outside the capital. (NCE 19/26 August)
However, approval for the whole project depends on the development of the St Pancras/ Kings Cross interchange box as part of the second phase of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Delays to this work have already led to Thameslink's projected 2004 opening date shifting to 2006.
(see Profile page 11)