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Report slates 'unrealistic' Thameslink plans


RAILTRACK'S PLANS to upgrade the overcrowded Thameslink service through London are unrealistic and take no account of the long term strategic needs of the route.

These are the conclusions of a report by consultant Town & Country Strategies submitted to the Department of Environment Transport and the Regions as part of the ongoing public consultation on the project.

Railtrack's £800M Thameslink 2000 project to upgrade the busy north- south commuter route through London includes plans to remodel six stations in London and upgrade signalling, track and platforms outside the capital.

The company will retain the existing two-track section of line through central London from Kings Cross to London Bridge but hopes that improved signalling will allow it to increase the flow of trains.

But the Town & Country Strategies report branded this unfeasible. It claimed: 'It will be essential that incoming trains join the central section at precisely timetabled times. This seems very optimistic though, given the considerable distances they will be coming from and the complexity of the network.'

The report also criticised the scheme for not taking into account probable long term increases in traffic on the route. It called for Railtrack to quadruple the central section of track through London.

Transport minister Keith Hill announced in December that a public inquiry would open in early spring after receiving more than 1,000 objections.

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