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Route to reality

When the original Thameslink opened in 1989 it was an instant hit. Ridership grew more than 300% in its first year of operation, almost immediately exposing infrastructure limitations. The service was formed by linking commuter lines north and south of London with a route last used before the First World War. South of Blackfriars and around London Bridge, complex crossovers with other routes make the system notoriously unreliable.

A year after the project opened British Rail came up with what it saw as a logical upgrade in the Central London Rail Study - the same study that also recommended Crossrail.

The rst public inquiry ran from June 2000 until May 2001 but the inspector's report was not favourable and the proposals were thrown out by deputy prime minister John Prescott. Problems surrounded proposals for Blackfriars Station (which the inquiry inspector likened to a 'missing tooth' on London's skyline), London Bridge station and Borough Market.

The inquiry was reopened on 6 September this year and concluded on Tuesday.

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