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Thameslink planning delays could cause CTRL chaos

PLANS FOR the £800M upgrade of the cross London Thameslink commuter link face a further two year delay as changes to the original proposals pass through a further planning inquiry, industry sources said this week.

Further delays would lead to chaos in the capital as the upgraded line is intended to relieve pressure on St Pancras station when it starts handling Eurostar trains in 2007.

A year long planning inquiry into the project ended in August.

It highlighted three areas for modification. These are at London Bridge and Blackfriars stations, and the flyover at Borough Market.

Railtrack is currently working with the Strategic Rail Authority at revised proposals for the three sites.

But the proposals are unlikely to be completed before the end of the year, when the Deputy Prime Minister's office will review them, before deciding whether a new planning inquiry is needed.

Irving Yass, director of transport at business lobby group London First said he was expecting a new inquiry and that it would take least 18 months.

This would push the construction start date past 2003, making completion by 2007 unlikely.

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