London Bridge Rebuilding Works

Thameslink Programme

Today’s Thameslink

In 2005, Network Rail rebranded ‘’Thameslink 2000’’ as the ‘’Thameslink Programme’’. The original date of completion was five years overdue and it was still not definite that the project would even go ahead. However, the future became much more secure on 24th July 2007, when the Department for Transport published its ‘’High Level Output Strategy’’, confirming provision of the £5,500,000,000 funding required (about 8½ times higher than the original 1996 figure) for the Thameslink Programme. The strategy also outlined funding for other large railway projects at Birmingham New Street and Reading, substantial engineering works being planned for both locations.

The major works of the Thameslink Programme involved complete rebuilding of London Bridge and Blackfriars stations, in addition to partial reconstruction and expansion of the site at Farringdon. Platforms at all three would be made capable of accommodating twelve-vehicle formations, as would those at other key intermediate stations along the Thameslink route. Integral to the London Bridge works was widening of the route at Borough Market, to ease the bottleneck around the converging Cannon Street and Charing Cross lines.

At Blackfriars, the station was to be extended across the railway bridge, enabling a second entrance to be opened on the South Bank. Four platforms, capable of accommodating twelve-vehicle trains, would stretch the entire length of the bridge. Two of these platforms would be terminating, situated on the western side of the bridge, whilst the second pair would serve the through tracks of the Thameslink route, on the eastern side. The Blackfriars works formally commenced on 22nd March 2009, with the closure of the three existing terminal platforms located on the eastern side of the bridge.

Unlike London Bridge and Blackfriars, the Grade II Listed site at Farringdon was not set for a complete rebuild, but rather modernisation and enlargement. The major elements of this included the provision of a new ticket hall, south of and directly opposite the 1865 Underground station entrance, for combined use by Thameslink and future Crossrail passengers. The existing trainshed was to be restored and subsequently extended northwards with the addition of new curved steel sections. The Thameslink platforms were also to receive southward extensions to accommodate the proposed twelve-car trains, which necessitated closure of the Farringdon to Barbican and Moorgate Thameslink branch. Lengthening works would take the Thameslink platforms beyond Farringdon Junction, the point where the branch converged with the route from Blackfriars. Closure of the branch was effective from 22nd March 2009.


29th September 2011


Compared with the photographs on the first page, works on ''The Shard'' are well advanced in the above view, but the trainshed and its walls are still standing. © David Glasspool


29th September 2011


A westward view within the trainshed shows the new concourse taking shape in the background, this of which was still surrounded by the framework of the 1970s façade. In spite of the barricade on the left, platform Nos. 14, 15, and 16 were still open - they started further down the trainshed. © David Glasspool


29th September 2011


An eastward view shows ongoing rebuilding works, as the new concourse takes shape. The columns evident on the right are those of ''The Shard''. In the background is the arch of the LB&SCR trainshed. © David Glasspool


29th September 2011


This Charing Cross-bound view is underneath the 1,500 tonne steel bridge span, which was moved into position over Borough High Street between 30th April and 3rd May 2011. Beyond can be seen the paired columns of the viaduct and, in the background, the newly-lowered ''Wheatsheaf'' pub. © David Glasspool



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