Thameslink to go ahead in full

The government has confirmed today that the Thameslink project will be completed in full, although the complexity of the project (once named Thameslink 2000) means that it will not be finished until 2018.

London Bridge station will get its desperately-needed remodelling, but the BBC says:

The refurbishment work at London Bridge station is being restructured, as the original plan was "ambitious".

Work on the new London Bridge bus interchange has just begun, paid for by the developers of the Shard as part of their S106 agreement. The project will be completed in May 2012.

A Thameslink spokesperson said:

The Thameslink Programme is critical to addressing overcrowding on our Thameslink and Great Northern routes.

It has delivered new trains - almost 5,000 seats - and we will have the first 50% longer 12-carriage trains from December next year. A few months later we will open a fantastic new station at Blackfriars and new ticket hall at Farringdon.

The vital third and final stage of the programme will also go ahead, introducing a brand new fleet of replacement trains on the Thameslink route that will allow us to run a comprehensive 12-carriage service.

The reconstruction of London Bridge station and unravelling of the complex track layout in that vicinity will unblock one of our worst bottlenecks on the rail network.

41 comments:

The Cat Man said...

Will any of the local stations get an increase in the number of trains at all?

Michael said...

the "comprehensive 12-carriage service" could be a problem as they are meant to be stopping some services at Brockley according to the South London RUS. Given that platforms on the line are only planned to be increased to 10 carriages long, there is a gap in the planning somewhere.

Has anybody seen any evidence that Brockley will still get Thameslink trains?

Matt-Z said...

To call it a comprehensive 12-carriage service is disingenouous - the core section and principal long distance destinations (Brighton, Gatwick, Luton etc) will be extended to 12 car, but some of the stations and indeed whole branches (Sutton/Wimbledon loop, Sevenoaks line) will stay at a maximum of 8 cars. There's a good chance that Brockley will get Thameslink servies in future, but they'll be limited to 8 cars, as the new stock is planned to work in multiples of 4. The 10 car extensions are for the Southern Metro routes.

Anonymous said...

"New ticket office at Farringdon"
Will there be anyone to man them.

Monkeyboy said...

Hurrah!Crimbo is not canceled,

Anonymous said...

... until it snows, and Limp Wristed London comes out for another year

Lou Baker said...

There will be no benefit for Brockley at all.

More long, fast trains from East Croydon but nowt for local services.

Of course, they could double the frequency of trains on the Crofton Park-Nunhead-Blackfriars route - but they probably won't.

But, rest assured, some press release somewhere will say it's great for Brockley and Brockley Central
will repeat it and most of you will believe it.

If you tell everyone often enough and loud enough that your dog is actually a cat, eventually they'll
believe you. Even though it's remained a dog all along.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it was a cat all the time and you were just to stubbon to admit it?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Can we nominate the regular bloggers as Christmas or Patomime characters?

To start us off, I'll be Fezziwig to Lou's Scrooge

Lou Baker said...

No - it's a dog.

Don't get me wrong Thameslink is a very welcome and much overdue project. Great for London as a whole and for some surrounding areas too.

Ditto for Crossrail. Much needed.

Even the East London Line was great (for Hackney).

But none of these has (or will) do much specifically for Brockley.

PS: I'll be Buttons.

Matt-Z said...

Here's a thought Lou - even if you are right, and Brockley gets no services on the Thameslink route, it gives a better chance of getting back the through services to Charing Cross. There will be fewer terminus platforms at London Bridge, and our services will have to end up somewhere, so Charing Cross (or at a push even Canon Street) might be back on the agenda.

Matt-Z said...

P.S. I had you down as one the pantomime dame.

Brockley Nick said...

@lou - "If you tell everyone often enough and loud enough that your dog is actually a cat, eventually they'll believe you. Even though it's remained a dog all along."

If that were true then your constant, monotonous warnings that the East London Line was in fact useless for Brockley residents would have convinced at least one person.

Instead, they seem more persuaded by the evidence of their own experience that it's actually great.

Anyway, re: Thameslink, I've never made great claims for it, but there are clear benefits for us. Very likely more trains for Crofton Park, a much-improved London Bridge station, through-trains to Kings Cross via Blackfriars and the possible reinstatement of direct services to Charing Cross and Cannon St, improved reliability, more capacity and fewer delays on our rail services.

That's plenty as far as I'm concerned, but then I have never believed that public transport needs to be prioritised to meet my exact personal requirements, ahead of the needs of the rest of the country.

Anonymous said...

...as that's what cars are for

Lou Baker said...

@Nick

Aside from the improvements to London Bridge, there is no evidence Thameslink will produce any of the benefits to our local rail services that you suggest.

There are no plans for Kings X services from Brockley, we won't get extra trains and the Charing X link is unlikely to be restored. No extra capacity on the Brockley line either and fewer terminating platforms at London Bridge is, if anything, likely to lead to delays.

There could be some moderate benefits for Crofton Park. But there are no plans for extra trains or longer trains. There will be some extra capacity only because the newer trains have fewer seats. You'll be able to stand in comfort. Reliability on this line - which is currently woeful - may improve but that remains to be seen and there is huge capacity for problems on a complex line. (That's its current problem and that won't change).

The Thameslink project is a good thing for London - unquestionably.

But its local benefits are minimal and you shouldn't overstate them. Like you did for the East London Line - which is also, at best, a moderate improvement like I said it would be all along.

Brockley Nick said...

@Lou - Kings Cross from Crofton Park, which IS Brockley.

Of course the rest remains to be seen, when the timetables are published and the service is put to the test. But I'm preprared to believe that £6 bn of rail infrastructure improvements will have some benefit.

I understated the benefits of the ELL, as it turned out.

Monkeyboy said...

"The Thameslink project is a good thing for London - unquestionably" Brockley is part of London, therefore Thameslink is good for Brockley.

You claimed that the ELL would make Brockley a worse commute overall. Utter bilge.

Mouse said...

Yay for the ELL!! Booooo to Lou... (just getting in the panto mood)

Paul said...

Just to add to the ever increasing list of Brockley residents: I also work in the city and the ELL is perfect for my commute: one train-15 mins-short walk. Sorry Lou!

Monkeyboy said...

I actually have a sneaking admiration for Lou's persistance in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Reminds me of the Irish Prime Minister.

Tamsin said...

Sticking head above the parapet for the hell of it...

I think it was me who was saying that the re-vamped and extended ELL would make a worse commute overall for NXG - which is true unless you want to go to points north of Shoreditch - which I have to say at weekends I have sometimes used it for. But I was prepared to sacrifice some convenience for the greater good of greater Brockley as long as the train companies would acknowledge this. What was really annoying was the non-stop mantra that things would be better for everyone and we should all be terribly grateful.

Same is likely to happen here. The PR will oversell it. Can't we have a little balance as shown in Matt-Z's comment - the third post.

Pleased with the notion that Charing Cross through trains could be back on the cards - hope the Forest Hill activists are onto it as it is very much a case of if you don't ask you don't get.

Anonymous said...

@ Tamsin
Can't see how the ELL has made a 'worse commute overall from NXG'.
The new ELL runs at higher frequency, with modern trains and to far more destinations than the old ELL. If you're referring to the scrapping of direct services to Charing Cross, this isn't due to the ELL. We've been over this before.

Tamsin said...

A the trains were older and not quite so frequent - but you knew the times and could get onto them while they were waiting at the station - therefore seats guaranteed.

And on the run into London Bridge - considerable numbers would get out to move across to the old ELL (obviously for the secret short cut from Shoreditch to the City) and so you at least could get onto the trains.

I know the demise of Charing Cross through trains was nothing to do with the ELL but this new and greatly improved sevice was used as a distraction ploy by various bodies concerned.

But an old, old debate not worth re-hashing any further. Off to sell Christmas cards. Do come over to St. Alfege in Greenwich sometime...

Make Thameslink stop in Brockley said...

There's a few references above to Brockley (Station, not Crofton Park) getting Thameslink services in future, but does anyone have anything more concrete to go on (as per Michael's question)? I've watched this for a while but not seen anything.

Even if it's not currently in train (sorry), there's a good case for an extra stop in SE London between Croydon and London Bridge. It's only a timetable issue. An interchange to the Overground might also help alleviate congestion at London Bridge during the works. Brockley would be a contender, as would Forest Hill (NXG is too close). 12 car trains on a 10 car platform needn't be a showstopper.

Any ideas on how best to make the case? I've tried Travelwatch (support the idea but not going to do anything) and the Mayor's Office (passed to TfL, stock response).

Matt-Z said...

Nice idea MTSIB, but it won't work as Brockley only has platforms on the slow lines. The Thameslink services run on the fast lines, the ELL and Southern metro on the slow. You can't switch from one to the other willy nilly, it would play havoc with the rest of the timetable.

Forest Hill used to have an island platfom in the middle but I can't see that returning, it would be too narrow. If you want to squeeze in an extra stop on the full length, fast services, Norwood Junction and New Cross Gate are the only options.

Shorter trains stopping at all stations are the only possibility. If this become reality we will see existing Southern services extended through London Bridge and up the core section to new destinations northwards.

cut and paste said...

....but you knew the times and could get onto them while they were waiting at the station - therefore seats guaranteed.

Use the ELL daily and have yet to had trouble finding a seat.

Next....

MTSIB said...

@Matt-Z

Hmm. Good point. Is there a junction option which would allow switching tracks just before and after the stop? This would minimise the effect on the timetable.

Monkeyboy said...

Railways are immensely complex integrated systems. You can't easily tamper with rolling stock, signals, points and the stations they serve without an impact elsewhere. Thameslink would a quiet different service if had to stop at every provincial station between Bedford and Brighton, even the up and coming behemoth that is the Greater Brockley.

Lou Baker said...

@ monkeyboy

The ELL has made commuting worse for those of us who live in Telegraph Hill - which Nick has annexed as Brockley.

We had the ELL before remember, at New Cross Gate, and things for us have not improved. There are NO new connections. We had Canada Water, Shadwell and Whitechapel before.

There are more ELL trains - but there are fewer Southern trains to London Bridge as well. And that's a much more useful destination for most of us most of the time.

4 extra ELL trains (but short ones), in return for losing 2 longer Southern trains. So the net number of new carriages for most of the day = none.

It's harder to get to and from London Bridge - especially at night - and our only new destinations are West Croydon and a few stops in Hackney. And we all need to go there everyday.

The stations south of the river have not been upgraded beyond a lick of paint- oh and there are some barriers.

So, yes, the ELL has produced virtually no benefits for the residents of Telegraph Hill at all. None. Zero. Zippo. Zilch.

The ELL might be great if you live in Honor Oak or Penge. But I don't - and for us in Telegraph Hill it's not been an overwhelmingly positive thing. No matter how hard you try to argue otherwise.

Matt-Z said...

@MTSIB

See Monkeyboy's post at 20:25, it's just not going to happen. It would bugger the timetables and scheduling up for all the other services using both the fast and slow lines.

When railway schemes are mooted and planned various options are looked at, and with each the benfits and disbenefits listed. In this case the benefits would be a few thousand Brockley folk being able to hop on the Thameslink at their home station without needing to change. The disbenefits to tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of other travellers due to changes in scheduling and the slowing down of services are too numerous to mention. It's a non-starter.

Monkeyboy said...

Well I can say with confidence that the ell gives me far more options for getting into town. London bridge is but one destination. For the east of the city the ell is great. The link to the jubilee is far more convenient than lb. I only use southern when there is a problem with the ell. As for the lick of paint on the stations, are you suggesting that we would have got something more if the ell had not happened? The ell is full every day, can't say I sense seething anger from my fellow commuters. How are the southern trains in the morning, still as packed as they used to be? I would wager that yours is a minority view in TH.

Musgrove said...

As a telegraph hill resident I actually agree with Lou. We always had the East London Line, and therefore all the benefits of the connections to the Jubilee Line. What we all have lost is direct trains to and from Charring X. I love the ELL and am glad it's back, but there have been no additional benefits to me since it returned. I am glad others have been able to gain from the expansion though.

Anonymous said...

That's two.......

Tamsin said...

Um, sorry, you can't count - there's me as well (and I've been saying it from the outset) which I think makes three...

MTSIB said...

@Monkeyboy & Matt-Z

The difference between a stop at Brockley and nearly all other provincial stations between Brighton and Bedford is that it would offer an interchange to the ELL. This would be of benefit to more than just Brockley residents.

For instance, the journey between East Croydon and Canary Wharf is about half an hour. Changing to the ELL at Brockley to avoid London Bridge could save up to 10 minutes on this (taking account of the time to make the change). Reducing congestion at London Bridge if this interchange was used would also be of widespread benefit.

But I take your main point that the demonstrable benefit would need to be large to justify adding a stop.

I've never been able to find data on journey numbers, just entry/exit from stations. So I've no idea if it's a dozen people going from East Croydon to Canary Wharf or thousands each day. Any idea if this sort of thing is publicly available?

Monkeyboy said...

But it's not just a case of stopping, like a bus. You would have to reconfigure miles of track and would disrupt southern and the Ell - the very service you want to interchange with.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin, I could have sworn that after much grouching from you and self-defeating behaviour from your husband, who continued to go to Canary Wharf via bus and DLR even once the ELL offered a much better connection, you recently conceded on another thread that it had its advantages?

Brockley Dogging Society said...

We prefer to use Baker Street to change from the Hammersmith and City to the Bakerloo line, often at high-speed.

MTSIB said...

@Monkeyboy,

Thanks. Sorry for my ignorance (but thanks for bearing with me), but do you mean a physical reconfiguration of miles of track or a reconfiguration of the timetable for that stretch?

I think Thameslink trains have come through Brockley on the slow line before, when work was being done on the fast line, though I don't know where the Thameslink train joined the slow line.

Rather than take up any more of your time, can you point me towards any good sources I can research?

Tamsin said...

Yes it does - we made good use of it on the open house weekend and through it discovered Wilton's Music Hall etc. but I have to still agree with Lou and Musgove that it offers no real improvement on the regular commute. NXG and Goldsmiths had the key connections to the City east-side for years (and made use of them) nad the Jubilee line when it came in.

And we were really badly treated through the period of the closure. There were students at Goldsmiths and children going to Beaconsgate messed around for key years in their education with, for example, replacement bus services whose journey times seemed to be calculated on just a measure distance rather than real traffic conditions. And the rail companies wouldn't even come to the meetings called by Joan Ruddock - just not their problem. Making "joined-up thinking" and "a seamless service" a nonsense.

Monkeyboy said...

I'm no expert on the planning side but signaling and timetables are designed to give sufficient space between trains, time for passengers to embark and disembark, trains to cross in. Front of other trains, trains stabled in the correct place at night etc etc... thameslink is not a London service, it's a service that traverses London. Could brockley cope with southern, the ell and thameslink? I doubt it. Also bear in mind that thameslink will meet cross rail, cross rail will interface with the ELL. Brockley is just not that a significant station in the scheme of things.

London Reconnections is written by people with far more knowledge of the strategic side, I just tinker with the peripheral bits 'n' bobs.

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