Blackfriars: You're still thinking about the bad news, aren't you?

The planned new Blackfriars Station interior

Never a paper to look on the bright side, The Evening Standard reports that:

"Blackfriars Tube station is to close for two and a half years in one of the longest closures of a central London station. Rail chiefs said today the Square Mile station would shut in March next year and not reopen until late in 2011.

"More than 44,000 daily users of the station face long delays getting to and from work and will be forced to use other stations, lines or the bus. Circle and District line services will continue to run through the station but without stopping.

"It is promised the first phase of the Thameslink programme, which will virtually treble passenger capacity from the current 4,500 an hour to 12,000, will be completed for the 2012 Olympics... Blackfriars mainline improvement will include covered platforms stretching across the Thames rail bridge with the station the first to have entrances north and south of the river.

"By early 2012 Thameslink services will be lengthened from eight carriages to 12 between Bedford and central London and services doubled from eight to 16 per hour through central London."

Temple and Mansion House tube stations are both within a few hundred metres walk of Blackfriars

The good news for commuters from Crofton Park is that they can look forward to an additional 2 trains per hour during peak times.

Reader Ed sent us a copy of a letter from Malcolm Smith, Lewisham Council's Executive Director for Regeneration, which confirms that:

"The South London Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) was published by Network Rail in March 2008 and submitted to the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR). It will become established 60 days after publication, unless the ORR issues a notice of objection. The recommendations of a RUS and the evidence contained within it, form an input in to decisions made by the Government and the railway industry. In terms of the Catford Loop Line, the following is proposed :

"From March 2009 services on this route will be extended to run north of Blackfriars, providing new journey opportunities. The Victoria Eastern to Bellingham service, which is recommended for introduction by December 2011, would provide an additional 2 in the peak and provide further new journey opportunities, and an increase in peak service frequencies on the route .

"Some working assumptions have also been made in relation to potential Thameslink services in 2015, although it should be emphasised that no detailed timetabling work has been undertaken and this proposes 4 stopping Thameslink services on this line."