West Hampstead’s new Thameslink station has opened to the travelling public, providing passengers with improved access to the station, less congestion, more capacity and easier interchange with nearby Underground and Overground services.
The new entrance on Iverson Road links to a new footbridge with lifts to all platforms, providing step-free access at West Hampstead for the first time. The platforms have also been lengthened to accommodate 50% longer 12-carriage trains that enter service in 2018.
The redevelopment of the station is part of the wider Thameslink Programme, a £6bn scheme to introduce longer and more frequent trains on the route from Bedford to Brighton.
London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone joined local councillors, residents, Network Rail’s project team and managers of the station, First Capital Connect, to officially open the new building.
Ken Livingstone said: “The new station at West Hampstead will make a big difference to people in terms of easing congestion, catering for the increased capacity on rail services and helping with access. It will be welcomed by local passengers who use these services every day.”
Andy Duffin, Network Rail project director, said: “We know this is a day passengers and residents in West Hampstead have been looking forward to, and it marks another important milestone in the Thameslink Programme. The new station and station approach at West Hampstead mean better access, less crowding, capacity for longer trains and a much-improved interchange with other local transport links.
“This has been a hugely rewarding project to work on, and I’d like to thank local people for their patience while we carried out this vital upgrade to their station.”
David Statham, First Capital Connect projects director, said: “The new station relieves the chronic congestion our customers frequently suffered trying to reach our services and provides lifts to all platforms for people with disabilities, parents with buggies and anyone with heavy luggage.”
“The interchange with London Underground is much easier from Iverson Road and its junction with West End Lane is much safer. This is a real improvement for the local community.”
The station entrance has been relocated to Iverson Road, where the embankment alongside the railway has been built up to allow the pavement to be widened from 1.5m to 12m. The existing lime trees have been incorporated into this new public space and the new station can be seen clearly from West End Lane – a key design objective. A green tiled wall, designed to reflect the changing colours of the lime trees, provides an interesting feature on the station approach, brightening the walkway while also drawing people towards the station.
To mark the opening of the new station, Network Rail organised a local photography competition over the autumn. The winning six entries have had their photographs displayed on the back of the Iverson Road wall so they can be seen by everyone who uses the station.
Andy Duffin continued: “Passengers are really going to benefit from the opening of the new station and will get the chance to see the picture gallery on the back of the new Iverson Road wall. It’s a great space that will be seen by everyone that travels to and through the station.”