Two new platforms and 700 extra trains for Blackfriars

Work to rebuild Blackfriars station comes a step closer to completion this weekend as the station’s final two new platforms open for use.

Passengers will benefit from more than 700 extra trains every week at Blackfriars thanks to the new platforms and the completion of engineering work on the central London section of the Thameslink route, allowing trains to serve the station later at night and on weekends.

Network Rail senior programme manager for Blackfriars, Paul Byrne, said: “Our work to rebuild Blackfriars is approaching completion with two new platforms opening on Saturday, coupled with the end of weekend closures on the route, allowing over 700 extra trains to serve the station each week.

“We’ve still got a plenty of work to do before the Blackfriars upgrade is completed but more areas of the new station are opening month by month, train services are improving, and passengers are seeing the benefits.”

First Capital Connect customer service director Keith Jipps said: “The continued improvements at Blackfriars station are great news for our customers. We’ll have 40% more trains serving the station once we reopen at night and weekends. This and the new south station entrance, suddenly makes Blackfriars a great destination for art lovers and theatregoers.”

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Network Rail, working in partnership with Balfour Beatty, has rebuilt Blackfriars station on top of a Victorian rail bridge, creating the only station in London to span the River Thames. The new station roof, built on top of the bridge, is currently being fitted with 4,400 solar panels to create London’s largest solar array. Timelapse footage of the entire station rebuild – from 2009 until the present day – is available online: http://bit.ly/JwzFT7

Saturday also sees weekend and late evening services return to First Capital Connect’s Thameslink route through central London. For three-and-a-half years the section of the route between London Bridge and St Pancras has been closed every night and almost every weekend to allow Network Rail to install new track and signalling and rebuild Farringdon and Blackfriars stations.

The work is part of an upgrade of Thameslink route, which runs from Bedford to Brighton through central London, which will eventually allow 24 trains per hour in each direction to run through Blackfriars.

Network Rail is upgrading track, signalling and stations on the Thameslink route between Bedford and Brighton, through central London. The work is allowing First Capital Connect to run 50% longer 12-carriage trains, and will enable a metro-style 24 trains per hour to run on the route in each direction from 2018.

The new Blackfriars station will be fully operational by summer 2012. Work on Blackfriars bridge will continue into the autumn, without any impact on the travelling public.

Southeastern services to Sevenoaks will begin using Blackfriars’ new platforms on Monday 21 May, and will be joined by a new First Capital Connect service to Sutton from Sunday 27 May. These services, coupled with the return of weekend and late evening services to Blackfriars, will see an extra 727 trains serving Blackfriars every week. This represents a 40% increase in the number of trains using the station.

The Blackfriars station upgrade is being delivered by Network Rail in partnership with Balfour Beatty. The station is operated by First Capital Connect.

Over the past six months, passengers at Blackfriars have benefited from the following improvements:

  A new southern entrance at Blackfriars, connecting the station to the south bank, making the station the only one in London to span the Thames
  The first 50% longer, 12-carriage trains running on the Thameslink route, meaning more space for commuters
  A bigger, more accessible London Underground station, reopened after a 3 year closure
  700 extra trains at Blackfriars as new platforms come into use and weekend/night time engineering works are completed