Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Campaign Won - Trains Won't Stop at Blackfriars!

Following a campaign by local residents, Councillors from Labour and other parties, and local MPs, the government has safeguarded the future of a popular south London rail service ahead of a major overhaul of the network.

Passengers travelling to central London on the Wimbledon Loop had faced the prospect of having to change trains at Blackfriars Station from 2018 under proposals put forward under the Thameslink Programme.

However, after a campaign which included Coldharbour Labour Councillors getting together with others to leaflet passengers on trains, the Department for Transport and Network Rail have agreed to continue through trains.

Currently, 4 trains run every hour from Wimbledon Loop stations serving Merton, Morden, Sutton, Carshalton, Mitcham, Streatham, Tulse Hill, Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction, through to St Pancras International and beyond.

Under the new proposals 8 Thameslink trains will run per hour via Elephant and Castle, including the 4 Wimbledon Loop trains, 2 from Sevenoaks via Bromley South and Catford, and 2 (peak only) from Maidstone East via Bromley South.

The Thameslink Programme is a £6 billion project in south-east England to upgrade and expand the Thameslink rail network to provide new and longer trains between a wider range of stations to the north and south of London without requiring passengers to change trains in London. Work includes platform lengthening, station remodelling, new railway infrastructure and additional rolling stock.

Blackfriars Station has recently been rebuilt to the cost of £600 million as part of the programme with the ‘bay’ platforms (for the use of trains terminating from the south) being moved from the east side to the west side of the station.

At peak times, from December 2018, 16 trains per hour will approach Blackfriars from the London Bridge direction, and 8 trains per hour from the Elephant and Castle direction. They will then proceed through the Thameslink core towards central London.

More than 16,000 journeys are made on Wimbledon Loop services each weekday.

The DFT franchise consultation, the purpose of which was to inform the specification for the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise, ran from 31 May to 14 September 2012. It received a total of 3,500 responses with 2,200 in favour of retaining the route.

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