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1999-09-23 SRA-003
Shadow Strategic Rail Authority

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£800m South East rail scheme moves ahead


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Shadow Strategic Rail Authority



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Shadow Strategic Rail Authority

£800m South East rail scheme moves ahead
_______________________________________________________________


date
23 September 1999
source Shadow Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release



The SSRA today confirmed enhanced plans for Railtrack to add major
additional capacity to the Thameslink 2000 scheme which will benefit London
commuters both by providing additional surface rail capacity and by relieving
congestion on the underground

Expected to be completed in 2006, Thameslink 2000 will add much needed
extra capacity to the overstretched South East rail network and improve
services for passengers coming to the capital from North and South London,
Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and
Norfolk. It will also provide new through services across London.

The final plan is reflected in a Transport and Works Act application being
issued by Railtrack today. This scheme updates and improves on that
previously developed.

Major new enhancements include:

Increased capacity at London Bridge.
All Charing Cross trains to stop at London Bridge.
12 car Thameslink trains to more stations North and South of the
Thames, including Dartford, Horsham, Oxted, Sandy, St Neots, and
Finsbury Park.
Better main line / LUL interchange, and congestion relief at Blackfriars
and Finsbury Park.
Improved station and interchange facilities at Farringdon.

The scheme originally submitted increased the number of peak hour trains in
each direction through London Bridge serving Cannon Street, Blackfriars and
Charing Cross from 54 to 61 while the new proposals allow for 70. Combined
with the longer trains on more routes, the overall increased capacity is
equivalent to more than 150 extra coaches in the busiest peak periods. The
capacity enhancements and improvements to key interchanges mean that the
capital cost of the scheme has increased from £560 to £800 million.

In parallel with Railtrack's plans the SSRA has today published closure
notices necessary to enable the full project to be delivered. The major
change, in Autumn 2003, is the proposed closure of the Farringdon to
Moorgate section of the current Thameslink service.

SSRA Chief Executive Mike Grant welcomed this important stage in the
progress of the project:-

"In the second half of the coming decade Thameslink 2000 will provide relief
for many thousands of hard pressed rail commuters who daily endure
overcrowding when travelling into the capital.

"As well as promoting major projects like Thameslink, in which the SSRA has
played a central role, we intend to explore every opportunity to increase
services and provide the extra capacity required for the future.

"The scheme put forward today enhances the original concept by providing
yet more capacity and services. It follows thorough consultation and should, I
believe, ultimately produce a more acceptable journey for many thousands of
South East rail commuters" .

Railtrack's Commercial Director, Richard Middleton, said:

" Thameslink 2000 represents a major step forward in terms of improving
London's infrastructure. It ties in closely with the Government's integrated
transport strategy encouraging people to leave their cars at home and make
better use of public transport.

"The Thameslink 2000 project will make a significant contribution towards
improving the frequency and quality of cross - London rail services, as well as
extending the scope of the network served directly by cross - London services
to include almost 120 new stations from the South East to King's Lynn."

SSRA Chairman, Sir Alastair Morton said:

" The railways need to plan for growth. We expect capacity provision to
feature strongly in our discussions of new franchises with the operators."

" Ahead of that, we are paying close attention to projects to reduce
bottlenecks in Britain's rail network" .

Notes to Editors

1. A map of the Thameslink 2000 project as proposed, is attached.

2. Following receipt of today's Transport and Works Act Order Ministers at the
Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) will decide on
whether or not to hold a public enquiry. A decision is expected before the end
of the year.

3. In parallel with the TWA application, the SSRA has today published a
statutory closure notice. The majority of the items covered in this are technical
and are unlikely to cause hardship. However, it is recognised that the closure
of the Farringdon to Moorgate section will cause some inconvenience to
existing users of the current Thameslink service to Moorgate. The SSRA
believes that the benefits of the project as a whole, especially the increased
capacity, outweigh this. The London Regional Passengers' Committee will be
holding a hearing to assess hardship caused by the closures and will be able
to make recommendations to alleviate it.

4. The details of the proposed closures are as follows:-

Early 2002: Permanent closure of terminating platforms at East of Blackfriars.
Two of these will be reinstated to the West of the station. This is to allow
changes to the track at Blackfriars junction which enhance capacity.

Summer 2003: Permanent closure of platforms 8, 9 and 10 at London Bridge
to allow the construction of additional through platforms at the high level
station for Thameslink 2000 and Charing Cross services.

Autumn 2003: Moorgate branch of Thameslink closes permanently, to allow
various works including 12 car platforms at Farringdon. Alternative connection
to Barbican and Moorgate available via London Underground. WAGN's Great
Northern suburban services to Moorgate are not affected. Retaining the
Moorgate branch would reduce the frequency of trains serving the Thameslink
route and reduce the opportunity to operate 12 car trains. The SSRA believes
that the benefits of the operation of more frequent, longer, trains far outweigh
the disbenefits of closing this section.

Summer 2006: Platforms and booking hall at Kings Cross Thameslink close
permanently. They will be replaced by a new vastly improved station at
Midland Road which will provide excellent interchange with the proposed
CTRL and Heathrow Express services at St Pancras, improve interchange
with King 's Cross station and maintain good links with the Underground.
During six months of the construction phase (during 2003) Thameslink
passengers to and from the north will disembark at St Pancras station.


Railhub Archive ::: 1999-09-23 SRA-003





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