Thameslink transformation set to get underway

The Government-funded Thameslink Programme is about to have a real impact on today s First Capital Connect Thameslink route train services. As previously advertised, from 22 March, First Capital Connect (FCC) is introducing a new timetable. This allows

The Government-funded Thameslink Programme is about to have a real impact on today's First Capital Connect Thameslink route train services.

As previously advertised, from 22 March, First Capital Connect (FCC) is introducing a new timetable. This allows Network Rail to press ahead with some of the key rebuilding work in central London that will in the future transform the Thameslink route and reduce overcrowding on our services.

The new timetable of 22 March 2009 will have the effect of:

Permanently closing to passenger traffic the FCC Thameslink route branch line from Farringdon to Barbican and Moorgate (but the Great Northern route still serves Moorgate).


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Introducing fresh new routes across London by linking the FCC Thameslink route to Southeastern destinations in south-east London and Kent such as Orpington, Sevenoaks and Gillingham.

Doubling the frequency of peak hour services crossing London from Blackfriars and City Thameslink.

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Closing three of the five platforms at Blackfriars (all services will be diverted through platforms 4 & 5).

Services that previously branched off at Farringdon to Barbican and Moorgate (weekdays, peak hours only), will now run south through City Thameslink, Blackfriars and on to Southeastern destinations such as Sevenoaks, Orpington and Gillingham (and vice versa). There is no change in their timing as far as Farringdon.

This branch line has to close from 22 March 2009 so that Network Rail can close three platforms at Blackfriars and start rebuilding the station. The branch also has to close because Network Rail is extending the Farringdon station platforms later in the year - and the only way to do this is across the branch line junction. Both these pieces of work will allow FCC to run 50% longer 12-carriage trains in the future.

Readers may still see empty trains on the Moorgate branch for a few months. While FCC can't operate a passenger service on the branch we can use it to temporarily accommodate empty carriages at times of disruption to help restore the service.

FCC tickets will be valid on the Tube to Barbican and Moorgate for 24 months after the closure, funded by the Government. Farringdon is likely to be congested once the branch line closes and readers are advised to consider alternative travel. City Thameslink may be one solution. We have a range of options at our website www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk.

We are also putting in place an additional Bedford-bound 'crowd-buster' service departing Farringdon station at 18.16, calling at St Pancras, St Albans, Harpenden, Luton Airport, Luton, Harlington and Bedford, providing an extra 584 seats.

There is also a planned capacity increase as extra carriages we are bringing in to operate the timetable should deliver an extra 2,800 seats across the morning and evening peaks.

However, the capacity increase is dependent on carriages that will be on temporary loan to us from other train operators. We have been forced to use these carriages because train manufacturer Bombardier is almost four months late delivering our new fleet of 92 air-conditioned Electrostar carriages that we were banking on to operate the new timetable.

Bombardier's late delivery also increases the potential for service disruption because we will have few spare trains in reserve. However, FCC has strong contingency plans in place and will do its utmost to deliver the quality service you deserve.

Roger Perkins

Thameslink Programme Communications Manager

First Capital Connect

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