Thameslink - B

Thameslink - B
Thameslink History
Passenger services operated across London through the Snow Hill Tunnel from mid-Victorian times until World War I, when services terminated at Moorgate from the Midland line to the north, and at Holborn Viaduct from the south, at a time when most inner cross-London traffic had been lost to buses and trams.
There were low-level platforms under the main part of Holborn Viaduct station known as the Snow Hill platforms: these can still be seen when leaving City Thameslink station travelling northwards.
On 14 June 1941, railway manager George Dow proposed in an article in the London evening newspaper The Star that new routes be built in tunnels from Marylebone south to Victoria, and from King's Cross south to Charing Cross.
Both were to connect with a Paddington–Liverpool Street tunnel that he proposed, anticipating Crossrail by 40 years. He also proposed a north-east to south-west such link (Liverpool Street to Charing Cross), all giving seamless, key, main-line connections.
The Snow Hill Tunnel route remained open for cross-London freight trains until 1970, when the short section between Farringdon and Holborn Viaduct was closed.
Overhead electrification, completed in 1982, allowed the northern section to run as the Midland City Line from Bedford via the Midland Main Line to St Pancras, and via the City Widened Lines to Moorgate.
The Snow Hill tunnel was re-opened by British Rail to passenger trains after 72 years, with Thameslink beginning in May 1988. On 29 January 1990, the section between Blackfriars and Farringdon was temporarily closed to permit the construction of a new alignment.
The route through the site of the long-closed Ludgate Hill station, over Ludgate Hill to Holborn Viaduct was abandoned and demolished. The replacement route under Ludgate Hill was opened on 29 May 1990 by the Network SouthEast (sector of British Rail) concurrently with City Thameslink station, which was initially called St Paul's Thameslink but was renamed in 1991 to avoid confusion with St. Paul's station on the Underground (Central line), about 500 m (550 yd) away.
King's Cross Thameslink on Pentonville Road closed on 8 December 2007, when the Thameslink platforms at nearby St Pancras opened.
In the south the services divide: many main-line trains run almost due south through London Bridge to East Croydon and many continue to Brighton, but the other route/branch has evolved, as follows:
  • From 1988 to 1991 such trains went variously.
  • via Bromley: to Orpington or to Sevenoaks, (both since resumed) or,
  • via Herne Hill and East Croydon to Purley (off peak only).
  • From 1991 to 1994, such trains went only via Elephant & Castle and Streatham to West Croydon, Carshalton Beeches, Sutton, Epsom, Leatherhead and Effingham Junction, to Guildford.
  • From 1994 to 1995 such trains terminated at West Croydon (cutting franchise zone-crossing due to rail privatisation).
  • From the latter year such trains have run "to/from" a nominal furthest point of a true circular loop, Sutton, the Sutton loop calling at stations including Mitcham Junction, Streatham and Wimbledon.
  • From 2018 the service was greatly recast and expanded following the completion of the Thameslink programme:
  • A regular service to Rainham has been added.
  • A regular service to Horsham has been added.
  • In the north the present termini of the trains are Luton, Bedford, Cambridge, Peterborough, St Albans and in peak hours, Welwyn Garden City.
Thameslink Franchise Owners
As of the early 1990s privatisation of British Rail, Thameslink was franchised to Thameslink, a subsidiary of Govia.
By late 1998, more than 28,000 passengers were carried at morning peak times.
From 1 April 2006, the franchise was taken over by First Capital Connect along with some services that had been WAGN's. The branding of most trains, stations, and signs was changed to match the name of the new company, but City Thameslink and West Hampstead Thameslink were not renamed as Thameslink referred to the route.
After criticism of the loss of the apt name for this group of routes, First Capital Connect's publicity began calling this set of services its "Thameslink route" to distinguish it from the former WAGN services.
On 14 September 2014, Govia Thameslink Railway took over operations from First Capital Connect.
Thameslink Programme
Given the network's success, realised plans arose to upgrade the network to cope with persistent peak-time overcrowding. Network Rail obtained planning permission and legal powers in 2006, funding was secured in July 2007 and construction began in October 2007.
Plans included rebuilding the station buildings at Farringdon (in conjunction with the Crossrail project) and West Hampstead Thameslink, total rebuild of London Bridge and Blackfriars stations, two new underground platforms at St Pancras International.
A new tunnel north of St Pancras International to the East Coast Main Line to allow through services to Peterborough and Cambridge, and platform lengthening. A new 8- and 12-carriage fleet of Class 700 trains began in 2016. The new services on to the Great Northern route began initially on 8 March 2018, with the full timetable being introduced in May 2018.
The London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy published in July 2011 laid out a provisional 24tph timetable. South of London it would provide four trains to Brighton (one semi-fast, one stopping) and two each to Three Bridges, Horsham, East Grinstead, Caterham, Tattenham Corner, Tunbridge Wells, Ashford International, Maidstone East, Sevenoaks and Bellingham.
North of London there would be eight semi-fast trains to Bedford, four stopping trains to St Albans, two stopping and two semi-fast trains to Luton, two semi-fast trains to Peterborough, two semi-fast trains to Cambridge and four stopping trains to Welwyn Garden City.
Below is a provisional timetable solely for services running through the 'Thameslink core' tunnel. This 'provisional timetable' was proposed before the upgrade and has not yet been achieved. See Services section above for the current service pattern.
Thameslink Regionals
  • Route Number 1   Bedford   semi-fast   via London Bridge
Brighton   fast   12-car   All day
  • Route Number 2
  • Route Number 3   Bedford   semi-fast   via London Bridge
Gatwick Airport (via Redhill)   semi-fast   12-car   All day
  • Route Number 4
  • Route Number 5   Peterborough   semi-fast   via London Bridge
Horsham (via Redhill)   semi-fast   12-car   All day[a]
  • Route Number 6
  • Route Number 7   Cambridge   semi-fast   via London Bridge
Brighton   fast   12-car   All day[a]
  • Route Number 8
  • Route Number 9   Cambridge   stopping   via London Bridge
Ashford International (peak only)   Maidstone East (off-peak)   semi-fast   8-car   All day[b]
  • Route Number 10
  • Route Number 11   Bedford   fast   via London Bridge
East Grinstead   stopping   12-car   Peak only
  • Route Number 12
  • Route Number 13   Bedford   fast   via London Bridge
Littlehampton (via Hove)   fast   12-car   Peak only
  • Route Number 14
Thameslink Commuter Routes
  • Route Number 15   Luton   all stations[c]   via London Bridge
Rainham (via Greenwich)   all stations[d]   8-car   All day
  • Route Number 16
  • Route Number 17   St Albans City   all stations   via Elephant & Castle
Sutton (via Mitcham Junction)   all stations   8-car   All day
  • Route Number 18
  • Route Number 19   St Albans City   all stations   via Elephant & Castle
Sutton (via Wimbledon)   all stations   8-car   All day
  • Route Number 20
  • Route Number 21   Luton (peak only)   Kentish Town (off-peak)   all stations via Elephant & Castle
Orpington (via Catford)   all stations   8-car   All day[e]
  • Route Number 22
  • Route Number 23   Welwyn Garden City (peak only)   London Blackfriars (off-peak)   stopping via Elephant & Castle
Sevenoaks (via Catford and Otford)   all stations   8-car All day[f]
  • Route Number 24
Thameslink Notes
^:a b Hourly on Sundays.
^ On Sundays, service will run hourly between Cambridge and Kings Cross only, it will not run through the core section or on to Maidstone.
^ Except for Kentish Town, Cricklewood and Hendon.
^ Except for Woolwich Dockyard, Belvedere and Erith.
^ No service on Sundays.
^ An all-day service will operate between London Blackfriars and Sevenoaks only, with no service through the core outside of peak hours.
Thameslink Overview
Thameslink Locale:
South East England
Greater London
East of England
Thameslink Predecessor:
Thameslink, 2 Mar 1997 – 31 Mar 2006
First Capital Connect, 1 Apr 2006 – 13 Sep 2014
Thameslink Current Operator(s): Govia Thameslink Railway, 14th Sep 2014 – 1 April 2028
Thameslink Termini:
Bedford, Peterborough, Cambridge,
Sutton, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Rainham, Horsham, Brighton
Thameslink Stops: St PancrasBlackfriars
Thameslink Train Number(s): TL
Thameslink Line(s) Used:
Brighton Main Line
Chatham Main Line
East Coast Main Line
Midland Main Line
Snow Hill tunnel
South Eastern Main Line
Sutton Loop Line
Thameslink Technical Rolling Stock: 115 Class 700 Desiro City
Thameslink Track Gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge
25 kV 50 Hz AC OHLE
750 V DC third rail
Thameslink Track Owner(s): Network Rail
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