About Us

Watch the Thameslink Programme film


Programme context

Thameslink operates on one of the busiest and most congested parts of the rail network. Passenger journeys in London and the south east have more than doubled in the last two decades, increasing from 547 million in 1995-96 to 1.1 billion in 2016-17, leading to a capacity crunch. With growth on such a scale, something had to be done to cope with the massive increase in passenger numbers.

Building brand new Thameslink stations in London or expanding the ones we already have was not an option. We therefore needed to rebuild Victorian infrastructure whilst minimising passenger disruption, connecting people and keeping business moving.

Demand for transport into London is continuing to increase, but the number of peak time trains at terminus stations has reached its limit. Without a radical rethink of how the terminating stations and London’s rail networks operate, the limit on capacity runs a risk of being a brake on economic growth.

The Government has invested in the network through the c£7bn Thameslink Programme, to increase capacity, boost reliability, improve journeys by modernising the existing railway fabric, upgrading stations and introducing new trains and carriages.

Thameslink Programme supplement to the NCE

​New Civil Engineer magazine has produced a free supplement that talks about the achievements and benefits of the Thameslink Programme and promotes the launch of the Thameslink Programme Learning Legacy website, as part of the Programme’s commitment to knowledge sharing.

Writing in the foreword, the magazine’s Editor, Mark Hansford, explains that the Programme is not only a boon for rail passengers in the South East but also an opportunity for the infrastructure industry as a whole to learn lessons on how to carry out complex projects.

Programme Level Close-Out Report (Key Output 2)

​This close-out report covers Key Output 2 which involved upgrades, primarily to signalling to accommodate 24 train paths per hour and major platform, track and associated infrastructure remodelling at London Bridge station.

Our Timeline

Key Output 0

Completed March 2009

Service changes introduced and the terminal platforms at Blackfriars closed to allow major work to take place.

Closure of the Farringdon to Moorgate branch line.

Farringdon station remodelled

Work began in early 2009

Between 2009 and 2011, Farringdon Station had to be completely remodelled. This was in order to accommodate the longer Thameslink trains and house the new, integrated ticket hall which now has a permanent entrance and concourse facing Turnmill Street.

The station capacity was increased to cater for 150,000 daily passengers, the train platforms were lengthened and a new roof canopy covering the north end of all four platforms was provided.

Key Output 1

Completed end of 2011

Key Output 1 focused on the remodelling of Farringdon and Blackfriars stations and construction of the Borough Viaduct.

All aspects of Key Output 1 were completed by late 2011 in time for the London Olympics in 2012.

In December 2011, a timetable change introduced 10,000 extra peak period seats.

Borough Viaduct completed

Completed 2012

Borough Viaduct built over Borough Market to run alongside the existing rail bridge.

The Viaduct doubled the number of tracks heading west out of London Bridge station and increased the number of trains that can travel through the station to Charing Cross and north of London.

It entered into service on schedule in 2016.

Blackfriars station upgraded

Reopened Summer 2012

Blackfriars Station reopened as the first station to span the River Thames, with exits on the north and south sides of the river.


Key Output 2

2013 – 2018

Key Output 2 comprised major track, signalling and station remodelling works at London Bridge station.

It also involved the creation of a grade-separated junction is at Bermondsey and permanent line equipment being laid out in the new Canal Tunnels.

London Bridge station works begin

May 2013

First new trains brought into use

July 2016

The first new class 700 trains come into service on the Brighton to Bedford route.

This was the first of 115 trains with a total of 1,140 carriages.

London Bridge station concourse two-thirds open

August 2016

Two thirds of the new concourse at London Bridge station opens, with a new ticket office, a new customer information point and a new station control suite to serve platforms 7 – 15.

Platforms 7-9 open and platforms 1-3 close for redevelopment.

Bermondsey Dive Under brought into use

First passenger trains run through in December 2016

Work began on the Bermondsey Dive Under to “untangle the tracks” on the eastern approaches to London Bridge station in Spring 2012.

Civil works were completed in October 2016, before the first passenger train run through via the down Sussex slow line.

London Bridge concourse reopens

2 January 2018

The rest of the new London Bridge station concourse opens.

Platforms 1 – 5 are entered into service, making 15 in total.

Canal Tunnels brought into use

First trains run through in February 2018

The first trains run through the two Canal Tunnels, which link the low-level platforms at St Pancras International on the Thameslink core section with Belle Isle Junction near Finsbury Park station on the East Coast Main Line.

Thameslink Programme installed track, power, signalling and safety systems to run services through the tunnels.

UK’s first self-drive mainline train

26 March 2018

Passengers ride the UK’s first self-drive mainline train in a major milestone for the rail industry.

The 09.46 service from Peterborough to Horsham ran under automatic train operation (ATO) between St Pancras International and London Blackfriars.

London Bridge officially opens

9 May 2018

London Bridge station officially reopened by HRH The Duke of Cambridge.

Station main works are substantially complete.

New technology introduced

During 2019

Over 2,000 new handheld devices for customer facing staff introduced, free wi-fi available at 105 stations and available on most trains.

New customer information screens at stations, real-time Tube running-info on train information screens and a new Route Operations Centre at Three Bridges.

Self-drive trains

During 2020

As the year progresses, an increasing number of Thameslink trains will run under driver-managed automatic control through the core London stations.

This has been made possible by the installation of the new digital, track-mounted signalling equipment known as the European Train Control System (ETCS) and the in-cab software during the Programme.