Platform extensions completed

Platform extensions completed

The final platform extensions which are needed to allow 50% longer 12-car trains with more seats for passengers to operate on the Bedford to Brighton Thameslink route from next month were completed at Flitwick and Harlington stations yesterday (Tuesday, 15 November).

Over the last four years, Network Rail has lengthened 41 platforms at 12 stations on the Midland main line between Bedford and West Hampstead by more than 2½ miles in total. The longer platforms will enable the busiest trains at the busiest times of the day to be increased from eight cars to 12, resulting in a 50% boost in capacity on those services.

Jim Crawford, Network Rail’s major programme director for Thameslink, said: “The completion of the platform extensions marks a major milestone in the Thameslink construction programme and will allow longer trains to run from next month as planned.

“As well as more seats and less congestion at the busiest times of the day, passengers have more to look forward to next year with the new stations at Blackfriars and Farringdon opening. This will provide a huge improvement to facilities and access at these two important London stations.”

David Statham, First Capital Connect projects director, added: “Network Rail has done a great job extending platforms north of London in time for our new timetable on 12 December.

“This first phase of the Thameslink programme means we can now run our first longer trains. The next phase will see a new train fleet delivered in 2015 which will create many more longer services.”

First Capital Connect will lengthen its first services from eight to 12 carriages on 12 December this year. There will be three in the morning rush hour from Bedford and one service from Brighton with the same number home again in the evening.

To find out which services will benefit and where the longer trains will stop, visit www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk

Note to editors

1. In this first phase of the Thameslink programme, Network Rail has extended platforms at 12 stations north of London on the Thameslink route: Bedford, Flitwick, Harlington, Leagrave, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, Harpenden, St Albans, Radlett, Elstree & Borehamwood, Mill Hill Broadway and West Hampstead Thameslink.

2. Power supplies have also been upgraded and two central London stations – Blackfriars and Farringdon – are being redeveloped.

3. The second phase of the Thameslink programme will be completed in 2018 at which point London Bridge station will have been rebuilt and many new routes and stations will be added to the Thameslink network.

The services to be extended to 12-carriage length start on 12 December 2011 will be:

  • Bedford to Brighton: 0658, 0730, 0748 and 1706 (arrives London Bridge 1827)
  • Brighton to Bedford: 0802, 1604 (arrives St Pancras 1732), 1630 (arrives St Pancras 1802) and 1702 (arrives St Pancras 1832)

The number of 12-carriage services each station will have from 12 December 2011 are:

  • Bedford, Flitwick, Luton, Harpenden and St Albans – three in the morning; three in the evening
  • Harlington, Leagrave and Luton Airport Parkway – two in the morning

For more information, visit www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk andwww.networkrail.co.uk/thameslink