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You are a passenger arriving at London Bridge on a brand new Class 377 Electrostar - a train that is part of Southern’s £188 million order to improve capacity.
You’ve not been to London Bridge for some time, and notice that it has been transformed. The station is being redeveloped as part of Network Rail’s £6 billion Thameslink project, and as part of this work the roof on the original terminus platforms has gone.
You leave the ‘377’, walk through the busy station (which will be rebuilt over the next five years), and wait for a Class 319 to Blackfriars. These units are more than 20 years old, and are destined to be cascaded to other parts of the network. From 2015, these Thameslink services will instead use Siemens Class 700s (costing more than £1bn).
Your train crosses Blackfriars Bridge, and passes through a station that has recently been extended to accommodate longer trains.
This is the first station to extend right across the River Thames, and the first ‘new’ station on the south of the river for more than a century.
You continue your journey through Farringdon. A station on the oldest part of the London Underground network (dating from 1863), it has been redeveloped for Thameslink with platform extensions and new footbridges. A Crossrail station is also being built here - when complete, it will be the largest interchange in the capital.
At St Pancras International you leave your Thameslink train, and pass through a station that was opened in 2007. Hidden from view is the work underway to link the Thameslink route with the East Coast Main Line.
Walking through the redeveloped St Pancras, you emerge facing east and look directly at the £550m Western Concourse (opened last year) at King’s Cross station.
Passengers were interviewed on television during the usual fares rise stories, declaring that money should be spent on the rail network… and yet this new building was right behind them!
... read more in RAIL 737, on sale 11/12/2013. Now available for your iPad!