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Moorgate Branch Closure

Four chief elements of the Thameslink Programme are increasing capacity by lengthening trains, expanding the Thameslink network to serve new destinations (although south of the Thames this is actually re-introducing some destinations formerly served by Thameslink when under British Rail management), longer term introduction of a "new-generation" fleet of dual voltage EMUs, but in the interim introduction of a fleet of Class 377/5 units.

The Thameslink Programme is divided into a number of phases, the outcomes of which are referred to as "Key Outputs". The first target of which - Key Output Zero (KO0) - was on 22nd March 2009 and involved the closing of the terminus platforms at Blackfriars, the permanent closure of the Great Northern Farringdon to Moorgate Branch and introduction of a fleet of Class 377/5 units. As recorded on our First Capital Connect Class 377 news pages, the latter element has not gone smoothly or to timetable.

Although the Moorgate Branch, opened in 1868, is not part of the Southern Electric System, because of its significance to past Thameslink services involving use of dual voltage stock which runs on the Southern Electric System, its closure is being marked here.

The final scheduled departure from Moorgate was on Friday 20th March at 19:06 (run by still livered 319214 and 319009) and the final scheduled arrival at Moorgate was at 19:41. This would normally have run empty to Kentish Town at 19:54 but responded to the requests of rail enthusiasts to operate this as a final celebratory passenger service calling at Farringdon, St Pancras and then Kentish Town. This appropriately was operated by the garish Thameslink Programme liveried units 319364 and 319365 (respectively named on 22nd January 2009 "Transforming Blackfriars" and "Transforming Farringdon" but nicknamed "Pinky and Perky").

Although as work to extend the platforms at Farringdon to 12 car length (over the Moorgate Branch's formation, hence the closure) does not commence until the autumn the branch will be available during this period for emergency diversions.


The countdown clock on the concourse at Moorgate

As part of the publicity about the Moorgate Branch's closure a countdown clock was installed on the concourse at Moorgate - seen here on 17th March.

photograph by Colin Price


319457 at Moorgate with the 18:40 departure to Bedford on 17th March

A scene which, saving an emergency diversion in the next few months, will no longer be seen - trains from the National Rail network terminating at the "upper level" platforms at Moorgate.

(left) 319457 with the 18:40 departure to Bedford on 17th March

photograph by Colin Price


319439 in platform 6 and 319457 in platform 5 at Moorgate on 17th March 2009

On the evening of 17th March both Great Northern "upper level" platforms are occupied. 319457 as above and 319439 will be working the 19:06 departure to Bedford - the last outbound passenger service of the day on the Moorgate Branch. The other two bay platforms, platforms 3 & 4, are served by the Metropolitan and Circle lines.

photograph by Colin Price


Two Class 31 hauled services passing at Barbican on 11th July 1975

The intermediate station on the branch is Barbican and we are cheating here by showing it pre the Bedford - St. Pancras electrification scheme with two Class 31 hauled services passing on 11th July 1975.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft


Class 31 hauled service approaching Farringdon on 11th July 1975

More cheating and actually off the branch, an up service to Moorgate is approaching Farringdon on 11th July 1975.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft