Thameslink Key Output Zero - Blackfriars Terminus Platforms 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.

The history of stations in this area of the City of London is one of change and periodic redevelopment. The first station in this specific location was opened (as St. Pauls) by the London Chatham & Dover Railway on 10th May 1886 and the current station was extensively rebuilt between 1972 and 1977. Whilst still remaining in operation as a through station it is again to be rebuilt by the Thameslink Programme to increase capacity. The terminus platforms closed on 21st March 2009 with the final departure being the 21:12 service the previous day. Platforms are to be extended over the river and there will be a new entrance on the south bank, honouring the first, temporary, station - Blackfriars Bridge - opened before the tracks were extended across the river to the north bank. Conflicting movements between through services via London Bridge and terminating services via Elephant & Castle will be abolished. From March 23rd the former South Eastern Division will be added back to the Thameslink network with new joint First Capital Connect/Southeastern services to and from stations in Kent. Some Thameslink/Southeastern "south sector" services will turn back at Kentish Town (to replace in part the terminating capacity at Blackfriars) and some Thameslink "north sector" will turn back at Herne Hill, where a new turnback siding has been installed (to replace in part the terminating capacity at Moorgate).

St. Paul's (Railway) Bridge and Blackfriars Station from the east

photograph by Lester Hayes

St. Paul's (Railway) Bridge and Blackfriars Station from the east, viewed on March 2nd 2009.
It is this, the eastern terminus, side that is to be extensively rebuilt.


The Queen Victoria Street entrance to Blackfriars Station

Not the most imposing nor impressive face of a station, the Queen Victoria Street entrance to the station and the over-bridge (left) taking the Thameslink route to City Thameslink, Farringdon and points north. This modern bridge replaced a higher bridge carrying the track to the former Holborn Viaduct and the Snow Hill Tunnel.

photograph by Lester Hayes


Looking across from the through platform 5 to the terminus platforms 1-3

On March 2nd, looking across from the through platform 5 to the terminus platforms 1-3, with the City in the background.

photograph by Lester Hayes


Tow bay platforms in use between the peaks on March 2nd 2009

Blackfriars was a busy terminus in the morning and evening peaks, between the peaks, as seen here on March 2nd, much calmer. Nevertheless two bay platforms are in use.

photograph by Lester Hayes