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Thameslink: Borough Market disruption postponed

London SE1 website team

The Thameslink programme is to be delivered in two phases with work in Borough Market scheduled for 2013-15.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly announced her decision in the House of Commons when presenting the White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway.

The minister promised significant extra capacity by 2011 with the full scheme complete by 2015. This will mean 12-carriage trains running every few minutes through central London. Passenger growth over the next seven years is expected to be 20%.

The first phase of Thameslink will see work stating early in 2009 on a new Blackfriars Station. This will be the first station to span the River Thames and have access on both sides of the river. It will be completed by the end of 2011 in time for the Olympic Games.

The second phase, involving removing a bottleneck, will see the existing Borough Market viaduct widened and a new parallel viaduct constructed. This work will begin in 2013 and take three years. Planning permission was granted last year.

"Our railway is flourishing and in this White Paper we show how we will grow and develop the network for decades to come" Ms Kelly told the House.

"Passengers want not only more capacity and reliability on their trains but also more modern stations, simple and efficient ticketing, better quality of service and value for money. They're right to be so demanding and this strategy can deliver what they want.

Opposition spokesperson Teresa Villiers welcomed progress on Thameslink 2000 but wondered if it should be more aptly named Thameslink 3000. She also asked if the minister could confirm that the budget had been committed.

In reply Ms Kelly said: "Thameslink is fully funded in the next output period."

The Thameslink Programme will be one of the biggest rail projects ever undertaken in the UK.

Simon Hughes, MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey, responding to the announcement said: “Whilst an improved Thameslink service will of course be welcome, if the proposed scheme destroys the character of Borough Market then the government and Network Rail will not be forgiven by the local community.
“Working with local residents, businesses and councillors I will do everything I can to ensure the historic character of Borough Market and its buildings is preserved. We do not improve our future by destroying our valuable past.”
Cllr Adele Morris, Liberal Democrat Chair of Borough & Bankside Community Council, added: “The Borough Market area is a historic and unique part of London, and is integral to Southwark's heritage. Whilst the local community may benefit from improvements to London Bridge Station, the building works will cause massive disruption to the area for a significant period of time.
“Local councillors will keep up the pressure to preserve and enhance as much of the area's character as possible, and to keep the disruption to residents to a minimum.”

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