Trains now run all day, every day on the Thameslink rail route through Blackfriars with a full service restored after three and a half years of late-night and weekend engineering work.
Saturday's timetable change marked another milestone in Network Rail's Thameslink Programme – though passengers will have to wait till 2018 and the completion of the redevelopment of London Bridge Station for the full service of up to 24 trains an hour.
The Bankside entrance to Blackfriars Station has proved popular with commuters since it opened last December but until now local residents have not enjoyed the full benefits of the new station on their doorstep with the Thameslink route shut after 10pm on weekdays and nearly every weekend.
“The end of cross-London engineering work on the Thameslink route is great news for our customers who will enjoy an uninterrupted journey once again between Bedford and Brighton and to the airports of Luton and Gatwick at weekends and at nights," says First Capital Connect managing director Neal Lawson.
The company celebrated the resumption of the weekend service with a special seaside excursion train to Brighton. Guests invited for a free day out included children from St James's Primary School in Bermondsey.
The redevelopment of Blackfriars Station has taken a major step forward with the opening of the two new terminating platforms on the western side of the bridge.
Southeastern's off-peak services to Sevenoaks, which currently terminate at Victoria, begin using the new Blackfriars platforms on Monday 21 May and will be joined by a new First Capital Connect Sunday service to Sutton next weekend.
Since work began in 2008 the layout of Blackfriars Station has been transformed. The previous track layout of two through lines on the western side and three terminating platforms on the eastern side has been reversed with the through tracks moved to the eastern half of the station.
All four new platforms are now open but it will be several months before all the hoardings disappear and passengers will be able to fully enjoy the river views from the glass-sided station.
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