As part of a multi-billion pound investment programme, the cross-city Thameslink line is to get a brand new fleet of trains. Southern Railway, who will be operating the new stock when it comes into service next spring, will deploy 44 carriages to run northwards to Bedford instead of terminating in Blackfriars as they presently do.
Good news for commuters who do the daily yo-yo up and down Thameslink’s fifty-odd station route. However, we were less enthused to hear the plan involves permanently closing the Farringdon-Moorgate branch in December this year.
Give us a chance to don our tweed jacket and grab our spotter’s jotter, and excuse this rheumy-eyed reminiscence, but it would seem that in the slow creep of renewal another piece of London’s railway heritage is disappearing. We’re not just talking about the grand statements of Victorian aspiration, but rather, the small and anonymous stations and branch lines that are the raw pulp of a million commuter memories.
The Kings Cross Thameslink station is already gone, with services moved to beneath St. Pancras Station and the tourist-bedeviling original boarded up to await who knows what miserly theme-pub future. Further afield, we’ve recently lost Shoreditch station, while a particular favourite for rambling journeys through the London hinterland, the former Silverlink route out through Canning Town to North Woolwich, has been chopped off at Stratford under its new Overground overseers.
The Farringdon-Moorgate branch may be inconsequential in its own way, but its impending loss will inter another layer atop the rich palimpsest this city is built upon, a time referenced only by the odd flash of signage or glimpse of closed stations from a fast moving train.
And that’s enough wannabe Iain Sinclair material for today – we’re clearly under the influence of his spellbinding talk at the Museum In Docklands last night.
Image courtesy of peprice’s Flickrstream