On Monday, the new entrance and ticket hall for Blackfriars station on the South Bank of the Thames opened to the public. In addition, the Thames Path, which has been closed during construction work for the past two years, has also fully re-opened.
Though the scaffolding and boarded-up panels indicate that there is still a way to go before the new station, with its Thames-spanning platforms, is fully operational, passengers on the First Capital Connect trains that ply the Thameslink route are beginning to see the benefit of the past three years of inconvenience. The next, major improvement will be the introduction of new, 12-car trains, the first of which go into service from 12th December.
The attempt by local politicians to get the station re-named Blackfriars & Bankside may have come to naught, but the signs on the platform do list it as "London Blackfriars for Bankside and South Bank", which might go some way toward appeasing Southwark residents.
Less pleasing news, unfortunately, for those using Blackfriars Tube station. As we hinted at last week, the re-opening, which was scheduled for some time this month, has been postponed until 26th February 2012.