While much of Blackfriars, including the Underground station and the new Bankside entrance, is now open to the public, and even the old destination wall is back, work continues on the project’s crowning achievement, the 6,000m sq river-spanning solar panel-clad rooftop.
Today a milestone was reached, as the 2,200th panel was fitted, half of the 4,400 total. When completed, it’s estimated that the cells could provide up to 50% of the station’s energy needs, and provide enviable views out across the Thames. It will also be the world’s largest solar bridge, a small field which comprises just one other known example, in Brisbane, Australia.
Passengers will welcome the completion of the mammoth (and woefully mis-named) Thameslink 2000 project, and contractors should be lauded for completing what has been a challenging engineering feat, but not every aspect of the new station has met with universal appraisal: the Evening Standard’s architecture critic Kieran Long likened the station’s northern entrance building to a leisure centre in Slough.
Work on Blackfriars station is due to be completed in December.
Photograph copyright Network Rail