Did You Know About The 'Second Northern Line' Coming To London In May?

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Did You Know About The 'Second Northern Line' Coming To London In May?
The new Class 700 train. Image: Siemens

A 'second Northern line' is due to start operating from 20 May — and nope, we're not talking about the Battersea/Nine Elms extension.

As part of a £7bn Thameslink programme, a key stretch of line — taking in Finsbury Park, St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars — will run a frequent 'tube-like' service. From May 2018, 18 trains per hour are due to run between St Pancras and Blackfriars. This is set to rise to 20 trains per hour in December 2018, 22 trains per hour in May 2019, and 24 trains per hour in December 2019. (Services running from Finsbury Park will begin at a frequency of eight an hour.)

The rollout will create an alternative route for commuters, notably those who currently travel on the Bank branch of the Northern line between King's Cross St Pancras and London Bridge. The extra Thameslink trains could also ease congestion on what's often branded the 'misery line', while Thameslink passengers will benefit from riding in shiny Class 700 Thameslink stock.

Must be another way: soon there will be

So why isn't the news more widespread?

For one thing, the Thameslink project has encountered big problems along the way, with major delays to the rollout, and a third public consultation phase is still in progress.

There have also been suggestions that TfL has decided to keep the new services off its tube/Crossrail maps, because it views Thameslink as direct competition, and "fears an income loss".

Or perhaps, what with Crossrail and everything, the map is simply running out of white.

Last Updated 16 May 2018


I'd really like to know the 'benefits' of the Class 700 Thameslink trains. They are starkly uncomfortable, with wafer-thin seat padding and bland, spartan interior finishes. The ride quality is nothing to write home about, and coupled with the hard seats, this rolling stock is completely unsuited to the longer journeys that the new Thameslink route network is supposed to encourage. I have had far more comfortable experiences in an NHS dentist's waiting room.


Unfortunately, the franchise is run by the same company that runs Southern. Do I need to say anymore?


The ticket pricing from south of London is weird. A travelcard zones 1-6 theoretically only allows you to use Blackfriars / City Thameslink / London Bridge on Thameslink - not St.Pancras (a more expensive option). I've not yet had problems at St.Pancras, but I wouldn't be surprised if they start cracking down once the increased frequency is introduced. NB that the frequency increase has been mentioned pretty much as standard in any notices about the works programme, but I suppose that's only seen by those affected.

This does remind me, though, that I need to make more effort to find out when the TL trains will stop diverting via south London at the speed of a lazy tortoise, and revert to approaching Blackfriars via London Bridge.

Melvyn Windebank

This is not a new service as its more a case of the route via London Bridge Station having been withdrawn during rebuilding of London Bridge Station which is now largely complete and its the reinstatement of services and expansion of services.

The 2nd Northern Line was actually reintroduced when Ken Livingstone was leader of the GLC and the long closed link via Snow Hill between Farringdon Station and Blackfriars was reopened on the cheap with new dual voltage class 319 trains suitable for newly electrified Bedford to St Pancras/ Moorgate line with reopening of link allowing trains to serve southern routes thus allowing removal of old trains.

The real controversy is how when this service was introduced the Central section linking Kentish Town via Farringdon/ Blackfriars to Elephant and Castle and London Bridge was shown on the Tube Map then part of London Transport but it seems TFL controlled by The Mayor only wants to show TFL services on the tube map and thus the newly reinstated Thameslink Services despite billions of investment and strategic interchange with Elizabeth Line at Farringdon won't be shown on the basic tube maps !

There is also another Thameslink Great Northern route from Finsbury Park to Moorgate via Northern City Line which used to be part of Northern Line but again this section of Zone 1 route south of Finsbury Park will not be shown on tube maps a situation which. Means someone using a tube map arriving on Overground and Highbury and Islington and wanting Moorgate would change to Victoria Line at H&I to Kings Cross then have to change to Northern Line at Kings Cross when all they needed to do at Highbury was to catch Northern City train direct to Moorgate in a few minutes!

Given the importance of Elizabeth Line it's time these Zone 1 links appeared on basic tube map !


Thameslink should be on the tube map. In function, it's really no different from other tube lines, or certainly Crossrail. And a service should be devolved to TfL and it should become part of the Crossrail network which criss-crosses the wider London region.

(So meanwhile Crossrail 2 would become, uh Crossrail 3...although ultimately named "something else" Line, of course).

Andrew Gwilt

Great Northern will be getting 25 brand new Class 717's that will be built by Siemens. And will replace the Class 313's on the Moorgate-Stevenage via Hertford North (Hertford Loop) service and King's Cross-Welwyn Garden City, Letchworth Garden City and Potters Bar services. With the Ex-GN Class 313's to cascade to Southern to work on West Coastway & East Coastway services.