Speaking on the Today programme this morning, transport secretary Philip Hammond confirmed that the Government will commit the full £6 billion toward the second phase of the Thameslink upgrade programme.
The work will see new signalling equipment and trains brought in, and London Bridge station remodelled (Blackfriars and Farringdon are already being rebuilt to accommodate longer trains in time for the Olympics). When complete, the core part of the line between St. Pancras and Blackfriars will run 24 trains per hour at peak times. However, the finish date has been pushed back to 2018.
The confirmation comes after a couple of nervy weeks for Thameslink: the subject was left out of October's comprehensive spending review and was to be addressed the week after, but various complications, and the desire to announce it as part of a wide-ranging statement on the national rail network, has delayed the news until today. For passengers gearing up for some tough fare rises in the New Year, it's a rare good news story from the railways.
Photo / Andrew Bisset.