Life for any passenger using Blackfriars, but having to go to the Southbank area of The Thames was made considerably easier with the opening of Blackfriars’ new southern ticket hall and entrance/exit on December 12.
The newly built Blackfriars station opened for business marking a major milestone in delivering the a key part of first phase of the Thameslink project on December 12.
The station has in essence been completely rebuilt over the last three years with a new northern entrance opening replacing the old out of date one, which will be shared with London Underground. Blackfriars was also rebuilt in 1977 but had completely outgrown its available facilities with major operating conflicts in evidence once Thameslink services were commenced in the late 1980s.
The through lines have been moved to the east side of the station and the terminating platforms will re-open on the west side of the station, a complete reversal of the previous layout. This will allow the 24 trains per hour to operate from 2018 as there will be no traffic conflicts on flat junctions to the south of the station as with the old layout.
Perhaps more significantly for many passengers, a new facility was opened allowing direct access to the ever popular Southwark Southbank and Tate Modern when the Southern new entrance was also opened on December 12.
This means that any passenger using Blackfriars but needing to get to the Southbank area does not have a half mile detour and to walk across Blackfriars Bridge, saving a lot of time!
Extending Blackfriars’ platforms was a challenge because the railway line crosses a busy river and a road, not to mention the Circle Line. In addition to this, major services such as electricity lines were also carried across the river by the railway bridge and these had to be relocated.
The 12 car platforms are will be fully roofed when the construction is completed and the roof has been fitted with solar panels providing much of the required electricity needed for the station. Rainwater is also collected and used rather than being allowed to run away and being wasted.
The Underground station at Blackfriars has been closed since 2009 to enable the new ticket hall to be built and this will fully open in February even though the northern entrance is open for use now.