Thameslink’s London Blackfriars station is celebrating 10 years since its dramatic reconstruction in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Completed by Network Rail as part of the Government-funded Thameslink Programme, the re-construction created space for the station to accommodate longer Thameslink trains, as well as introducing greener operational standards and improving accessibility for less abled passengers.
Running at a high frequency, on an expanded network, Thameslink services have now linked cities across central London with destinations as far apart as Cambridge and Brighton.
The station rebuilds, completed in 2012, took 4 years in duration due to the historical location of the site requiring construction work to incorporate the historical architecture surrounding the station. A key example were the limitations caused by the protected view of St Paul’s Cathedral, which was not allowed to be blocked. Blackfriars is now the only station in London to span the River Thames and is the only station with an entrance on either side of the river. This means it has two postcodes, EC4V (north side) and SE1 (south side).
Thameslink and Great Northern Managing Director Tom Moran said:
“Blackfriars, sitting above the Thames, is quite literally the ‘link’ in Thameslink and the jewel in the crown of our expanded network. Its platforms give spectacular views up the river to Tower Bridge and its green credentials are second-to-none. I’m delighted to be celebrating its 10th anniversary.”
The renovation works were key to making the station more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities. The inclusion of nine new lifts and eight new escalators has made every platform at Blackfriars step-free for the first time.
The rebuild also created the world’s largest solar-powered bridge, boasting an impressive 4,400 solar panels, spanning the entire roof (about 23 tennis courts in size), it generates around half the station’s electricity. At almost 900,000 kWh a year, this is enough to make 30 million cups of tea per annum and reduces CO2 emissions by around 513 tonnes.
Whilst the renovation has introduced greener infrastructure to aid the daily operation of the station, the construction methods themselves were cutting edge regarding the reduction of carbon. 14,000 tonnes of building material were brought in by barge and 8,000 tonnes removed, keeping 2,000 lorries off London's streets.
Rail Minister Wendy Morton said:
“For the last decade Blackfriars has been a stunning addition to central London. Idyllically situated astride the Thames it is a prime example of the success of rail in London, giving passengers easy, green, and comfortable journeys every day, something this Government is delivering to passengers all across the UK.”
To mark the 10th anniversary, Thameslink has put together 10 top facts championing the station’s rich history and exciting future. A passenger photo competition to celebrate what many say is the best station view in London has also created stunning artwork, now on permanent display in the south entrance.
Network Rail route director for Sussex Katie Frost said:
“The rebuilding of Blackfriars didn’t just create a beautiful and more sustainable station but also built a crucial part of what was effectively a new railway. It was a massive undertaking and a shining example of how engineering ingenuity and creativity can create something both stunning and functional.”