Work is set to begin this weekend to connect Thameslink’s Canal Tunnels to the national network, allowing First Capital Connect services to travel beyond King’s Cross to central London and the south of England.
Once connected the tunnels, which run beneath the Regents Canal between King’s Cross and St Pancras International, will link services from Cambridge and Peterborough to the Thameslink route, creating new direct services through London to Gatwick, Brighton and Kent.
This weekend, track work will begin on the East Coast main line at the entrance of the tunnels.
The tunnels, which were built during the redevelopment of St Pancras in 2005-2006, are essential for Thameslink to deliver its aim of providing 24 services an hour in each direction.
Dave Ward, Network Rail’s route managing director for London and the south east, said: “The tunnels are just as important as the redevelopment of London Bridge station in helping to deliver capacity benefits in and out of London. They will also provide a range of journeys between the south coast and East Anglia which were previously not possible.
“Thameslink will transform the railway across London and the south east, providing passengers with longer trains, more seats and a better level of service to meet the ever increasing demands placed on the rail network.”
Progress continues to be made on other elements of the £6 billion programme as well.
In June, an order for 1,140 new carriages was finally finalised with manufacturer Siemens and work is still underway on a major revamp of London Bridge station.
The work being carried out within the Canal Tunnels was covered by The Rail Engineer in March last year.
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