14 March 2012

The new station emerging at Blackfriars is stunning. The main northern entrance to the Tube and rail station is a wall of glass with the entrance subtly defined within it. The new 12 coach long platform stretches out across the river and the solar panels are going on the roof. The new southern Bankside exit has changed the geography of London by opening up another way the Thames can be crossed. Again the engineering appears superb – widening a bridge above a busy tidal river – when it opens this will be a winner.

Farringdon is an interesting contrast. A complex, dense and cramped site. The tube, train and Crossrail interchange will really open up this area of London. Once the old ticket hall is re-opened it will cheer things up, but the new entrance is a bit disappointing. It’s a big entrance . No statement, no fanfare,  just a big hole. Seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

But, add all this together with the new Thameslink trains coming and it seems clear the new services are going to be a runaway success. Passengers recognised this a long time ago when we asked them about preferences for the interior layout of the new trains. The answers were really pragmatic – don’t put in the hated 3+2 seats. Give plenty of space to stand and less seats.

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