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The Thameslink route is operated with a fleet of 74 dual-voltage Class 319 electric multiple units.

Thameslink is a fifty-station line in the British railway system running 225 km (140 miles) north to south across London from Bedford to Brighton through Snow Hill tunnel. It is a significant commuter route and serves the airports at London Gatwick and London Luton. There are well over 40 million passenger journeys on the system annually.[citation needed] It incorporates the Brighton Main Line and part of the Midland Main Line.

Upon the privatisation of British Rail the operation of Thameslink services was franchised to a subsidiary Govia, the train operating company ‘Thameslink’. From 1 April 2006, it was taken over by First Capital Connect along with other services previously operated by wagn. The branding of most trains, stations, and signs has been changed to reflect the name of the new company, but City Thameslink, King’s Cross Thameslink and West Hampstead Thameslink stations retain the word ‘Thameslink’ in their names, since the suffix refers to the Thameslink route itself.


The Snow Hill tunnel was re-opened to passengers after 50 years in 1988 and the Thameslink network in May 1990. Prior to this, the northern section was run as the "Bedpan" service from Bedford to London St Pancras, using the Midland Main Line. Some services ran into the old Widened Lines to London Moorgate. From the south, services terminated at Holborn Viaduct.

Running from north to south the central London stations are: Kings Cross Thameslink on Pentonville Road (close to King's Cross railway station and connected to Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station via foot tunnel); Farringdon station, which links into the London Underground’s Circle and Metropolitan lines; City Thameslink (formerly St. Paul’s Thameslink station — the name was changed to avoid confusion with St. Paul's tube station which is a considerable distance away), which replaced the demolished Holborn Viaduct; Blackfriars, which links to a number of other franchises and the District and Circle lines on the Underground; and London Bridge, which also links to a number of other lines.

In the south there are two branches. The "main line" runs through London Bridge to East Croydon, then to Brighton. A second branch has a more convoluted history.

In its first incarnation, trains went down via Bromley to Orpington and Sevenoaks. Some time after that, the non-Brighton trains ran via Elephant and Castle and Streatham to West Croydon.[citation needed] Although this route, still used by other train services, comes close to the "main line", it never relinks with it. After West Croydon the line ran through Carshalton Beeches to Sutton then to Epsom, Leatherhead, Effingham Junction and finally terminating at Guildford.[citation needed] However this route crossed the commuter networks of what were to become several different rail companies and the onset of rail privatisation made the route increasingly difficult to maintain. Around 1994 the second branch was cut back to West Croydon.[citation needed] Then around 1995 a major overhaul occurred when the route was changed completely. West Croydon was abandoned by Thameslink and instead a new route to Sutton was opened up over existing track through Mitcham Junction with the line then continuing on a loop up to Wimbledon and then rejoining itself south of Streatham.

The proposed Crossrail project would operate a similar cross-London service from the east to the west, although unlike Thameslink it does not involve re-opening old tunnels.

Rolling stock

The Thameslink rolling stock is composed of 74 Class 319 trains built by BREL between 1987 and 1990. These are electrically powered dual-voltage four-car units rated to hold either 289, 308 or 319 passengers.[citation needed] They use 25 kV AC overhead power north of Farringdon and 750 V DC third rail to the south.

Thameslink Programme (Thameslink 2000)

Main article: Thameslink Programme

Since 1991, British Rail (followed by Railtrack, then Network Rail) have been developing proposals to expand and upgrade the Thameslink network in light of the high patronage experienced by operators on the route, particularly today. The project is known as the Thameslink Programme. After a complex, prolonged and frustrating planning process (which officialy began in November 1997), Network Rail (the body currently responsible for developing and executing the project) was finally given planning permission and legal powers on 18th October 2006.[1] However, the money needed to pay for it (£3.1 billion at 2001 prices, £3.5 billion at current nominal prices) has not yet been secured, and the Department for Transport stated that a final decision on funding would be made by summer 2007.[2]

Stations served by Thameslink

A map of the Thameslink (blue) and Great Northern (pink/purple) routes, served by First Capital Connect.

Below is a list of the stations on the Thameslink route, starting from the north:

Bedford - Flitwick - Harlington - Leagrave - Luton - Luton Airport Parkway - Harpenden - St Albans - Radlett - Elstree & Borehamwood - Mill Hill Broadway - Hendon - Cricklewood - West Hampstead Thameslink - Kentish Town - King’s Cross Thameslink - Farringdon

A short branch leaves the main line, going to:

Barbican - Moorgate

The main line continues south to:

City Thameslink - Blackfriars

Again, the line splits, with one branch continuing south to:

London Bridge - East Croydon - Redhill - Gatwick Airport - Three Bridges - Balcombe - Haywards Heath - Wivelsfield - Burgess Hill - Hassocks - Preston Park - Brighton

The other branch goes to:

Elephant & Castle - Loughborough Junction - Herne Hill - Tulse Hill - Streatham

The line then splits into a loop as follows:

Tooting - Haydons Road - Wimbledon - Wimbledon Chase - South Merton - Morden South - St. Helier - Sutton Common - West Sutton - Sutton - Carshalton - Hackbridge - Mitcham Junction - Streatham


  1. Network Rail (2006-10-18). THE £3.5BN THAMESLINK PROJECT CLEARS MAJOR HURDLE. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  2. BBC News (2006-10-18). 'Landmark' ruling for Thameslink. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.

External links

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Railway lines in the East of England:
Main lines: East Coast Main Line   Great Eastern Main Line
Cambridge-King's Lynn "Fen" Line   Cambridge-Norwich "Breckland" Line   Colchester-Clacton "Sunshine Coast" Line
Ely-Peterborough Line   Ipswich-Ely Line   London-Cambridge Line   London, Tilbury & Southend Line
Manningtree-Harwich "Mayflower" Line   Thameslink   West Anglia Main Line   
Commuter lines: Hertford Loop Line   Lea Valley Lines   Northern City Line   Romford-Upminster Line   
Shenfield-Southend Victoria Line   Witham-Braintree Line
Rural lines: Cambridge-Ipswich Line    Crouch Valley Line   East Suffolk Line   Grantham-Skegness Line
Ipswich-Felixstowe Line   Marks Tey-Sudbury "Gainsborough" Line   Norwich-Sheringham "Bittern" Line
Peterborough-Lincoln Line   Thorpe le Soken-Walton "Sunshine Coast" Line   Wherry Lines   

Railway lines in London:
North London:  Dudding Hill Line   Hertford Loop Line   Gospel Oak-Barking Line   North London Line   Northern City Line   Lea Valley Lines  
 St Albans Branch Line   Thameslink   Watford DC Line
East London:  Romford-Upminster Line
South London:  Bexleyheath Line   Bromley North Line   Catford Loop Line   Greenwich Line   Dartford Loop Line
 Hayes Line   Hounslow Loop Line   South London Lines   Tattenham Corner Line   Thameslink
West London:  West London Line
Proposed network: London Overground

Railway lines in South-East England:
Main lines:   Arun Valley Line   Ashford via Maidstone East Line   Ashford-Ramsgate via Canterbury Line   Brighton Main Line   Chatham Main Line   East Coastway   Hastings Line   Channel Tunnel Rail Link   Kent Coast Line   London–Ashford–Dover Line   North Downs Line   Portsmouth Direct Line   South Western Main Line   Thameslink   West Coastway   West of England Main Line
Commuter lines:   Alton Line   Ascot-Guildford Line   Bexleyheath Line   Caterham Line   Catford Loop   Chessington Branch   Dartford Loop   Eastleigh-Fareham Line   Eastleigh-Romsey Line   Greenwich Line   Hayes Line   Hounslow Loop   Mid-Kent Line   New Guildford Line   North Kent Line   Oxted Line   Sheerness Line   Slough-Windsor & Eton Line   South London Line   Staines-Windsor & Eton Line   Staines to Weybridge Line   Sutton Mole Valley Line   Tattenham Corner Line   Waterloo-Reading Line   West London Line
Rural lines:   Brockenhurst-Lymington Line   Henley Branch Line   Island Line   Marlow Branch Line   Marshlink Line   Medway Valley Line   Redhill-Tonbridge Line