After a long and well-supported campaign by local residents and politicians, it has been announced that Thameslink trains serving Herne Hill (currently operated by First Capital Connect) will, after all, continue through to stations beyond Blackfriars.
The government has safeguarded this key south London rail service ahead of a major overhaul of the network, Rail Minister Simon Burns announced yesterday.
This is immensely reassuring to many local commuters and other rail travellers, who feared the prospect of disrupted journeys from Herne Hill to the City, Farringdon (for CrossRail in due course), King’s Cross/St Pancras and northwards. It preserves Herne Hill as a supremely advantageous transport hub.
As you may know, as part of the Thameslink programme, a new rail franchise contains threats to terminate our Thameslink service (technically known as the Wimbledon Loop), running through Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction, at Blackfriars Station, instead of running through to City Thameslink, Farringdon, King’s Cross/St Pancras and points north.
This would mean that passengers wanting to go beyond Blackfriars would have to disembark there, change platforms and catch a different train.
The through-service from Herne Hill on this line has been running for more than 20 years and has been the reason many people have chosen to live in these areas. It’s a hugely busy commuter service. Removing it will cause great inconvenience and longer journeys for hundreds of residents, and over-crowding at Blackfriars where people will have to change to access Farringdon, St Pancras and beyond.
Lambeth has set up an e-Petition, supported by all parties, to protest against this. Please sign it!