Tube access

PUBLISHED: 10:39 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 06 May 2010

SIR, — Reader Ian Simpson asked ((Herts Advertiser, November 6) why Bedford to Brighton trains cannot stop at the old King s Cross Thameslink station. The interchange with the Underground was much quicker at King s Cross than it is at St Pancras Internati

SIR, - Reader Ian Simpson asked ((Herts Advertiser, November 6) why Bedford to Brighton trains cannot stop at the old King's Cross Thameslink station. The interchange with the Underground was much quicker at King's Cross than it is at St Pancras International, he says. "It could be done, could it not?" he asks.

Sadly, it cannot. There is no room in the timetable to add an additional stop. The Thameslink route is heavily congested and shared with other passenger-train operators and freight companies. Timings are very tight and it would be impossible to maintain our timetable with an extra stop.

The old station was also prone to crowding whenever there was a problem with the service and often needed to be closed. It lacks accessibility features and would not be able to take the new, longer, 12-carriage trains that are to be introduced between December 2011 and December 2012 as part of the Thameslink Programme.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Mr Simpson. The Tube interchange at St Pancras International will improve significantly when the London Underground Northern ticket hall opens in December 2009. This will provide a much shorter link between the First Capital Connect ticket gates and London Underground (Victoria, Piccadilly and Northern line) platforms. In fact, the new entrance will be less than 100 metres from FCC's gates.

The new ticket hall was to have opened in time for the start of international services at St Pancras International in 2007 but it was delayed as a result of a value-for-money review ordered by Dr Kim Howells MP, the Minister of State, in January 2004.

ROGER PERKINS,

Thameslink Programme Communications Manager

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