Thameslink scheme safe despite spending cuts

THE GREEN light has been given to the Thameslink project which, it had been feared, might fall victim to coalition spending cuts.

In an announcement on government plans to invest �8 billion on Britain’s railways this morning, it was confirmed that the Thameslink project, which will eventually double capacity on the First Capital Connect Bedford to Brighton route through St Albans, Harpenden and Radlett, would go ahead in full.

Work on the scheme, which was originally the Thameslink 2000 project and due for completion at the end of last century, has already begun but there was concern about whether the money would be available to complete it.

It is now due to be completed by 2018 and will allow up to 24 trains an hour on the line.

Sandy Walkington, Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson for St Albans, welcomed the news and said that given the scale of public spending cuts, it was a great relief that the coalition was pressing ahead with, “this huge and vital capital investment programme.”

He added: “Thameslink has been the longest running farce in the West End as the original 2000AD completion date receded even further into the distance according to the whim of different governments.”

The government also announced it was buying around 2,000 new carriages for lines across the country. 1.200 of which will be for Thameslink.