[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Work begins on Thameslink project
An image of the revamped Blackfriars Station
Blackfriars will become the first station to span the Thames
Work is due to begin on the long-delayed 5.5bn modernisation of the Thameslink rail project for London.

Luton Airport Parkway is the first of 23 stations scheduled to have their platforms lengthened by 2011.

Peak-time trains will increase from eight an hour to as many as 24, using 12-carriage services instead of eight.

Services on the busy north-south line through central London will continue to run during the work, expected to be completed by 2015.

Andrew Mitchell, of Network Rail, said the project would deliver significant improvements to the service.

He said: "Today is the start of a long-sought after scheme which will deliver what passengers need; more seats, less crowding, more direct services and better connections in London."

There will be major improvements to London Bridge, Farringdon and Blackfriars stations, which will become the first station to span the Thames.

The 5.5bn project includes 3.5bn worth of infrastructure work.

The rest of the funds will cover expenses such as new rolling stock.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Rail minister, Tom Harris, says delays were ineviatable



SEE ALSO

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific