Tuesday 11 Dec 2012
Longer trains on longer platforms at Finsbury Park
Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn (centre) opens one of the two platforms lengthened to accommodate the first 12-carriage trains at Finsbury Park flanked by (right) First Capital Connect managing director Neal Lawson and (left) Network Rail route director Phil Verster
First Capital Connect (FCC) began operating its first longer 12-carriage trains at Finsbury Park on Monday, 10 December 2012, giving passengers at this busy station over 1,000 extra seats each weekday peak.
To accommodate the longer trains – four each weekday – Network Rail has extended platforms 3 and 5 which is part of a package of major improvements designed to boost capacity and improve station facilities.
In years to come, the platforms will allow still more 12-carriage trains to call at Finsbury Park, served by a new fleet of trains to be ordered as part of the Thameslink Programme. From 2018 these will run direct to St Pancras International and across the capital to Farringdon (for Crossrail), London Bridge, Gatwick Airport and beyond.
MP Jeremy Corbyn, who opened the platforms on Monday, said:
“I am very proud to represent Finsbury Park Station in my constituency and acknowledge and praise the very hard work of all of the staff at the station who assist passengers in their travel.
“It is a great honour to open this new platform which will provide for big capacity and growth on our railway system – the very best and most environmentally sustainable way to travel.”
FCC Managing Director Neal Lawson said:
“Finsbury Park is our busiest station outside central London and we are delighted these extra 1,000 seats a day will offer more capacity to the 12 million FCC passengers who use it every year.
“These longer trains are the final ingredient in our More Seats For You capacity enhancement initiative which, with 61 additional carriages, longer platforms and upgraded power supplies, has put over 12,000 extra seats for our Great Northern route customers at our busiest times of the day.”
Phil Verster, Route Director for Network Rail, said:
“Finsbury Park is a vital transport hub and one of the busiest commuter stations in London. The work we’ve done to extend platforms to allow longer trains to run will make a real difference, boosting capacity and providing more seats each day for passengers.
“These longer platforms will not only achieve that but also prepare the ground for the Thameslink programme, which will open up new destinations and journey opportunities from Finsbury Park.”
£4 million improvements already delivered at Finsbury Park
Over £4 million has already been invested in Finsbury Park in the past 18 months:
• New automatic ticket gates opened on the busiest platforms in spring 2011 (5 & 6 and 1 & 2). This helped clamp down on fare evasion and improved security.
• Platform canopies have been fully refurbished and extended.
• Station lighting has been upgraded.
• Additional waiting shelters have been put up on all platforms.
Extra platform, additional passenger line, step-free access
Still more improvements will follow:
• Network Rail is reinstating and lengthening a disused platform next to platform 1 for southbound trains. These will run on a new passenger line to be created from a goods line between Alexandra Palace and Finsbury Park.
The new passenger line, due to open in December 2013, will ease congestion on the rail network and improve the reliability of train services, as will the upgrade of the existing slow line out of London.
• And lifts will provide step-free access between the National Rail station entrance and National Rail platforms for the first time. These are planned for spring 2014.
Notes to editors
1. The four services lengthened to 12 carriages are services from Peterborough to King’s Cross calling at Finsbury Park at 0741 and 0847(leaving Peterborough at 0632 and 0732 respectively) and services from King’s Cross to Peterborough calling at Finsbury Park at 1749 and 1819 (leaving King’s Cross at 1744 and 1814 respectively).
The More Seats For You capacity upgrade scheme
1. In 2008 six of the country’s 10 most crowded services in the country could be found on FCC’s Great Northern route to Peterborough and Cambridge.
2. FCC left this list by adding 61 extra train carriages to its fleet between May 2009 and December 2010. Network Rail has lengthened platforms at Cambridge, Royston and Letchworth stations for the longer trains and upgraded power supplies for the extended fleet.
3. This year, platforms have been lengthened for 12-carriage trains at Arlesey, Biggleswade, Sandy and Finsbury Park. These platforms pave the way for more 12 carriage trains when a new fleet is introduced in years to come through the Thameslink Programme. These trains will eventually link through to the Thameslink route at St Pancras International and provide direct services to London Bridge, Gatwick and beyond.
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.