Monday 11 Jun 2012
RESTORED DESTINATION STONES UNVEILED AT BLACKFRIARS STATION
- South East
A unique piece of railway heritage has been unveiled to passengers at Blackfriars.
Fifty four stones from the original Victorian station, each engraved with destinations served by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR), have been preserved in a newly opened area of the Blackfriars concourse. The stones list destinations as diverse as Bickley, Marseille, Gravesend and Venice, as the LCDR advertised Blackfriars’ links to towns and cities of the south east, and the business capitals of Europe via cross-channel steamers.
The restored destination stones are displayed in Blackfriars' new northern concourse, where First Capital Connect and Southeastern customers are benefitting from a new ticket hall with direct links to the London Underground station next door. Toilets in the new concourse building also opened over the weekend. Escalators to platform level and new shops within the station will open for use over the coming months.
Phil Kirby, Network Rail senior project manager for Blackfriars, said: “The Blackfriars destination stones are a unique piece of railway history. In the age of steam, Blackfriars was a gateway to Europe, with passengers travelling to destinations as far afield as St Petersburg and Frankfurt. We’re currently giving Blackfriars a 21st Century makeover, building on Victorian foundations to create a bigger, more accessible station with a better train service. The boat-train from Blackfriars may not be running any more, but with direct links to St Pancras International, Gatwick and Luton airports, it’s still a pretty good option for the international traveller.”
First Capital Connect customer services director, Keith Jipps, said: "We're thrilled that one of the original heritage features of Blackfriars station - the destination stones - have been preserved and revealed and complement our new, modern ticket hall which is now open to the public. Thameslink route customers love this evolving station and the new features being completed."
Passengers have seen massive changes at Blackfriars over recent months as new areas of the station opened for use. In December Blackfriars became the only station in London to span the Thames as a new entrance opened on the south bank of the river. This was followed by a new London Underground station, which opened in February following a three year closure. Since last month 700 extra trains per week have been serving Blackfriars following the opening of two new platforms. The new station will be fully operational by summer 2012, with work complete on all entrances, platforms, lifts and escalators. Work on the bridge reconstruction will continue into the autumn, without any impact on passengers.
Notes to editors
1. The Blackfriars destination stones were part of Blackfriars station (originally named St Pauls station) which opened in 1886. The architect was J Wolfe Barry working with Henri Marc Brunel, son of Isambard, and W Mills, engineer of the London Chatham & Dover Railway
2. The cities featured on the stones are: ANTWERP, ASHFORD, GRAVESEND, DARNSTADT, BALE, BADEN-BADEN BECKENHAM, HERNE BAY, FLORENCE, NICE, BERLIN, BICKLEY, MAIDSTONE, FRANKFORT, GENOA, BOULOGNE, BROADSTAIRS, MARGATE, GENEVA, PARIS, BREMEN, BROMLEY, RAMSGATE, LAUSANNE, MILAN, BRINDISI, CANTERBURY, ROCHESTER, LEIPSIC ROME, BRUSSELS, CHATHAM, SEVENOAKS, LUCERNE, LYONS, CALAIS, CRYSTAL PALACE, SITTINGBOURNE, MARSEILLES, TURIN, CANNES, DEAL, SHEERNESS, VIENNA, NAPLES, COLOGNE, DOVER, WESTGATE-ON-SEA, ST PETERSBURG, VENICE, DRESDEN, FAVERSHAM, WALMER AND WIESBADEN.
3. Blackfriars station is being completely rebuilt as part of the Thameslink upgrade programme, which will allow longer trains to run more frequently on the route from Bedford to Brighton through central London.
4. The new Blackfriars station will be fully operational by summer 2012. Work on Blackfriars bridge will continue into the autumn, without any impact on the travelling public.
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 4.7 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.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.