Next time you’re heading north from King’s Cross be sure to grab a window seat looking west. Keep your eyes peeled as you leave Gasworks Tunnel (it’s the first tunnel) and you’ll see new track climbing from a new concrete tunnel portal for Thameslink to meet the East Coast Main Line at Belle Isle.
The portal marks the start of Canal Tunnels which run to a flying junction just north of St Pancras Low Level station. Over the next few months, the new track will be connected to the ECML, paving the way for Peterborough and Cambridge trains to run under central London rather than terminating at King’s Cross.
Once your train plunges into Copenhagen Tunnel, you should switch sides and keep an eye out as you pass Hornsey station. Then you’ll see a new depot being built for Thameslink on the site of the old Coronation Sidings.
The next major Thameslink work is visible at Peterborough, on the side same as at Hornsey. Here, sidings have been cleared of stock, and in same cases cleared away themselves, to provide space to build Thameslink’s new facilities.
Over the past few years, so much Thameslink building work has been concentrated at Blackfriars, London Bridge and Borough Market, it’s been hard to know that this great project will also benefit Great Northern passengers.
Meanwhile, the first of the route’s new trains has been put through its paces on Siemens’ test track at Wildenrath. It’s a real sign that the £6.5 billion programme is edging towards its 2018 completion.