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Blackfriars Station

Blackfriars station, built by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway on the south side of the River Thames, was opened in 1864. Some twenty two years later, after construction of the bridge across the river, a new station was opened during 1886 on the north side and the original one closed. When opened it was named St. Paul's, a name it kept until 1937 when it was changed by the Southern Railway to Blackfriars. Ever since its opening it has been an important terminus servicing trains to Kent and south London. For many years it was, as well as a terminus, a through station with trains calling at its two most westerly platforms en route to and from Holborn Viaduct, crossing Ludgate Hill on a handsome bridge that has featured on countless Christmas Cards down the years, Ludgate Hill and the bridge with a train on it in the foreground and St Paul's Cathedral in the background - all topped off with a sprinkling of snow!
 
This beautifully renovated crest on the south side of the Blackfriars Bridge proudly proclaims the railway's original owner.

photograph by David Glasspool

Blackfriars Station
 
Movement of many newspaper and City offices away from the area towards the docklands (and, no doubt, the boom in real estate values) led to the closure of Holborn Viaduct station and the redevelopment of the site as further office accommodation. The line over Ludgate Hill was removed, together with the bridge, and a new line built that drops down steeply from Blackfriars station and burrows under the buildings and Ludgate Hill to emerge at Farringdon via the old Snow Hill tunnel (previously disused for half a century), with a new station built underground. Opened in 1988 and originally called St Paul's Thameslink, the name was soon changed to City Thameslink, this station has two entrances, one on Ludgate Hill and the other on Holborn Viaduct where the old station used to be. The façade and concourse at Blackfriars were rebuilt in the modern style but fortunately one of its architectural treasures, a wall with the many destinations that could be reached from Blackfriars engraved upon it, was saved for posterity.

Blackfriars station is undergoing further change today. The present arrangement of three terminal platforms and two through ones will be reduced to two terminal and two through, reflecting the changing patterns in travel of the late twentieth and early twentyfirst centuries. The platforms, already built out over the River Thames, will be lengthened to accommodate 12 car trains and a new station entrance will be provided on the south side of the river.

 
Blackfriars Station View towards the station, looking north from Platform 5 towards the current structure. The trainshed roof over the platform 4 and 5 roads is noticeably different from the 3 consecutive roof structures to the right of it, originally the roof was of five spans all the same. Two Thameslink services are currently in the station, that on the right is the terminus side of the station and that on the left will shortly depart for Snow Hill tunnel and St Paul's Thameslink.

photograph by David Glasspool

 
The current view looking south from the Platform 5. This view will soon be "undercover", once the new trainshed roof is assembled over the new, lengthened, platforms which will accommodate 12 car trains.

photograph by David Glasspool

Blackfriars Station
 
Blackfriars Station Another view looking south, this time from Platform 3 and under the trainshed roof.

photograph by David Glasspool

 
The general inside overview of the station, from Platform 5, with the terminus platforms on the far side. There are currently two through platforms and three terminus platforms which, these days, seem to be dominated by the Thameslink services, although the Connex South East Kent Link Networkers also terminate here.

photograph by David Glasspool

Blackfriars Station
 
Blackfriars Station A closer view of the current terminus platforms in Blackfriars. One Thameslink service is undergoing a quick turnaround in Platform 1.

photograph by David Glasspool

 
Looking north at the line going towards Farringdon. Trains which come from the Farringdon direction face a steep gradient, which the Thameslink units easily take in their stride. After the "dip" down from Blackfriars, the trains are immediately met by Snow Hill tunnel which takes them into the new underground City Thameslink station and through to Farringdon.

photograph by David Glasspool

Blackfriars Station

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This page was created 19 February 2003

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