London Bridge upgrade will go ahead with two-year delay

The Department for Transport has given the go-ahead to build the second phase of the giant Thameslink programme with a two year delay.

The programme, which includes the reworking of London Bridge station, following upgrades to other stations in the first phase, will being in 2015 and conclude in 2018. Transport secretary Philip Hammond said it would double the current capacity on the line, and confirmed the purchase of 1,200 carriages for the programme.

The Thameslink announcement was part of an £8bn capital investment in rail services announced by the Department for Transport, which confirmed investment in electrificiation of the Great Western Line from London to Didcot, Newbury and Oxford, and the £300m electrification of lines between Liverpool, Preston, Manchester and Blackpool.

Hammond said he was yet to make a further decision about whether to approve the InterCity Express Programme.