Pressure builds for clarity on £5.5bn London rail link upgrade

London business lobby London First has pushed for the secretary of state for transport to end uncertainty over the future of the Thameslink rail programme.

The £5.5bn upgrade of the north-south London rail line was not confirmed in the Comprehensive Spending Review or subsequent announcements from the Department of Transport.

Baroness Valentine, chief executive of London First, has written an open letter to transport secretary Phillip Hammond, urging him to approve the upgrade.

“London businesses therefore welcome the explicit commitments you have already made to the Tube upgrades and to Crossrail. We now look for similar clarity on Thameslink, on which an announcement has yet to be made,” she wrote.

“Thameslink, the ‘north-south Crossrail’, will bring precious new capacity to London’s congested core before 2020, and relief to millions of rail commuters who start their journeys outside the capital. A decision to proceed with the modernisation of Thameslink would be met with relief by hard-pressed commuters and would be welcomed by businesses across and beyond the capital.”

In May Building reported that the £3bn upgrade of London Bridge station was under threat of cuts as Network Rail chiefs sought to save money. The £1.1bn order for 1,000 carriages of new rolling stock could also be scaled back.