The first phase of a major project to improve facilities and access at Finsbury Park station and ultimately provide extra capacity for more trains into central London begins this week.
Over the next three years, multi-million pound investments from Network Rail, First Capital Connect and the Department for Transport will see platform canopies refurbished and extended, waiting shelters erected and a new footbridge and lifts constructed to make travelling easier and more pleasant for station users.
Platforms 3 and 5 are being extended to accommodate 12-carriage trains, improving capacity on the outer suburban routes.
And a vital scheme to boost capacity on the East Coast Main Line between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace will also see disused platforms brought back into use at both stations and conversion of a line currently used by freight trains to passenger status. In the short term this will ease congestion and improve service reliability. In the longer term, as more trains are made available through the Thameslink Programme, the upgrade will make space for more services across all routes, including direct trains through to London Bridge and beyond.
Connecting the new platform at Finsbury Park to the rest of the station will be a new, fully-accessible footbridge with lifts, providing step-free access between the ticket office and all platforms for the first time. Network Rail and First Capital Connect are consulting with local stakeholders on the details of the scheme, which is funded by the government’s Access for All programme. It is anticipated that both the new platform and footbridge will be in use in 2013.
Richard Lungmuss, Network Rail route director, said: “Finsbury Park is a vital transport hub and one of the busiest commuter stations in London. As the number of people choosing rail continues to grow, we’re working with our partners in the rail industry to make sure the station is fit for purpose and can accommodate the forecast growth in passenger numbers.
“The railway through north London operates at capacity during the busiest parts of the day. The capacity enhancements we’re making between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace will improve performance and reduce journey times, for passengers travelling into King’s Cross and Moorgate.”
David Statham, First Capital Connect projects director, said: “This huge investment in such a wide range of improvements at Finsbury Park is great news for our customers who will soon enjoy new canopies, followed by increased capacity through 12-carriage platforms and better service reliability through the conversion of the goods line to passenger service.
“In the longer term, as the new Thameslink Programme trains are delivered, this work will mean we can add more services to reduce overcrowding in the rush hour, with many of these trains, from 2018, running direct across the capital to London Bridge and beyond.”
Work to refurbish and extend canopies at Finsbury Park begins this weekend and is due to be completed by the end of the year. The scheme, funded by the Department for Transport and Network Rail, will see the existing canopies on platforms 3 & 4 and 4 & 5 refurbished and extended by to provide additional shelter for passengers using the station. This will be particularly useful during the busy morning and evening peak times, allowing passengers to spread out further along the platform under shelter.
To enable the work to be carried out safely, an amended timetable will operate each Sunday until October. In many cases, northbound trains will not call at Hornsey or Harringay and passengers for these stations are advised to travel to Alexandra Palace to take a southbound service back. Passengers wishing to travel on Sundays should check the information posters at Finsbury Park station or go to the website.