Blackfriars is now open again at the weekends thanks to the end of cross-London engineering work. That makes the station ideal for South Bank and Bankside cultural attractions.
First Capital Connect's north bank National Rail ticket office has also opened in the space that will later become the fabulous new ticket hall beneath platforms 1 and 2. Building work goes on, creating new toilets and commissioning the escalators but it's a great improvement.
Upstairs, platforms 3 & 4 have been finished. Southeastern trains that had been terminating at Victoria now use these terminating 'bay' platforms at night and at weekends. First Capital Connect's new twice-hourly Sunday service from Sutton via Carshalton, Hackbridge, Mitcham Junction and Mitcham Eastfields, also uses these platforms.
Thanks to this, there are now 40% more trains calling at the station a week!
However, the Mermaid link entrance to the north bank remains closed until late July and the toilets have also moved to a more convenient place at the back of platform 1.
Blackfriars Tube station reopened after extensive improvements on 20 February 2012.
The Thames Path at Blackfriars South Bank entrance now passes through the station and is closed at night until mid May to allow construction to continue on the bridge above.
Work has been planned so that the south station can remain open while construction continues, however the walking route along the Thames Path needs to close from 10.30pm until 5am.
The signed diversionary route used during the previous closure of the path will be in place.
Two 16-tonne giant iron plates, bearing the insignia of the London, Dover & Chatham Railway that once served Blackfriars, have been restored and returned to the South Bank. Read about it here.
The west side of the bridge, where trains previously ran before the Christmas 2010 track switch, is now being strengthened and widened. There are three new rows of rib arches to support a new bridge deck and two new terminating 'bay' platforms above, creating four platforms in all. Engineers have built the bridge out to the west over one row of the remaining redundant piers from the former rail bridge in the river alongside.
These new bay platforms will open on 19 May 2012.
By the time of the Olympics, a brand new station will have been built at Blackfriars. It will be the first station in London to span the Thames, and already has a new entrance on the south bank providing access to destinations such as Tate Modern and the National Theatre. A new common entrance hall on the north bank will give superior connections to the Tube.
The first 12-carriage trains have been calling at Blackfriars since December 2011 which is also when the new entrances on the south bank and north bank opened. There is more work to do on the National Rail ticket hall on the north bank and platforms above. This will be completed before the 2012 London Olympics.
The closure of the three terminating 'bay' platforms (numbers 1-3) at Blackfriars on 22 March 2009 meant there are now some great services between north Thameslink route stations such as Kentish Town, St Albans and Bedford and south-east London and Kent.
Above: before and after impressions of the new station
Above: Blackfriars South Bank entrance (artist's impression)
Above: Millennium Bridge (artist's impression)
Above: Blackfriars platform view (artist's impression)
Above: Blackfriars south abutment (artist's impression)