City Thameslink railway station

City Thameslink is a central London railway station within the City of London, with entrances on Ludgate Hill and Holborn Viaduct. The station is on the Thameslink route between Blackfriars to the south and Farringdon to the north and, with St Pancras, is one of the four core stations on the Thameslink route.

City Thameslink
Southern entrance on Ludgate Hill
City Thameslink
Location of City Thameslink in Central London
LocationHolborn Viaduct / Ludgate Hill
Local authorityCity of London
Managed byThameslink
OwnerNetwork Rail
Station codeCTK
DfT categoryC1
Number of platforms2
Fare zone1
National Rail annual entry and exit
2013–14 6.020 million[2]
– interchange  409[2]
2014–15 6.354 million[2]
– interchange  3,299[2]
2015–16 6.340 million[2]
– interchange  11,885[2]
2016–17 6.339 million[2]
– interchange  12,008[2]
2017–18 6.443 million[2]
– interchange  16,060[2]
Key dates
1990Opened as St. Paul's Thameslink
1991Renamed City Thameslink
Other information
External links
WGS8451.5163°N 0.1037°W / 51.5163; -0.1037
London transport portal

The station opened in 1990 to replace Holborn Viaduct railway station. It was part of the Thameslink project that re-opened the Snow Hill Tunnel to provide a continuous north-south route across London. Originally named St. Paul's Thameslink, but to avoid confusion with the nearby St. Paul's tube station on the Central line, it was renamed City Thameslink the following year. The station was refurbished in 2010–11 to increase capacity, and the timetable was revised in 2018 with the introduction of automatic signalling.

Name and location

The station is near the western edge of the City of London, close to its border with the City of Westminster. It has two entrances, one on Ludgate Hill and another on Holborn Viaduct, both of which access the two platforms.[3] It is one of the few main line stations in central London that does not have an interchange with the London Underground; it is roughly equidistant from Chancery Lane and St. Paul's on the Central line.[4] A planned tube station in the immediate area, to be named Ludgate Circus, was ultimately never built.[5]

Although City Thameslink is a through-station, for ticketing purposes it is classed as a London terminus for Thameslink services to and from the south.[6] It is in Travelcard Zone 1 and one of the "core stations" on the Thameslink route, along with St. Pancras, Farringdon and Blackfriars.[7] The name has come in for criticism as being uninspiring.[8]

Several London Buses routes pass the station, 8; 25; 46; 521 and night routes N8 and N25.[9]


Changes in 1990[10][11]
Smithfield sidings
Holborn Viaduct
City Thameslink


The Thameslink line opened in 1988 after the Snow Hill tunnel, closed to passengers since 1916, was re-opened to provide a through route to Farringdon and King's Cross from South London. Initially, trains used the approach viaduct for the now-closed Holborn Viaduct station.[12] The new service was an immediate financial success, and it was decided to redevelop the Holborn Viaduct site with a new station and business complex. The work was part-financed by the London property developer Rosehaugh Stanhope.[12]

Before Holborn Viaduct closed, a new line between Blackfriars and the tunnel was constructed on a different alignment slightly to the east and at a lower elevation, providing the opportunity to build 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) of office space above the station on a 4-acre (1.6 ha) site.[13] City Thameslink was built to replace Holborn Viaduct station. The total cost was estimated at between £360 and £450 million.[14][13] Because of a proposed routing for the second phase of the Jubilee line through the area, part of the station was built to allow for a future interchange.[15]

Holborn Viaduct closed on 26 January 1990.[13] All Thameslink services were suspended for 17 days the following May so that demolition work could be carried out.[16]

The station was opened by British Rail on 29 May 1990 as St. Paul's Thameslink, and was renamed to City Thameslink on 30 September 1991[17] to avoid confusion with the St. Paul's Central line station on the London Underground, which is several hundred yards to the east, to the north of St Paul's Cathedral.[18] It was the first station built in Central London in almost 100 years.[14] The station was designed by SAS International, who designed the original walls and panelling.[19]

In conjunction with construction of the new station, the area around the old Holborn Viaduct and Ludgate Hill stations was redeveloped and an old bridge across Ludgate Hill was removed.[20] In 1992, following the demolition, an additional service tunnel was constructed connecting City Thameslink to Farringdon.[21]

When the Thameslink franchise was awarded to First Capital Connect (FCC) in 2006, the Thameslink service was re-branded but City Thameslink was not renamed. By late 2010, FCC had reverted to the Thameslink name.[22]

Recent events

As part of the Thameslink Programme, an upgrade of City Thameslink station was completed in 2010. The upgrade was important because the closure of Blackfriars later in the year would lead to increased footfall. The platforms were made ready for future 12-carriage trains, and the passenger information system improved. New lighting, ticket gates and CCTV cameras were installed, and the service announcement system was upgraded to provide more accurate train times.[23] SAS retrofitted the station interior, as they had done for the original 1990 construction, with enamel wall panels that fitted the original design specification.[19]

In a 2014 report, London TravelWatch suggested an underground passageway linking City Thameslink to St Paul's tube station to provide an interchange with the Central line that would benefit passengers travelling from the Central Line catchment to Gatwick and Luton Airports.[24]

In 2018, Govia City Thameslink announced a major timetable change, which was implemented that May. The changes included a half-hour service across Central London, connecting City Thameslink with Gatwick Airport and Luton Airport Parkway.[25] The signalling was upgraded to support Automatic Train Operation through the station, along with the rest of the core Thameslink route,[26] and British Rail Class 700 trains were introduced into the service.[27] The following January, several evening services from City Thameslink to St Albans and Harpenden were reinstated, after a six-month absence.[28]


The station is served by trains on the Thameslink route on Mondays to Saturdays (it is closed on Sundays).[29]

The present Thameslink timetable was introduced in May 2018. The current off peak service is as follows:[30]

Preceding station National Rail Following station

City Thameslink serves as the lost property office of the Thameslink line. A fee is charged for retrieving property.[31]



  1. "London and South East" (PDF). National Rail. September 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2009.
  2. "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. "City Thameslink Station Plan". Transport for London. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  4. "Nearest station to City Thameslink Station". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  5. Fitzgerald, James (15 July 2014). "Unbuilt London: The River Line". Londonist. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  6. "Travelling to, from, and via London". National Rail Enquiries. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  7. NAO 2017, p. 11.
  8. "Here are 31 better names for City Thameslink, the worst name for a railway station ever devised". CityMetric. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  9. "City Thameslink Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  10. Catford, Nick (10 February 2006). "Snow Hill/Holborn Viaduct Low Level". Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  11. Holborn viaduct to Lewisham by Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith (Middleton press)
  12. Haywood 2016, p. 225.
  13. "Steaming ahead". The Times. London. 31 January 1990. p. 39. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  14. Dynes, Michael (7 November 1991). "Main-line station opening marks rail expansion". The Times. London. p. 5.
  15. "Diving Into The Fleet: A Look At London's Lost Tube". London Reconnections. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  16. "Ludgate's first milestone". The Times. London. 1 April 1992. p. 8[S]. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  17. Butt 1995, pp. 62,204.
  18. Harvey, David J (14 November 1989). "All change". Times. London, England. p. 17. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  19. "SAS International solutions specified for major refurbishment of City Thameslink". Architects Journal. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  20. Clayton 2000, p. 181.
  21. Clayton 2000, p. 75.
  22. "Train Times: 23 May to 11 September 2010" (PDF). First Capital Connect. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  23. "£4.5m upgrade of City Thameslink complete" (Press release). First Capital Connect. 15 October 2010. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011.
  24. "Potential future transport projects for London". London Travel Watch. 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  25. "Thameslink timetable changes hit Gatwick and Luton journeys". TTG. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  26. "Main line ATO becomes a reality". Rail Engineer. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  27. "115th and final new Class 700 train rolls off the production line as the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme nears completion". Thameslink Programme. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  28. "Extra night-time train services serving St Albans and Harpenden". Herts Advertiser. 8 January 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  29. "City Thameslink Station". Northern Railway. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  30. "Thameslink timetable changes hit Gatwick and Luton journeys". TTG. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  31. "How much Southeastern, Southern and Thameslink will charge you to get your lost property back". Kent Live. 26 September 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019.


  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  • Clayton, Antony (2000). Subterranean City: Beneath the Streets of London. Historical Publications. ISBN 978-0-948667-69-5.
  • Haywood, Russell (2016). Railways, Urban Development and Town Planning in Britain: 1948–2008. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-07164-8.
  • Update on the Thameslink programme. National Audit Office (Report). Department of Transport. 23 November 2017.

Further reading

  • Sutton, Philip (8–21 February 1990). "Goodbye Holborn Viaduct – Hello St. Paul's Thameslink". RAIL. No. 115. EMAP National Publications. pp. 6–7. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.
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