Welcome to the April edition of Govia Thameslink Railway's In-Touch newsletter, bringing you some of the latest news from across the network.
Updates included in this edition are:
- A boost to biodiversity is coming down the tracks
- Turning an underpass between Meldreth to Melbourn into a 'Wonderpass'
- Finsbury Park station now has step-free access
- GTR staff put their running shoes on for charity in the London Marathon
Station facilities at Kentish Town to change as the Underground Station closes during upgrade works.
A boost to biodiversity is coming down the tracks
Over the past few years, we have worked with local communities to complete more than 100 landscaping and rewilding projects at our stations, including introducing bee and bug hotels.
To take these efforts further, we have developed a Biodiversity Plan to set out the next steps we will be taking to support sustainability and the local environments at our stations.
We will also be working with the London Wildlife Trust Consultancy to carry out ecological surveys at specific station sites this year, and we will be monitoring, improving and enhancing their biodiversity.
We will also be encouraging and supporting customers and local community groups to do the same.
To mark the start of this programme of work, we unveiled a living art installation, which was designed by the artist Alice McCabe, at London Blackfriars station on 3 April. Blackfriars is our most sustainable station and features iconic views across the river Thames.
The display included a miniature train station designed as a home for bugs and insects and utilised seasonal plants and flowers in its design.
The installation was also only on display at Blackfriars for a limited time so its plants could be rehomed in some of our station gardens.
To help customers get involved in the project and to get planting, we have also been handing out free wildflower seed packets to passengers at selected stations and to local community groups.
You can find out some more information on the project, and some more pictures, here:
If you would like to discuss our work to support biodiversity across our network further, then do get in touch.
Turning an underpass between Meldreth to Melbourn into a 'Wonderpass'
We have supported a community art project to transform the underpass which connects Meldreth, which is on the line to Cambridge, to Melbourn in response to local residents' concerns over the safety of using it after dark.
The underpass was treated to a makeover after the local Community Rail Partnership Project Officer, Sarah Grove, coordinated a survey which showed that seven in ten people avoided the area after dark.
Alongside support from Govia Thameslink Railway, the renovation was supported by the local parish, district and county councils, the Community Rail Development Fund, and the Meldreth, Shepreth, and Foxton Community Rail Partnership.
The makeover includes reflective paint to enhance visibility, new electric lights that come on earlier and stay on later and murals painted along the length of the underpass. Vegetation has also been cut back from the entrance and exit to improve sight lines.
The murals are a living art gallery along the whole length of the underpass under the A10 road, with frames of different sizes and shapes painted on the walls. Each of these frames contains artwork representing 40 different groups and organisations including schools, youth groups, places of worship and community groups.
The painting was completed over six days during the Easter holiday, working with local artist Bec Barnes who transposed sketches and chalked outlines leaving volunteers to fill in with paint.
We are proud to have been a part of this community project, it is a great achievement to have involved so many local people in the work and will improve the experience of walking to and from the station
Finsbury Park station now has step-free access
Two new lifts have just been unveiled at Finsbury Park railway station, meaning the whole station now has step-free access and opening up travel opportunities for more people.
The project was delivered as part of the Department for Transport's Access for All scheme, and was carried out by Network Rail in partnership with Govia Thameslink Railway and Transport for London.
Finsbury Park is a key interchange for services across London, with connections to services on the East Coast Main Line, the Hertford Loop, the Northern City Line and the London Underground.
Since the on site work commenced in the summer 2021, Network Rail has installed new lifts to serve Platforms 3/4 and 7/8 and has also been busy upgrading the station CCTV, lighting and signage.
Tactile paving has also been installed alongside some safety improvements with new non-slip stair and subway surfaces. The gate line has also moved from Platform 3/4 to the entrance in Station Place.
These improvements will make it much easier for passengers to move throughout the station, and means that the entire station now has step-free access.
This will enable those with limited mobility or travelling with pushchairs, luggage or bikes to use the station independently, and to connect to London Underground services from the tube station.
We are pleased to have delivered these improvements alongside Network Rail and Transport for London, and they will improve journeys for many thousands of people.
GTR staff put their running shoes on for charity in the London Marathon
Alongside tens of thousands of others, four of Govia Thameslink's own staff took part in the London Marathon on Sunday 23 April.
Stakeholder Manager Olivia Barlow, Train Service Manager Kyle Clark, Metro Skilled Maintenance staff member Andy Saunders and Passenger Host Team Leader Liam Galvin all put on their running shoes in the aid of different charities.
Together, they have managed to raise over £3500 for Macmillan Cancer Support, Parkinson's UK, Hospice UK and Railway Children.
We would like to congratulate them on their fantastic efforts to raise money for charities that will go on to help people across the UK.
Station facilities at Kentish Town to change as the Underground Station closes during upgrade works
Alongside Transport for London, we are advising customers that there will be significant changes at Kentish Town station from June 2023.
As Transport for London will start an upgrade project at the station from Monday 26 June 2023, which will see both the stations escalators fully replaced, the Underground Station will close for up to one year from Monday 26 June.
Kentish Town Thameslink station will remain open for our customers to use while the works take place, but the main station concourse will be closed and there will be no connection to Underground services at the station for the duration.
Access to and from the Thameslink station platforms will only be via the 'out of hours' entrance and tickets and Oyster top-ups will not be available to purchase at the station. Customers will need to buy tickets or top up their Oyster cards in advance.
All customers will need to remember to touch their Key card, Contactless or Oyster card on the validators at the temporary entrance/exit to avoid an incomplete journey charge.
With no Underground service at the station, Kentish Town Thameslink station is expected to be busier than usual, especially during peak hours, and we are advising passengers to allow extra time to reach or leave their platform.
We are sorry for any disruption passengers will experience and are grateful for their patience while Transport for London complete the upgrade work.
We will of course keep you updated on any developments as the work progresses