MPs doubt Thameslink railway upgrade will complete on time

THE LONG-RUNNING Thameslink railway upgrade project could miss its intended 2018 completion date, a group of MPs warn in a report released today.

The public accounts select committee said it is “not confident” that new trains for the cross-London route will be delivered on schedule – because it took the Department of Transport three years longer than expected to sign the relevant contract.

Thameslink currently runs from Bedford through Blackfriars to Wimbledon and Brighton. But the long-awaited upgrade programme will massively expand the network through London Bridge, with likely connections to new destinations such as Sevenoaks, Cambridge and Tunbridge Wells.

Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP who chairs the committee, praised the department for delivering the first part of the project on time and on budget.

But she said meeting deadlines for the next stage will be “very demanding and risky” and called for more Whitehall civil servants to work on the project.

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