With Kings Cross drawing the eye to the north, it is easy to forget that work is still underway at Blackfriars.
We last covered Blackfriars in detail at the beginning of last year when we looked at the bridge work carried out during the Christmas Blockade. Since then, much has happened – including the reopening of the Underground station.
My colleague Mwmbwls will be looking in detail at Blackfriars at a later date, but above ground, there are a couple of recent changes worth an early mention. Firstly, the entrance on the south side of the river opened at the end of last year, and interestingly the statistics available from Network Rail seem to indicate that it’s drawing a significant amount of traffic – approaching 40% of station users. Secondly, work will shortly begin on the remodelling of the northern concourse. This means that the current north bank ticket office and the Mermaid link entrance will shortly close, with ticket services being temporarily relocated to platform 1 (and the ticket machines already available in the ground floor link between platforms 1 and 2) until the opening of the new surface ticket office in May.
Finally, and more positively, the old London, Chatham & Dover cartouches have now been restored to Blackfriars Bridge.
A feature of the Jospeh Cubitt designed bridge since its opening in 1864, these were removed last year as the work on the structure began in earnest. The intention was always to return them to the bridge, however, at a later date.
This has now taken place. Newly restored and repainted, they were brought back to the site by lorry in the middle of this month, reassembled and lifted back into place.
Some photos of this process can be found below, but SE1 also have some excellent images that are worth a look as well.