New stations are proposed for Thameslink to serve new developments at Napsbury (London Colney), Luton North, Elstow (south Bedford) and Bedford North.
These four proposals come from various quarters.
A station used to exist here called Napsbury Halt. The adjacent Napsbury Hospital site, just outside London Colney, has been redeveloped recently and Hertsmere Borough Council are campaigning to have the station rebuilt, to serve 7,500 new homes in the immediate surroundings. [Epsom Guardian]
Close to the busy A414 and minutes from the M1, A1(M) and M25, this station might also be very popular with park-and-ride commuters. However, the current proposal from the developers of an adjacent site is not for a parkway station.
The SRA believe that a four-platform station would be necessary rather than two platforms, as the latter would suffer from complex timetabling and reduced flexibility of operation. It has, however, indicated that it will consider timetabling for the new station using the proposed 2005 timetable as a reference. The station would then be incorporated into Thameslink 2000 timetable plans.
Luton North Parkway
Massive housing developments are planned in the north of Luton and Houghton Regis as part of the government's drive for more homes in the southeast. A new northern bypass of Dunstable is also being constructed as an extension of the Leighton Buzzard bypass (A505), with an M1 interchange junction right next to the railway line. Such developments have led Herts County Council to press for a new parkway station here [MML RUS]. The East of England Regional Assembly gave an indicative cost for this station of £35m.
An alternative proposal would see the existing station at Harlington, which is just minutes from the motorway, being developed into a parkway station to attract M1 users.
A new development (The Wixams, formerly known as Elstow Garden Villages) of 4,500 homes is planned to the south of Bedford on a brownfield site next to the railway. A station is proposed, which might also serve as a parkway station. It would also help to serve the suburban area of Kempston.
The SRA required bidders for the new Thameslink Great Northern franchise (since won by First Group) to consider this station when submitting their bids [TLGN franchise briefing]. It was also in the Network Rail 2006 business plan, marked as subject to developer funding.
The East Midlands Regional Assembly thought that Elstow station could be served by a bus-based rapid transit system for the Bedford and Marston Vale area. [Milton Keynes South Midlands Study]
Much of the traffic from Bedford station arrives from surrounding villages by car, particularly from the north.
A station to the north would help relieve congestion at Bedford - but currently could only be served by Midland Mainline at the expense of stops at Bedford itself! This is because the overhead wires required for electric Thameslink services do not extend past Bedford. Thameslink, however, are willing to look at the case for extending them one stop north.
No current news for this project.
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