A new exhibition is looking at the recent substantial works to upgrade the Thameslink lines so that a mainline railway can, in places offer tube-train like services.
Thanks to its convoluted history, and how a line that once simply ran through the heart of the City is now a sprawling mass of destinations, the project to “untangle the lines” was a mammoth one, and one that, stations aside has been largely hidden from view.
The Bermondsey dive-under is an engineering triumph and critical to the project, but I doubt it’ll ever attract the tourists.
Like a motorway flyover, the Bermondsey dive-under allows Thameslink and Southern trains serving Sussex to ‘pass over’ Southeastern trains to and from Kent. This innovative engineering solution removed a bottleneck which caused delays when trains had to pause to let others criss-cross in front of them.
So, an exhibition to try and show off some of the hidden story.
It’s fairly basic to be candid, but aimed at the layperson rather than the engineering and transport geeks. As such, it’s a collection of soundbite cards highlighting key aspects of the Thameslink route, and the works that were undertaken to untangle it.
Some toys to play with are fun though – such as trying to balance the load of one of their new trains, to a ball drop that lets you play at trying to route trains down the correct paths without crossing each other. Tip, angle the board slightly shallower, as the balls can jump out of their destination into the neighbouring station – which would be alarming if that happened in real life.
Off to one side, and not obviously part of the exhibition is a display of old posters, which show off how railway upgrades were communicated to the public in the past.
Also, on display are miniature models of the central London stations which have been transformed by the project.
The exhibition, Untangling the Tracks is open at the London Transport Museum — and is included in the entry charge. Watch the wall where the exhibition sign is carefully, and you’ll just about be able to see trains projected onto the tracks and running around the display.