The Thameslink line is back on the tube map following a long-running campaign.

Historically, the tube map showed a section of the Thameslink route (from Kentish Town to Elephant and Castle) from July 1987, when the route was operated by Network South East and was removed from Tube map in 1999. The restoration to the map, which will appear in stations in the coming weeks, sees Thameslink services within Zones 1 to 6 (as well as Dartford and Swanley), shown on TfL’s maps.

December 2020 tube map (c) TfL

There has been growing pressure to restore Thameslink to the tube map.

London Assembly’s Transport Committee had called for it earlier this year, while Caroline Pidgeon AM has been vocal in calling for the restoration. On 8th October, TfL’s Commissioner, Andy Byford confirmed that the line would be added in the December update to the tube map.

Areas appearing on the tube map for the first time thanks to the addition of Thameslink services include Bromley, Catford and Charlton in south east London and New Southgate and Cricklewood in north London.

In total 48 additional stations have been added to the map.

The addition of Thameslink also means a future Elizabeth line station has appeared on the map earlier (or later if you prefer) than expected, with Abbey Wood appearing for the first time.

Blackfriars station has gained an entrance on the south side of the Thames, making it the first station on the “tube map” to straddle the river.

The addition of Thameslink also makes London south of the river look a lot busier with more mainline trains added to the tube map. It’s also considerably more Thameslink added to the map than they used to show back in the 1990s, when just a small section was shown.

It is however currently a temporary addition, primarily to improve transport during the current pandemic. TfL noted though that the addition will make it easier to find alternative routes when the Bank branch of the Northern line is closed to allow for the Bank station upgrade project. That is currently expected to take place between October 2021 – January 2022.

Julie Dixon, Head of Customer Information and Partnerships at TfL said: “In light of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, and next year’s Northern line closures required to complete the Bank Upgrade works, Thameslink services have been temporarily included on the Tube map to help customers move around the city. This has been a complicated addition to make to the map, but one that we feel will benefit Londoners as part of our work to promote safe, clean and reliable public transport use across the city.”

TfL says that Thameslink will appear on their map until at least December 2021, when they will assess feedback before deciding whether to keep the route on the map for a further period of time.

Article last updated on January 21st, 2021 at 05:58 pm


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  1. David says:

    One curiosity is that only about two thirds of the river piers are shown, despite it being a TfL-affiliated service – as it only includes the ‘connected’ stations. Now that most of the piers are marked, and given the Covid advantages of the relatively uncrowded and well ventilated river services, it would make sense to treat the river as a ‘route’ in itself on the map (if only to advertise the existence of the river service, especially the upriver part) by adding Wandsworth & Battersea.

    • Sarah says:

      I agree David. Why on earth not show all the piers? And why tell us Thameslink will only be shown for a year? Doesn’t make sense.

  2. Dan says:

    Definitely welcome. However, the tube map design is really showing its flaws now. In desperate need of a complete overhaul.

    • JMX says:

      Yep agreed. One issue that occurred to me is the step-free station symbol. As more and more stations become step free and that symbol replaces the smaller tick, there will be less space for everything else. Perhaps marking the step-free stations needs to be done with a separate map?

    • It would probably be better to mark the stations that aren’t step free, perhaps with a red dagger?

    • Marc Ricketts says:

      As Thameslink will be on the London Underground Map in the future. Is that including the London Freedom Pass as well?

  3. Dave says:

    Finally, about time…!
    Just have to wait a bit longer for the Lizzie line to added in the central area.

  4. Si says:

    Lots of 2tph Thameslink branches on the tube map: if we’re going to do that, why not just retire the Tube map and replace it with the Tube and Rail map? It’s not like TfL doesn’t default to the latter everywhere but paper pocket maps and merchandise!

    If 2tph Thameslink services are on the map, there’s no non-marketing reason to not include the Southern, Southeastern and Great Northern services Govia run the franchise for as well. Let alone other operators such as First (GWR, South Western Railway) or Trenitalia (c2c) who surely have a case that this is pushing one franchise over theirs which should be on for the same reasons (high core frequency, alternative to TfL services, etc)

    • JoMo says:

      I agree, to an extent. There’s very little difference between Crossrail, Overground, Thameslink, the Northern City line and half the other suburban services. They should have their own map and the critical lines through central London should be on the Underground map too.

      Even if places like Reading or Sutton may only receive 2tph, It’s still right to show them on the map in my opinion. Thats one of the key differences between crossrail / rail lines and the underground, the latter has a turn-up-and-go service to any and all branches wheras Crossrail or Thameslink passengers may find themselves waiting on the platform a while if they don’t check the timetable.

    • There’s already the 2ph Romford-Upminster and 3tph Woodford to Hainault on the tube map, as well as single-track service out to Chesham. The Euston to Watford Junction Overground was also 3tph for a long time.

    • Si says:

      Brian – yes there’s low frequency bits on previous tube maps. But they met the former filtering for the map – being TfL-run. Thameslink’s tentacles meet none of the justifying criteria used to put Thameslink on the map (which apply to other routes): high frequency, step-free, alternative route between TfL stations. The criteria must be something else and the only reason why these branches are on, but not every other line (all of which, save Chiltern to West Ruislip, are as-frequent, if not more so) is purely the brand.

      TfL have those tentacles **but not others** (and that is my biggest problem) not because of navigation needs, but because of a marketing campaign getting TfL to promote this one other brand alongside its own.

  5. I think it’s time to stop it with the stupid line names. It would be best to just use letter for them, it would be much easier for non-Londoners to use:

    Line B (rather than Bakerloo line and many stops beyond)
    Line C (rather than Central but goes east and west)
    Line D (rather than District, districts unknown)
    Line E (rather than “TfL Rail” stoon to be Liz Line)
    Line H (rather than Hammersmith and City Line but goes to Baking)
    Line J (rather than Jubilee, can’t remember why)
    Line L (rather than DLR)
    Line M (rather then Metropolitan)
    Line N (rather than Northern Line, which goes the most south)
    Line O (rather than London Overground)
    Line P (rather than Piccadilly, a single stop)
    Line T (rather than Thameslink)
    Line W (rather than Waterloo and City Line)
    Line V (rather than Victoria where Victoria single stop)
    Line X (rather than Circle Line that’s not a circle)

    The current system is historic but unhelpful to strangers.

    • ChrisC says:

      Changing to letters will cause more problems than you think it will solve because people can mishear a letter but it’s hard to mishear the bakerloo as the jubilee.

      Nothing wrong with line names. So many transit systems across the world use souless letters so it makes London unique.

      Plus the cost of making such a change could be better spent on projects that actually improve the system.

    • Brian, this letter coding scheme makes a lot of sense.

    • John says:

      As a life long Londoner, I m would oppose this absolutely.

      I have been on many a foreign subways and letters for lines is horrible and confusion for someone from London. A onto D, then the C, no thanks. In addition it would seem somewhat un-British and ruin the tube.

      The lines already have a colour, seems pretty simple to me if you are a tourist.

    • @John

      New York City Subway, Paris Metro/RER/Trams all have letter _and_ number line identifiers, and people & tourists still manage to find their way around the networks.

      Furthermore, around 10% of the male population is colour blind, so using colours as the primary line identifier is an imperfect solution. Plus, for those not reading English, they can usually read letters and numbers.

    • Colin M. says:

      Totally agree

  6. Tim Roll-Pickering says:

    Is this the first time the London Borough of Bexley has appeared on the tube map?

    Also getting a notably increased presence is LB Sutton – previously it’s only had a couple of tram stops around Beddington but now Sutton itself and Carshalton appear on the map. I wonder if also showing a route from Sutton to Wimbledon via Morden will do enough to dampen demand for a tram.

    And yes the map needs redesigning. The zones are getting ever harder to show – look at the mess around Hackbridge where there seems to be an island of Zone 4 in a sea of Zone 5.

  7. David Potts says:

    Thameslink on the map but no Great Northern services to Moorgate?

    • Melvyn says:

      I noticed that and the irony is that TFL have been in discussions with the DFT about transfer of GN services from Moorgate to TFL as part of splitting up tge TSGN concession.

      I reckon that we might need bigger pockets!

  8. Miles says:

    Total stupidity to show a Network Rail line on a TfL services map. Show none or all. If Thameslink then why not all SWT, C2C, Chiltern and all the others? What gets more customers? Kingston or St Helier? The TUBE map is for tourists and those NEW to London to enable them to get around on the historic tube without overwhelming them with everything. The Tram also shouldn’t appear. It’s a “locals” service and badly skews the layout. This map is NOT the full London Connections maps. It is a TUBE map. And as for renaming tube lines, the current HISTORIC names are very memorable and identifiable. Letters would be stupid.

  9. Long Branch Mike says:

    It’s great that TfL added ThamesLink in its London entirety. But that awful dashed line just adds to the visual clutter – the simple, traditional hollow black line should’ve been used.

  10. Goldfinger says:

    Another subtle change: I note that the station one up from Farringdon is now King’s Cross & St Pancras International in an effort not to confuse the Thameslink customer

    • Melvyn says:

      That’s because some Thameslink services terminate in Kings Cross mainline station . However, this has been badly shown as St Pancras International has level boarding while Kings Cross doesn’t and so both should be shown separately with different wheelchair symbols.

      The failure to include Great Northern services from Moorgate means useful connections via Highbury and Islington to Victoria Line is not shown.

  11. Interesting says:

    Interesting how there seems to be an OSI between City Thameslink and St Paul’s now.

  12. Matt says:

    Nunhead has moved! It’s the wrong side of the East London Line.

    Nice to see more of South London on the map though.

  13. Melvyn says:

    Two reasons for including Thameslink are to provide an alternative route during closure of Northern Line city branch next year due to Bank Station upgrade closure while the other is to show alternative routes during current pandemic situation.

    However, the way Kings Cross St Pancras International has been shown means that the level boarding at St Pancras International is not shown. ThTs because some trains terminate at Kings Cross main station and so stations should have been shown separately!

    The one line missing is the Great Northern service from Moorgate to Finsbury Park where just showing this section would have helped passengers during Northern Line closure .!

  14. John B says:

    Tee-hee! Have you seen how far they’ve displaced Beckenham Junction, and I never knew Sevenoaks is near Gravesend

  15. Mike Tee says:

    Will be very confusing to tourists as they won’t know the train paths. Looking at the map they may think they can travel from say New Barnet to Sutton on one train.

    Also confusing is that some of the stations on the Finsbury Park branch of TL don’t have regular trains stopping on Thameslink but only Great Northern which has most of the stations missing including the line to moorgate

  16. Dave says:

    Yes, it may not be an underground/TfL line per se, but how many trains per hour between London Bridge/Blackfriars and St Pancras?! Thats a metro frequency service. And I’d have been happy with just that and an arrow pointing beyond, on the map, for the tourist/visitor.

  17. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Might sound so silly. But I was thinking that if Thameslink could operate the service that Southern currently operates between East Croydon-Watford Junction, Tring and Milton Keynes Central with the Class 377s.

    And to use the Class 700 with the expansion from Brighton, Horsham and Littlehampton to Milton Keynes Central, Watford Junction and Tring via East Croydon and Shepherds Bush (using the West London Line).

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      Or Southern to extend from Brighton and Gatwick Airport to Milton Keynes Central, Watford Junction and Tring. With using the Class 377/2 and Class 377/7.

  18. Colin Newman says:

    So a non TfL line is shown on a map of TfL services partly because it’s step free, though loads of other lines on the map aren’t, but it isn’t shown on the step-free “tube” map.

    Bizarre, confusing, bewildering decision.

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