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First Capital Connect line engineering works end at last
A train line will finally reopen on weekends and nights after three-and-a-half years of engineering works.
Tens of thousands of Brighton passengers will be given a boost when trains start running on the Thameslink route from Saturday.
First Capital Connect (FCC) said travellers will benefit from longer trains and later Saturday night trains from London to Brighton.
Eight carriages will run between Brighton and Bedford on Saturdays and Sundays.
FCC said following calls from users it has also extended the last trains into Sussex.
The 23.42 and 00.12 Saturday London Bridge to Three Bridges trains will be extended to Brighton via Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and Hassocks.
Southbound there will be two trains an hour to and from Brighton on Sundays, and four an hour on Saturdays.
FCC managing director Neal Lawson said: “The end of cross-London engineering work on the Thameslink route is great news for our customers who will enjoy an uninterrupted journey once again between Brighton and Bedford and to Gatwick Airport at weekends and at nights.
“We will also have longer and later trains on Saturdays and our central London stations will reopen at the weekends.”
Shelley Atlas, of Brighton Line Commuters, welcomed the news and said it will give passengers better value for money.
She said: “I am sure everyone will be very pleased and it will make journeys a lot easier.
“One of the issues people complain about almost constantly is not being able to get a seat so by extending the number of carriages this should make it a lot better for people.
“The later trains have long been awaited. For people going to the theatre up in London it can be a mad dash to catch the train.
“Without that pressure it makes more of an evening for people and better value for money.”
About 40,000 people use the Thameslink service from Brighton daily.
There will not be any other changes to train times south of London once the train company’s new timetable comes into force.
To mark the reopening of the line and FCC sponsoring Brighton Fringe, a giant ice-cream was carried from Bedford to Brighton.
For more information on the new timetable visit www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/changes.
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