A lot of people outside of London will not be familiar with Farringdon. It is not a large, ornate, grand terminal. It doesn’t show up on the Monopoly board. However, Farringdon does in fact tie into some very important railway history, and holds great importance for the future.

The original station was built as the terminus of the first ever underground railway in London, the Metropolitan Railway. It opened on the 10th of January 1863, but after just under three years, Farringdon was resited, on the 23rd of December, 1865. The station also went through a number of name changes, as is quite normal for Underground stations. Originally it was Farringdon Street, then Farringdon & High Holborn, and finally, in April 1936, just plain Farringdon. A goods yard existed at the station, but this closed in July 1936. From that moment, the station would be largely unchanged for many decades.

Tube trains on the right, Thameslink services on the left.

Until very recently, two principle services operated through Farringdon. The London Underground’s Metropolitan, Circle, and Hammersmith & City lines all serve the station, and mainline services are operated by Thameslink, which is a north/south railway. Thameslink services run as far south as Brighton (right on the south coast of England), and as north as Cambridge, Peterborough and Bedford. At one point, some Thameslink services originated from Moorgate, via a short line passing through nearby Barbican and on to Farringdon, but the Thameslink Programme (a massive upgrade to the route) meant lengthened platforms at Farrington, and that meant severing the spur to Moorgate.

Alongside the development of improved Thameslink services, another major change was in the works. The Crossrail programme would bring a new, east/west line through London, and it would inevitably meet the Thameslink line at some point. That location would be Farringdon, making it a major interchange station. The Crossrail project (what is now the Elizabeth Line) saw the construction of new platforms, and the overhaul of the overall station building. It also saw passenger access established from the nearby Barbican (Farringdon and Barbican are ridiculously close together). Once the Elizabeth Line is fully up and running, it is expected for a train to depart Farringdon once every 30 seconds (once the combined frequency of Underground, Thameslink and Elizabeth Line services is considered).

Farringdon is now an important link between numerous destinations. You can board a train at Gatwick Airport, head to Farringdon, and change for a service to Heathrow for a connecting flight. You can travel from Stratford, change at Farringdon, and hop on a train to Brighton. It might even become London’s most important interchange. Time will tell.

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