Thameslink is a fifty-station main-line route in the British railway system running 225 km (140 mi) north to south through London from Bedford to Brighton, serving both London Gatwick Airport and London Luton Airport. It opened as a through service in 1988 and by 1998 was severely overcrowded, carrying more than 28,000 passengers in the morning peak. The Thameslink programme is a major £5.5 billion scheme to extend the service to a further 100 stations and to greatly increase capacity on the central London section to accommodate more frequent and longer trains. Some parts of this scheme, now well under way, will be in place by the 2012 Olympics. Thameslink services will be complemented by Crossrail, which will offer east-to-west mainline services across London.
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