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Other King's Cross & St Pancras Upgrade

King's Cross tube station is undergoing reconstruction, the Thameslink station is being rebuilt and St Pancras is being upgraded as part of the CTRL project.

Roadworks on the Euston Road outside King's Cross
The Euston Road is currently beset by roadworks

This is a huge project being undertaken to make King's Cross St. Pancras the most important hub station in London.

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link arrives at the new St. Pancras International station on 14 November 2007. On 8 December 2007, King's Cross Thameslink will be closed and services will instead call from the 9 December at new sub-surface platforms at St. Pancras International.

The Underground station has already been extensively rebuilt to provide a new ticket hall for the subsurface lines and better interchange between these and the deep tube lines (Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria); a new northern ticket hall is now also under construction to improve access further and allow for a large new development to the north. In the longer term, a new concourse will be constructed for King\'s Cross mainline & suburban stations.

Not too much further in the future, the Cross River Tram could be serving King's Cross and St Pancras too.

St Pancras Thameslink

Street entrance to St Pancras Thameslink platforms from Midland Road
Future entrance to St Pancras Thameslink platforms from street level at Midland Road *

Preparatory works for a new Thameslink route station at St Pancras took place over a number of weekends prior to September 2004; these works required service suspensions on the core Thameslink route between Kentish Town and Blackfriars. From September 2004 until March 2005, Thameslink services did not run through the core at all; instead services from the north (Bedford and Luton) terminated in new platforms on the eastern deck of the St Pancras extension (see later), and services from the south (Brighton and Sutton) terminated at King's Cross Thameslink. The closure enabled construction of the new "station box" to occur around the underground Thameslink line.

In February 2006, the Department for Transport authorised the completion of the station at a cost of around 65m. This includes 50m to fit out the station with platforms, escalators, lifts and all other finishes, and 10-15m for signalling alterations to allow trains to call at the new station instead of the current King's Cross Thameslink station on Pentonville Road.

The new station will be named St Pancras International, as with the adjacent above-ground station. [FCC press release]

The station will open on 9 December 2007, following a 20-month fitting-out period. This will allow it to distribute passengers from the CTRL soon after services begin operating to St Pancras.

Once the new station is fitted and opened, it will feed directly into the Underground station's new western ticket hall, vastly improving interchange between Thameslink and subsurface services (Circle, Metropolitan & Hammersmith & City).

The old station on Pentonville Road will be closed, although the entrance will remain open for use by Underground passengers.

King's Cross St. Pancras Underground station

A 300m reconstruction of the Underground station here is underway so that the station can cope with increased passenger flows at St Pancras (from Eurostar, the new Kent domestic services and enhanced Thameslink services in the future).

The three subsurface lines (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan) have been suspended through the area on many weekends in 2005 and 2006 to allow this reconstruction to take place.

Before work started, the station was heavily congested in peak times with a flow of 55,000 passengers per hour; this is expected to rise to 82,000 once the Channel Tunnel Rail Link is complete.

A new western ticket hall has now opened underneath the old forecourt of St Pancras station. This lies above the current subsurface platforms (hence the weekend closures of those lines) and will provide the main access to St Pancras station for Eurostar passengers.

The connection between the new western ticket hall and the original ticket hall (the tube ticket hall, named because it now provides access solely to the deep tube lines (Piccadilly, Northern & Victoria)) was through refurbishment of an existing subway to St Pancras under Pancras Road. The subway was made step-free, and the existing ticket hall was also refurbished.

The new western ticket hall and the refurbised tube ticket hall opened on 28 May 2006, about two months later than originally planned.

Northern ticket hall

A new northern ticket hall will be provided to the west of King's Cross mainline station, in front of the entrance to the suburban platforms.

This ticket hall will be the last work to be completed on the Underground station. Whilst most other work at King's Cross will be complete in 2007, late authorisation to the works here means a completion date of 2009.

Connection from the northern ticket hall to the rest of the station will be through a cut-and-cover subway to the original (tube) ticket hall. The northern ticket hall will also have a direct subway link to the CTRL Domestic station for trains to Kent (and Stratford for the the Olympics). The latter subway has already been constructed; the former subway will enter the original tube ticket hall to the north of the ticket windows and machines, where passengers used to climb steps out of the hall for St Pancras until the western ticket hall opened.

New lift shafts at the northern ticket hall will complete step-free access across the entire station complex by providing step-free access to the Piccadilly, Northern and Victoria lines.

In the future, it will also be possible for the northern ticket hall to link directly into developments to the north on the King's Cross railway lands, where 1800 new homes are planned. It would also provide the easiest interchange between the Underground and the Cross River Tram, and will be convenient for the new concourse proposed for King\'s Cross mainline station.

St Pancras International

Inside the future refurbished trainshed
Impression of the refurbished trainshed housing Eurostar services *
Impression of Kent Domestic entrance
Future street entrance for Kent services from Pancras Road (currently home to the Interim station) *

An extension to St Pancras' train shed is being constructed to hold some extra platforms and to extend the existing platforms to the required length for Eurostar units.

Construction is taking place in two parts - an eastern deck and a western deck, of which the eastern deck is now complete and is being used as the temporary ("interim") station for Midland Mainline (MML) and northbound Thameslinks services. Work on the western deck will start once construction of the Thameslink station box has begun and passed underneath that area.

The extension spans Pancras Road at the back of the station; St Pancras Road is being rerouted through a link road underneath the extension, along with Goods Way. (The final decision on what to name this route rests with Camden council).You can see an aerial photo of site with an overlay of the extension location.

Upon completion, there will be a total of 13 platforms, with 4 for Midland Mainline (MML) on the western side, 6 for international services (extending through into the existing Barlow train shed) and 3 platforms for CTRL Domestic services to Kent on the eastern side of the extension, although these will be used by MML during construction of the western side and the Thameslink station.

The provision of just 4 platforms for MML has provoked some criticism. When this allocation was originally agreed, MML was operating just two services per hour from St Pancras; since then, the number of services has increased significantly, but the plans were too far-advanced to be altered.

Entrance to St Pancras Interim, 04 Jun 04
Entrance to St Pancras "Interim" - the temporary MML station on the eastern side
St Pancras works from Camley St Natural Park, 11 Nov 04
Works at St Pancras (from Camley St Natural Park), with the Midland Hotel in the background

The MML platforms will be the furthest overground platforms of either King's Cross station or St. Pancras from King's Cross St. Pancras tube station. They will be partly above the new Thameslink station at St. Pancras Midland Road.

A coach road is being constructed underneath the extension, south of the Goods Way / St Pancras Road crossing already mentioned. This will have 6 coach bays to serve the station above it. A car park will also be constructed, underneath the extension and between the coach road and the Goods Way crossing.

Taxi set-down and "kiss and ride" will be provided on the east side of the station. For International services, taxis will drop off in a layby next to the new International Departures hall. For Domestic services, there will be taxi route off of Pancras Road which loops behind the German Gym and Stanley Buildings; taxis will then travel north to a loop extending across the station footprint parallel with Pancras Road, and then down the west side.

St Pancras works through the trees at Camley St Natural Park, 11 Nov 04
Works at St Pancras eastern extension, (again from Camley St Natural Park)

There will be one replacement bus stop on Midland Road at the Thameslink station entrance (eastern side of the Domestic concourse), and two new on Pancras Road, one at St. Pancras entrance next to the CTRL Domestic platforms, and another near the junction with the Euston Road near the front of the station.

A three-platform tram stop for the Cross River Tram is being allowed for in the future between King's Cross and St. Pancras on Pancras Road. This could be the location of a major tram and bus interchange. However, other locations are also being considered for the tramstop, including within the new Station Square outside King's Cross, and on Midland Road adjacent to St. Pancras Thameslink.

Work being undertaken on St Pancras, 04 Jun 04
Work being carried out on St Pancras

Midland Road will reopen as one-way southbound, and Pancras Road (South) will be northbound.

The impressive Midland Hotel at St Pancras
The Midland Hotel at the front of St Pancras will be refurbished and reopened.

On 12 April 04, the eastern deck of the new extension to St Pancras opened to enable refurbishment of William H Barlow's impressive train shed over the current station. This involves the complete refurbishment and reglazing of the roof, returning it to the original "powder blue" paint work.
View a painting of the early station or an earlier engraving.

Thanks to P Tomlin for some of the information included in this page.

* Source: Union Railways

New King's Cross concourse

Artist's impression of new King's Cross concourse, viewed from Euston Road
Impression of the new King's Cross concourse viewed from Euston Road [Network Rail]

A new western concourse (next to the proposed northern ticket hall entrance to the Underground and outside suburban platforms 9-11) will be constructed to replace the existing cramped southern concourse, which was built in the 1970s, and was only meant to be temporary.

A new 3000m concourse (three times the size of the existing one) would finally bring the suburban and intercity stations together properly, and would give a greater circulation space as well as easier access to St Pancras whose Kent domestic platforms would be opposite, and to the mooted Cross River Tram which would be right outside on Pancras Road, along with a major bus interchange.

Bird's eye impression of new King's Cross piazza
Bird's eye impression of new King's Cross piazza

The old concourse would be demolished to make way for an open piazza-style space in front of the Grade I listed 1852 King's Cross train shed which would be exposed and restored. The open space would be larger than Leicester Square and would help to separate the station area from the busy Euston Road.

A completion date is not certain as it depends on Network Rail's planning application to LB Camden, but funding has been agreed by the Department for Transport, amounting to 400m for the provision of the new concourse and London Underground's northern ticket hall.

Plans for the concourse are uncertain but Argent King's Cross, developers of the brownfield land around King's Cross including along the western side of the station, put forward a number of proposals for it.

Platform Zero

In addition, proposals have been made for an additional platform (numbered zero) for GNER services.


(newest first)
King's Cross new ticket hall opens
2006-05-29 13:04:08

The new Western Ticket Hall at King's Cross St Pancras Underground station opened on Sunday 28 May, providing step-free access to the subsurface lines, additional routes to street level and improved subsurface passages.

St Pancras Thameslink fit-out authorised
2006-02-08 12:55:32

The Department for Transport has authorised the fit-out of the station "box" built recently for future use by Thameslink services. The construction of platforms, escalators and lifts will take until December 2007 and will cost 50m, plus an additional 10-15m to fund signalling works and the transfer of services from the current station on Pentonville Road (King's Cross Thameslink).

Feedback solicited for King's Cross improvements
2005-12-16 14:26:09

Network Rail are now asking for initial feedback on proposals to build a new ticket hall for King's Cross mainline and suburban stations, with removal of the current ticket hall facing Euston Road and development of a new square on its site.

LTUC disappointed in new Thameslink timetable
2005-05-13 18:37:49

Although Thameslink services begin to run through between Bedford and Brighton on Monday after weeks of being cut off at St Pancras, the London Transport Users' Committee are disappointed that the new through service will be reduced outside the peaks to allow for driver training to take place. The LTUC believe that this training should have taken place before the scheduled end date of the blockade.

LTUC reiterate St Pancras Thameslink funding worries
2005-04-04 16:29:48

The London Transport Users' Committee have once again expressed their concern that funding has not yet been arranged for the fitting out of the new Thameslink station box which has been constructed at St Pancras, voicing worries that it is needed to distribute passengers from the new Channel Tunnel Rail Link terminus which opens in 2007.

Eurostar press government on St Pancras Thameslink
2005-03-03 12:01:16

Eurostar are urging the government to end uncertainty over funding for the new Thameslink station at St Pancras. The shell is being constructed but the platforms and fittings have not yet been funded, raising concerns over the safety of the existing King's Cross Thameslink station once Eurostar and domestic high speed trains arrive at St Pancras in 2007.

Funding agreed for final King's Cross works
2005-02-15 12:32:08

The DfT has authorised 400m for both London Underground's new northern ticket hall at King's Cross and Network Rail's new concourse for King's Cross mainline station. The Northern Ticket Hall which will provide step-free access to all lines and easy access to King's Cross Suburban and St Pancras Domestic platforms - making use of the latter to reach the proposed Olympic site easier. The ticket hall will be completed by 2009, whilst the new Network Rail concourse depends on a planning application to LB Camden.

Completion of St Pancras Thameslink unlikely before 2007
2005-01-24 10:38:53

Although Union Railways submitted a proposal early last year to fit out the new station box being constructed underneath St Pancras for Thameslink trains, managers believe that completion before Eurostar arrives in 2007 is unlikely as the Strategic Rail Authority appears reluctant to authorise the fitting-out to proceed.

More funding for King's Cross ticket hall
2004-11-18 15:21:51

The Department for Transport allocated an extra 20m to the King's Cross reconstruction project and announced that a decision would be made on the northern ticket hall "before the end of the year".

Thameslink split begins soon
2004-09-01 13:17:41

Construction work on the new Thameslink station at St Pancras requires the Thameslink route to be split at King's Cross between Wed 11 Sep and May next year. Trains to/from the north will terminate at St Pancras (new platforms in the overground station) and trains to/from the south will terminate at King's Cross Thameslink, although some Wimbledon loop trains will terminate at Blackfriars.

New subway at King's Cross opens Monday
2004-08-12 12:30:17

A new subway underneath the Euston Road at King's Cross will be opened ahead of schedule on Monday. The subway relieves congestion in the existing cramped subway, and helps to separate passengers crossing the road to the mainline station, from passengers for the subsurface lines. The subway will help cope with increase passenger numbers when Thameslink stop through services in September so their new station can be built.

St Pancras closes to Midlands passengers
2004-04-12 15:55:04

Domestic passengers from the Midlands will no longer arrive into William Barlow's 136-year-old train shed, after its three-year closure today for refurbishment for the arrival of Eurostar in 2007.

Eurostar seeks new name for St Pancras
2004-03-12 12:00:33

Eurostar have said that they believe the name "St. Pancras" is too unfamiliar for international visitors and are considering a number of options to rename it, including London Central, London International and London Fasttrack.

Links & Sources

  1. Thameslink
  2. Camden Borough Council: King\'s Cross Redevelopment
  3. Arup Consultants: King\'s Cross Underground Stn Redevelopment
  4. Network Rail Major Stations: King\'s Cross
  5. Network Rail: Announcement on funding for King\'s Cross new concourse and LU northern ticket hall [MS Word]
  6. Greater London Authority: planning report
  7. Argent King\'s Cross: Redevelopment of the King\'s Cross railway lands
  8. Network Rail: Consultation on King\'s Cross plans

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