With the Overground, Crossrail and the London Underground upgrades having dominated (and continuing to dominate) the Capital’s transport scene, it’s easy to forget that the next few years will see major changes for its surface terminals as well.

Nowhere is this more true than at Kings Cross, where a major redevelopment project that arguably started almost fifteen years ago is now close to completion. It is a project that will reach an important milestone on Monday 19th March, when the new Western Concourse will officially open to passengers for the first time.

The opening will not mark the final completion of the Kings Cross project – that will not come until late 2013 when the green canopy that currently hides the impressive facade of one of London’s oldest stations will finally be removed. It will, however, arguably mark the biggest point of change for passengers – because from Monday the way-finding through Kings Cross will change significantly.

A Mockup of the Station in 2013

A mockup of the Station as it is intended to look in 2013

Before we look in more detail at the Western Concourse (a site we last visited back in August 2011) it is worth pausing briefly to look at the station’s history. Originally designed by Lewis Cubitt, it is one of only six Grade 1 listed stations in the United Kingdom. The double-arched structure of the main shed reflects the fact that when the station was constructed in the 1850s it contained only two platforms – something that seems hard to comprehend given the number of platforms located within the same shed today.

During the early years of its existence, the station’s impressive frontage stood proud along the Euston road, with the path of the river Fleet giving St Pancras Road (and the Great Northern Hotel that was built alongside the station) its distinctive curve.

The Station in the 1870s

The Station in the 1870s

In the late 1870s, however, Cubitt’s original frontage was covered for the first time. The changing needs of the railway meant that more enclosed space was required, and the character of both the station’s facade and its forecourt began to change. This ultimately resulted, in the seventies, in the creation of the green “temporary” structure which graces the front of Kings Cross today.

Kings Cross at some point between 1870 - 1900

Kings Cross at some point between 1870 – 1900. Courtesy English Heritage

The Station in 1989

The Station in 1989. Courtesy English Heritage

It is the removal of this green canopy that forms the fundamental objective of the project underway today. This is not, however, just an aesthetic act. Kings Cross currently handles upwards of 47 million passengers a year and, as regular passengers know, deals with them relatively poorly. That’s a number that – as for many stations in the capital – is forecast to rise significantly, and thus a complete remodeling of Kings Cross was the only real option if this increased demand was to be addressed.

The Station model, showing the new Western Concourse

The Station model, showing the new Western Concourse

The model above, which is located in the current concourse, gives a good idea as to just how drastic the changes will be. Sitting on the western side of the main train shed and connecting directly with the suburban platforms to the north, the new concourse effectively shifts the georgraphical centre of the station significantly westward. With the (still relatively new) St Pancras station complex sitting on this side of the station, this is a move that largely makes sense. It will mean, however, that passengers used to letting their subconscious govern their route from Underground (or road) to their prefered surface-level platform will need to engage their higher brain functions again, at least temporary.

This is because the wayfaring at Kings Cross really will be radically restructured. The new concourse, once open, is clearly intended to effectively give Kings Cross an almost airport-like split between “arrivals” and “departures,” and to facilitate a similar split between commuter and long-distance traffic. Just how this is planned to happen will hopefully become clearer shortly.

The Concourse. Courtesy Hufton and Crow

The concourse. Courtesy Hufton and Crow

The new Western Concourse itself really is an impressive structure. Whilst modern, it does feel like a building that has been engineered as much as designed, something that fits well with the overall feel of Kings Cross (a station that, whilst impressive, was very obviously an “engineered” structure itself). The picture above gives a good overall view of the concourse and helps provide some visual context to its layout. To the left of the photo (the northern end of the concourse) out of shot are the suburban platforms, to which we will return later, to the right is access to Euston Road – both through dedicated doors and the newly-hollowed-out ground floor of the Great Northern hotel.

The boards on the left sit in front of the (now rebuilt) “bomb gap,” the result of heavy bombing during WW2. The boards on the right sit over the departures gateline through which the main shed is now accessed.

In the centre sit two of the most striking features of the new concourse – the supporting funnel and the new ticket hall.

The funnel. Courtesy Hufton and Crow

The funnel. Courtesy Hufton and Crow

The funnel, along with several smaller supports scattered around the periphery, support the full weight of the roof. At first glance it may seem like an architectural flourish, but again they are as much an act of engineering as they are architecture. The new concourse sits directly above the Underground’s new Northern Ticket Hall, and thus there are limited points at which the weight of the roof could be supported – the funnel is the solution to this problem.

A closer view of the ticket hall

A closer view of the ticket hall

Behind the funnel can be found the new ticket hall. As we indicated in our previous article on Kings Cross, the plan was to restore the original 1852 ticket office located within the Western Range. This had closed in 1973, serving as plant and storage space until the current project began.

This has now been completed, and the results are impressive. The new ticket hall is an open, airy double-height space (the the badminton court previously located on the the second floor being an acceptable casualty of the reconstruction). Just how it will cope with day-to-day usage remains to be seen, but it looks likely to be a welcome improvement over the current setup.

Inside the ticket hall

Inside the ticket hall

Self-service machines in the ticket hall

Self-service machines in the ticket hall

The southern board

The southern board

South of the new ticket hall sits the new main shed departures gateline. The photo above shows this, and also gives a good idea of the new concourse’s relationship with the old Western Range. It sits in front with direct attachment minimised, which gives both a genuine sense of space and allows some appreciation of the old building lurking behind.

It is with this gateline that the new separation of passenger flows begins to become more obvious. It is clear that the intention is to route those wishing to depart from platforms 0 – 8 through this gateline, and the signs for platform 8 can be seen just over the top of the construction hoardings in the photo below.

The new gateline

The new gateline

With departures being routed through this gateline, the original Cubitt facade thus becomes “exit only” – arrivals will leave the station via the front, helping to seperate the flows.

It will likely not be as smooth a process as Network Rail and the Kings Cross TOCs might like, as the flows cannot be entirely separated and the area directly in front of platform 8 will become a point of congestion during heavy traffic periods. It is clear that shifting back the buffers on platform 8 is intended to help mitigate this, but it will likely still not prove an entirely adequate solution. It is tricky to see, however, a better solution given the limitations of space, structure and cost.

Looking away from the new works within the Western Range, the sheer amount of space within the new concourse soon becomes clear. Whilst the passenger numbers that pass through Kings Cross will see it filled soon enough, it still represents a massive improvement on the current setup.

Looking north from the gateline

Looking north from the gateline

Looking north from ground level

Looking north from ground level

The northern board (from the mezzanine)

The northern board (from the mezzanine)

Perhaps more importantly, as the photos below show, it also means that commuter traffic now has a clear south – north run at the Suburban platforms, something that has been sorely missing for some time. Again, it is clear that this is deliberate, with the intention being to separate “fast” and “slow” passenger flows as much as possible.

Beneath the Great Northern Hotel

Beneath the Great Northern Hotel

A wider view of the main entrance

A wider view of the main entrance

Adding to this setup is a tidal-flow escalator from the Underground below, which is clearly laid out to facilitate interchange to and from the suburban platforms.

Looking north towards the suburbans

Looking north towards the suburbans

The tidal escalator

The tidal escalator

The Suburbans, viewed from the mezzanine

The Suburbans, viewed from the mezzanine

Extensive entrances and exits also sit on the western wall of the new concourse, providing another route for traffic wishing to access the station from the west and St Pancras. Indeed it is tempting to suspect that those wishing to interchange between the Subsurface lines and the Suburban may now be better doing so via the main Subsurface ticket hall and the western entrances to the new concourse.

The entrance (and Underground) facing St Pancras

The entrance (and Underground) facing St Pancras

The entrance on the St Pancras side

The entrance on the St Pancras side

Finally, it is worth taking a look at the station’s mezzanine. On previous form, it is seemingly inevitable that Network Rail’s press release on the station’s opening will focus on the amount of “retail” the new concourse features. What is clear from within the station, however, is that there has been some thought to just what is located where. The mezzanine, for example, seems primarily populated with those shops and food outlets likely to be of interest to long-distance passengers (i.e. those who have arrived early and have time to spare).

Looking back at the mezzanine

Looking back at the mezzanine

Given that the Mezzanine allows access to the platforms in the main shed via the new footbridge, the placement seems a rather subtle attempt to try and further segregate the flows. Just how successful it will be remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting approach to the problem.

The bridge in the main shed

The bridge in the main shed

The bridge itself, which can be seen above from its access through the new concourse, will be one-way to cater to that departure traffic. It is perhaps narrower than in an ideal world, but time will tell whether it turns into a bottleneck point or not.

The old Handyside bridge (pictured below) which the new footbridge effectively replaces, has been restored and donated to the Mid Hants Railway. The old clock, however, will stay at Kings Cross – it will be re-sited on platform 8.

The old Handyside Bridge

The old Handyside Bridge

Overall, the new concourse is an impressive space. It’s bright, open and – strangely – feels like it compliments the existing station building rather than eclipses it.

Looking up at the roof

Looking up at the roof

It will, however, force users to rethink their journey through it, thanks to the obvious attempt to redefine and segregate passenger flows by making the majority of passengers enter through the new concourse and depart via the old. It is to be hoped that this redefinition is successful – Kings Cross has long possessed one of London’s least commuter-friendly layouts.

In the short term though, this seems likely to cause some serious disruption, and minimising that on Monday will prove a major challenge for both Network Rail and the TOCs. That they are aware of this is clear – for some time now leaflets detailing the changes have been distributed at the station. History has demonstrated, however, that most people only become aware of changes such as this on the day in question.

As the photo below – taken in one of the storage spaces within the new concourse – shows, this seems to be something that Network Rail are aware of and have plans to mitigate. Hopefully they’ll be successful.

Directional pointers lurking behind the scenes

Directional pointers lurking behind the scenes

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There are 126 comments on this article
  1. Jordan D says:

    So many things right, so many things wrong.

    You build a new station, a new underground ticket hall and you put a single tidal-flow escalator in? Which person decided that – it’s not as if they couldn’t excavate a dual-escalator space at the time – why on earth didn’t they do so? Really not clever.

    As for the catering provision – well frankly, for us regular travellers the loss of the two ‘booths’ at the top of platform 7/8 (West Cornwall Pasty Co) and 5/6 (Caffe Nero) is a real pain for those wishing to pick up a late night snack/coffee or something on the way into work in the morning. It smacks of a lack of foresight and lack of consultation with the travelling public.

    But then, we only use the station …

  2. Kit Green says:

    “47 million passengers a day”

    You must surely mean each year…..

  3. Andy says:

    Badminton court?!

  4. Kit Green says:

    It sounds like a bit of a trek for any passenger arriving on an inter-city and wanting to then depart from the suburban platforms, or is there a pedestrian connection inside the ticket line?

  5. Greg says:

    “Monday 18th March” is actually the 19th.

    47 million passengers a day would mean over 32,000 per minute on average.

  6. Greg says:

    There are new QR code scanners attached to the ticket gates now. Any info on how they will work?

    The relatively new staircase (next to the current ticket hall) to/from the underground subway will now lead to the exit-only part of the station, so I have a bad feeling, and I would HATE the idea that accessing the station from the Victoria line will be possible via the northern ticket hall only.
    It is just an unnecessary lenghty walk in a badly-designed walkway.

  7. John Bull says:

    Indeed – that should be “a year” – it just feels like “a day.”

    I too will mourn the passing of the West Cornwall Pasty place. There’s snack and coffee places on the ground floor of the new concourse, but they looked like they might be a bit too trendy for my liking.

    Don’t forget though that most suburban shed commuters will no longer go via that platform 8 junction anyway.

    It sounds like a bit of a trek for any passenger arriving on an inter-city and wanting to then depart from the suburban platforms, or is there a pedestrian connection inside the ticket line?

    Good question – I’m not sure if they’ll effectively have to go out/in again. I guess we’ll find out.

    “Monday 18th March” is actually the 19th.

    That’ll be one of those “this is blatantly going to soft-launch on Sunday” type mental slips on my part…

  8. John Bull says:

    There are new QR code scanners attached to the ticket gates now. Any info on how they will work?

    They intrigued me as well – am currently attempting to find out more about them.

  9. M-Z says:

    @Greg, that’s seems about the number trying to change from the East London Line to the Jubilee in the morning peak at Canada Water these days.

    Great article and fascinating photos. The picture titled “Kings Cross at some point between 1870 – 1900” is so vivid and clear for such an old photo. You can really pick out the details – the woman carrying a baby, the coachman scratching his head, the handkerchief in a top pocket – you are almost transported to the scene.

  10. Arkady says:

    The ‘soft-launch’ speculation is probably right-on. I have it from Fuller’s that the new Parcel Yard pub between (and overlooking) both trainsheds opens at 1pm on Sunday.

    See you there?

  11. Tim says:

    The reason for the lack of a double tidal-flow escalator may be in part due to London Underground’s needing to slow the flow of people down a little so the platforms down below don’t get too overcrowded, causing station evacuations. In addition, it is worth remembering that in a few years time a much larger number of suburban passengers will be coming through St Pancras low level, not King’s Cross suburban (Thameslink Project), so the designers may have had to incorporate the ability for KXSP LU station to handle this future shift in passenger flow when putting the escalator in. Additionally, we don’t know what other services or structural support was necessary, maybe they’d have loved to put another escalator in, but couldn’t because that would have undermined other structural work. I’m no engineer, but to coin Dirk Gently, the engineers need to account for the fundamental interconnectedness of all of these things.

    As for the QR readers, I believe they are for Print at home tickets. Other East Coast gatelines already have them for this purpose.

    Finally, with regards to post-journey coffee for commuters, are there not now coffee outlets in the Underground concourse?
    Given that it could now make more sense for suburban passengers to use the northern Underground concourse, this could provide an alternative?

  12. Pedantic of Purley says:

    All looks super except for the ugly way they have tacked on the QRcode/PrintAtHome/whatever addition to the ticket gates. I hope this is short term and there is a bit of a redesign to make them a bit aesthetically more pleasing. I am sure Giles Gilbert Scott would have approved of the station but not the ticket gates.

  13. swirlythingy says:

    There’s something perfectly obvious they could have done to relieve incoming congestion at the end of platform 8. Wimbledon (along with a lot of other stations such as Clapham Junction) has two entrances – one at either end of the station. One is designated as the ‘main’ entrance and contains a proper ticket hall, and the other is much smaller and cheaper and contains just a few machines, but it doesn’t stop people from using it. It wouldn’t have cost that much more to knock a simple through route in the Eastern Range (is that the correct name for the east wall?) and allow people to arrive at the end of platform 0 as well. Sure, it wouldn’t have been a showy set-piece like the western concourse, but it would have done the job for the regulars who use the station every day…

    That’s assuming I’ve understood the layout of the station correctly. 0 to 8 are the fast platforms in the main part of the complex, aren’t they?

  14. Stewart says:

    My lack of knowledge compared to authors and some commenters means I rarely get a chance to be a pedant on here, but a quick bit of Wikipedia tells me there are 6 Grade I listed (and open) stations in the UK, not 5. Further to my suprise, York is not one of them.

  15. Kit Green says:

    QR code scanners: Didn’t Wrexham & Shropshire use these at Marylebone?

  16. David says:

    The QR code scanners are related to EastCoast print-at-home ticket features. We’ve had them on the gatelines on the rest of the ECML for quite some time, print-at-home tickets have a barcode on them and the QR scanners are there to read the barcode.

  17. Jeremy says:

    Wrexham and Shropshire used similar readers at Marylebone, and Chiltern continue to do so (although the barriers are currently being altered and resited).

  18. Anonymous says:

    As a commuter to/from King’s Cross who works close to the Angel I’m not sure this segregation is going to help me. I walk down Pentonville Road and, I assume I will now have to make my way over to the Western concourse to enter the station.

    This is all well and good if my train is on Platforms 9-11, but if it is on Platform 0 I will have to make my way back across the station to reach it.

    I might need to allow more time.

  19. Hermione says:

    Will platform 9 3/4 be affected?

  20. Paul says:

    Shifting the buffers back on platform 8 to mitigate circulation issues applies equally to all of platforms 5-8, and by virtue of their back to back position, P4 as well.

    The most recent planning drawings I could find on Camden’s website, show a direct ‘paid side’ access between P8 and P9, it is basically the passageway where ‘Harry Potter’s luggage trolley’ has been located for the last few months.

  21. John Bull says:

    @Stewart – interesting! hadn’t realised there were actually six – corrected!

    The ‘soft-launch’ speculation is probably right-on. I have it from Fuller’s that the new Parcel Yard pub between (and overlooking) both trainsheds opens at 1pm on Sunday.

    See you there?

    It does indeed seem likely then.

    As I’m only a short hop away in Hackney, I’d been planning on chancing my arm and heading down about 2 O’Clock to see if there was any movement – not least because I couldn’t get into the pub when I was taking those photos the other day and from what I hear/saw back in August I’ve a sneaking suspicion they might have done a rather nice job of it.

    So if anyone is there at that time and spots a shaven-headed bloke with a silly moustache, probably wearing a scruffy blue jacket, polo shirt and combats then feel free to buy them a pint – because it’ll almost certainly be me.

    @Anonymous 5:28 – how they deal with people such as yourself is one of the things i’ll be interested to see. I wonder how strictly the “entry/exit” thing will be enforced.

  22. John Bull says:

    @Hermione – I asked actually (What?! All of you stop looking at me like that!)

    It’s getting its own dedicated space within the new concourse just away from the Suburban platforms.

    From what I could see it appeared to be located in a space that could easily be converted into a retail site – so I won’t be too surprised if a Warner Brothers shop magically appears around it at some point…

  23. Anonymous says:

    The station is currently being “opened” by the Secretary of State, the Network Rail big cheese, and – wait for it – Boris the Mayor.

  24. Pete In Colorado says:

    There’s never a perfect solution, but they seem to have given it their best. Great photos and story.

  25. Drew says:

    In spite of previous “comments” on LR, an excellent writeup – thanks 🙂

  26. Greg Tinget says:


    It’s a long-distance station.
    The Tidal flow is going to be a disaster.
    Certainly exit only & inlet only just is not going to work.
    There are going to be severe crushing problems at these barrirs, that’s for sure.
    It’ potty.
    Revenue protection is an excuse – but for what?

    Apologies, but it’s late – I first went to the Cross in 1951, aged 5, and I remember A-1’s in BLUE.
    The new hall is magnificent, but what a way NOT to do it.
    More rational critique later (I hope)

  27. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Greg Tinget,

    Rational Critique by all means but your headline is about as related to rational critique as a Daily Mail headline on a political issue and it is expressed in a totally unsuitable manner. I much preferred that nice Hreh Tingey we had a while back.

  28. mr_jrt says:

    I still believe this was a wasted opportunity. Those 8-car suburban platforms are going to become quite the hindrance over time as fewer and fewer services are that short. It may well end up with only Hull trains and Grand Central using it! 😉

    Far better in my eyes would have been to demolish the suburban shed and build a third full-length arch containing another 4 full platforms. Thameslink will offer some relief to this shortage of 12 car platforms, but nowhere near enough to cater for the growth of the ECML mainline services needing all 9 platforms in the main shed.

  29. Pete Stean says:

    Good to see you again last week. It’s great isn’t it – I can’t wait for them to tear down all that 70s crap at the front of the station, although then the new entrance to the Underground will suddenly look a bit out of place…

  30. Josh says:

    The sign for platform 9¾ should point towards the Tube station and the Met line platforms, where (in a few years time) you can get a train direct to Watford Junction, where you can then get the shuttle bus to the Warner Bros Studio Tour in Leavesden.

  31. Greg Tingey says:

    Re-posting, hopefully in a clearer mind-state!

    Seriously, the bloody daft DafT “requirement” for barriers should have been resisted.
    Like another earlier poster said, what happens if you are a pedestrian coming in from the East (York Road) side?
    And what happens, this being primarily a long-distance terminal station, if meeters / greeters / seers-off for auntie Flo can’t get on to the platforms?
    It’s potty, or rather, DafT!
    Also (we’ll have to see) – are the flow arrangement along/around the Mazzanine going to work?
    I suspect that there will be modifications pretty quickly, after the first one or two crowd-crushes, and the inevitable punch-ups between railway jobsworths (there will, unfortunately always be one) and irate, crushed passengers in a hurry.
    From what I saw, about a fortnight ago it wil LOOK wonderful.
    Pity about the ground-flow planning.

    Which reminds me of the idiocy of the St Pancras Thameslink “box” again … only ONE Suthbound platform? You what? In terms of scheduling and interspersing trains off separate routes, especially when trains are out-of-course, this is not going to work, one the connections from the ex-GN lines are liad in.
    It’ll be an exact replica of the current problems at London Bridge, which are now, at least partially being sorted out.
    Wasn’t that an intelligent move, to deliberately replicate such a lay-out?

    Can’t make it Monday – since I have to be at Liverpool Street ,,,,,,

    One last comment – forget “West Cornwall Pasty” their stuff is decidedly inferior to “The Pasty Company” – one can compare & contrast @ Liverpool Street (& I have). The first gives me indigestion, the second does not….

  32. Jordan D says:

    Well, if the structural engineers were more concerned about the future flow through StP Low Level, than the suburban platforms at KGX, they should have built a better connector through StP rather than coming all the way up to surface level, across the main concourse there, past Starbucks and then back down under the road. But that’s by the by.

    I’ve been asking Network Rail about a Sunday soft launch, but have got the usual ‘palm me off’ that they are doing Operational Testing and the station won’t be available until Monday. I’ll wait to see what happens before I call them out.

    @John – there may well be a new pasty place, but it’s of lower quality (“The Pasty Shop” rather than the proper West Cornwall Pasty Co) and the very fact that it isn’t on the ‘direct route’ through the station along Plat 8 means that it is out of the way for a quick ‘pick up and go’. Which is a shame.

    Can anyone confirm whether the passageway between Plat 8 and Plat 9 is ‘inside the barriers’ or outside it?

  33. Greg says:

    I have just picked up the new pocket guide at KGX, and my premonitions were right. You can’t access the station anymore from the Tube via the stairs at the current ticket hall. For platforms 0-8, you will have to walk around the whole damn thing.
    Probably the journey will be shorter when the exit concourse has been demolished and converted into a public square – in 2013.

  34. Mandaliet says:

    Re the ticket barriers, does this mean that there will be no access to the trainshed at all except for those with tickets? A pretty poor way to handle a Grade 1 listed building if so, and a marked contrast with St Pancras.

  35. Greg Tingey says:

    Another post of mine got eaten, so trying again …
    As you said, what about meeters / greeters / seeing-off-auntie Flo?
    Won’t they be able to get on to the platforms?

    I predict sevral punch-ups, until sense previals, and a couple of gates in each line are altered to contraflow.
    Map to be found HERE:

    VERY depressing.

  36. Greg says:

    Well, anyone with a valid London travelcard can touch in and out, and unless you have landed with a parachute, you probably have one when you are there.

  37. Paul says:

    Jordon D at 0907;

    There couldn’t be a subsurface passage all the way into St Pancras, because they had to get over the Fleet Sewer, which runs up Pancras Rd and curves away right behind those escalators and under Starbucks…

    I guess they could have gone further down and up again, but that wouldn’t have reduced the number of level changes.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Barriers aren’t necessarily a problem for ‘see-er off-ers’ – Marylebone has them and I’ve never been prevented from going through them to see my other half off. It’s all down to those manning the gateline

  39. M-Z says:


    I thought the Fleet Sewer had been diverted (possibly for Thameslink / Crossrail at Farringdon). Was it in the too difficult / too expensive tray to do the same at King’s Cross?

  40. MAlc says:

    Buy a 10p platform ticket?

  41. Paul says:

    M-Z, I don’t know the exact reasoning, just that the planning drawings show it at the worst possible position, ie crossing behind at exactly the right depth for the preferred route of a passageway through to the Thameslink intermediate level.

    I expect it is very close to the original St Pancras foundations, at that particular corner of their main shed, it’s posible there was no easy alternative.

  42. Andrew says:

    Amusingly, if/when they do the platform renumbering to start at 1 instead of 0, platform 9 3/4 will be in a really logical place…

  43. Albar says:

    I’m confused about the arrivals arrangements. The plan shows an “arrivals concourse” – but isn’t this what’s going to be abolished to create a public space? Does this mean that greeters and meeters, and arriving passengers will have to brave a sometimes wet and windy open space before getting their tube, taxi or bus? Or have I missed something?

    The complete lack of access from York Road for departing passengers looks a bit of a downer as well.

  44. Fandroid says:

    The final version of the arrivals ‘concourse’ appears to have been designed for a warm early Sunday morning. Imagine the crush if it’s raining hard out there and trainloads of northern folk keep shoving from the back. I have found what seems to be up-to-date images of ‘Kings Cross Square’ here:

    Where does a chap with a large bag or two go to find a taxi?

    (I’m hoping that link works once I hit ‘Submit’)

  45. Fandroid says:

    Sorry about this double-commenting tendency.

    But a thought suddenly hit me when re-checking Greg T’s link to the KX map. What happens to the arriving passengers during the period when they are demolishing the Green Canopy and laying all that wonderful York paving?

  46. Vulcan's Finest says:

    I agree with mr. Jrt, this was a golden opportunity to lengthen the three suburban platforms and maybe to add a fourth. Now it looks like platforms 5-8 will actually be shortened, which doesn’t bode well for any attempts to lengthen existing Inter-City trains. Let’s hope the Terminus is able to cope until HS2 opens to Leeds in 2033.

    I’m not convinced that the new footbridge and thin escalators will be sufficient when a platform is announced 10 minutes before departure of an East Coast express.

  47. timbeau says:

    Apart from the windswept and exposed arrivals concourse, what ios going to happen when a train arrives in platform 8 just as platform 0 is announced as the next departing train (or indeed any announcement of a lower numbered departure platform as a train arrives at a highr numbered platform?

    And where do meeters and greeters wait for the people they are waiting for?

  48. Jeremy says:

    @timbeau: the departing passengers will be walking across the new bridge to their platform. The arriving passengers will not be using the bridge, but walking to the London end of the platforms.

  49. Lemmo says:

    On platform lengths, is there any potential to lengthen platforms out towards the station throat by reopening the east bore of Gasworks Tunnel and moving some of the points north?

  50. Greg Tingey says:

    / RANT ON
    It’s a RAILWAY STATION, not a f*ck*ng air-line terminal!
    And access to platforms for non-travellers is dependant upon noit getting a railway “jobsworth” on your gates …
    And I thought they had abolished Platform Tickets?
    And suppose the “Arrivals” want to get to Thameslink – they have to go OUT THE FRONT and around ….
    Meanwhie York Road access has been closed of …
    To quote Diamond Geezer …

    Rant OFF /

    Seriously, the architecture is stunning, but all, just the little thing they need to change, is to make the barrier-lines bi-directional AND put a York Road entrance/exit back in.
    Not too difficult?
    Don’t bet on it …..

  51. Fandroid says:

    Are they seriously not providing an undercover route for arrivals to reach the Tube? Those southern gates will become bi-directional on the first rainy day!

    I don’t have a problem with separating departures and arrivals for a terminus. The number of people shifting from suburban trains to mainline ones will be a relatively small proportion. I do however think that the totally inadequate space planned for arrivals is crazy.

    Talking about flow separation, the Waterloo concourse, for example, is chaotic with multi-directional foot traffic when it’s busy, and that concourse is massive compared with most other stations. Even that station has a strong element of divided flows as peak arrivals can access the cross-station subway direct from the platforms, and the same happens in the reverse direction in the evening peak. It’s probable that Network Rail were thinking of that example when they thought of KX. Waterloo was designed in its present form about 100 years ago!

  52. Anonymous says:

    I’m going to hold judgement on the airport style segregation until the new system’s been put into operation. It would seem silly though, not to open a couple of gates here and there for passengers wanting to enter via the front.

    More importantly, as a cornishman myself, forget The West Cornwall Pasty Co and all the others. What is generally a poor cornishman’s hearty lunch has been imported, altered, trendified, over-seasoned and over-priced. For one – where has all the swede gone? It’s supposed to be winter food! When in Rome… stick to kebabs, jellied eels and over brewed tea. When in Cornwall, head down to Philp’s and get yerself a pasty.

  53. Pedantic of Purley says:

    On platform lengths, is there any potential to lengthen platforms out towards the station throat by reopening the east bore of Gasworks Tunnel and moving some of the points north?

    I don’t think I have been to a talk on King’s Cross where a variation of this question doesn’t get asked. The answers are always vague along the lines of “nothing we are doing will prevent this in future” which doesn’t exactly enlighten. It gets talked about but there never seems to be money allocated to investigate feasibility and cost implications.

    On the subject of platform tickets I am pretty sure as far as Oystercard is concerned touching in and touching out later at the same station counts as a one zone journey. I don’t know if there is a paper equivalent though.

  54. timbeau says:


    Not all departing passengers will use the bridge – not when that southern gateline (to the right of the booking hall) gives level access. The bridge will only be useful for those using the facilities on the mezzanine. The street level souithern access will be preferable for anyone with heavy luggage, or who is mobility impaired, not to mention those who arrive at the station after the train’s platform is announced.

  55. Ben Harris says:

    @Vulcan’s Finest: Platforms 5-8 had already been shortened when I went through King’s Cross last weekend.

    @Fandroid: The pictures that I’ve seen of King’s Cross Square show a glass canopy along the front of the main building extending over the Underground entrance that’s currently in the old concourse (just north of the East Coast ticket office). So I think there will be a sheltered route from arrivals to Underground, at least if there isn’t a southerly wind blowing.

  56. Arkady says:

    The route to the tube entrance will be mostly covered, mostly:

    Maybe completely covered – the design for the tube entrance itself is seperate from the new square and has yet to be submitted (typical of the lack of joined up thinking at the front of the station, contrary to the rest of the site). It’s not out of the question that the roof of the tube entrance will almost touch/overlap with the glazing at the front of the station.

  57. Arkady says:

    I don’t think ANY departing passengers can use the bridge, are the escalators not ‘down only’?

  58. timbeau says:


    Yes, the escalators are down only – that is, from the bridge to the platforms. As the bridge s above the platforms, this means that ONLY departing passengers (i.e people joining trains) can use it.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Platform 9 3/4 – Did you know that, when J K Rowling visualised the site of platform 9 3/4, she was actually thinking of Euston?

  60. Arkady says:

    Presumably there will be nothing to physically stop you from using the lifts though.

  61. timbeau says:

    @Arkady (14:41)

    How do you get off the bridge again? – the only communication with the mezzanine is via an “IN only” gateline!

  62. Arkady says:

    I don’t understand your question. You get onto the bridge via the mezzenine, and off it at the platfiorm down escalators and lifts.

  63. Arkady says:

    Oh I get you. Yeah good point.

  64. Ratty says:

    Bet there will be plenty of people who in a hurry try to run up those downward-moving escalators onto the bridge.

  65. Arkady says:

    Problem is – as timbeau hints at – the mezzanine is seperated from the bridge by a one way gate-line. So even if you did run up the escalators you’d be stuck.

  66. plcd says:

    It is interesting to note that all the ticket gates are reversible including those from the mezzanine to the footbridge. They even have the barcode scanners for exit from the footbridge to the mezzanine. It will be interesting to see if they are ever used in that direction.

    I sincerely hope someone has been in discussion with TfL and all the TOCs to make sure the OSIs are set up properly to reflect the new gatelines and combinations of entry and exit that are possible. If they haven’t got that right there will be utter chaos in the entire Kings Cross / St Pancras complex.

    Unless I’ve missed it you don’t seem to have highlighted that there are further escalators, a staircase and a MIP lift down to the LU Northern Ticket Hall near the entrances from Pancras Road (numbered 19 on the East Coast pdf of the new ticket hall). These obviously supplement the tidal escalator.

    It does seem very odd that the staircase up from LU that comes up near the end of platform 8 / by the current ticket office will in future dump people in the arrivals area that you must exit and then go round to enter the new concourse. With all this palaver you’ll need to allow 45 minutes if you arrive on a deep tube line and need to buy a ticket for an East Coast service (assuming the usual 20-30 queuing time) and then reach the platform. Network Rail are going to have to ensure platform departure numbers are advertised in plenty of time – I dread to think how things will pan out when, rather than if, the train service collapses.

  67. Fandroid says:

    I guess that the universal standard issue ticket gate as supplied is always two-way. They all seem to have little lights either showing red or green (Like a full-size LED signal on the railway) to indicate their friendliness or otherwise to the approaching traveller. The wide gates will often allow travel in either direction all of the time. I’m itching to have a go round the loop at KX but haven’t got any trips booked to Leeds or Newcastle in the foreseable future.

    I’m not averse to gates. They have reduced the yob element presence on my local lines quite considerably, and on LU they just part with a magic wave of the Oystercard. Now that no-one issues those hideously huge old-style airline-style tickets* anymore, they are fairly easy to use with normal tickets too. (* One ‘innovation’ from the outside world that commonsense has beaten off, thank goodness). However, the railways and LUL are very poor at steering those passengers with large bags towards the wide gates. LUL staff in particular seem to regard it as more fun to have to disintangle trapped bags than to offer advice before the inevitable happens.

  68. Greg Tingey says:

    Did you know that a fairly deep survey is being done of the time taken to run through the ticket / booking office / enquiry queues @ KX at present?
    Presumably for transfer to the new offices, and for forward plannong?

    Sorry, I can’t tell you how I know this is the case!

  69. Dr Strabismus says:

    The new concourse is further from some tube lines, notably the Victoria and Circle/Met/H&C, and so whichever way you dice the carrot, it’s going to be further to trudge to get to it. And get to it you must if you’re going to catch a train out of King’s Cross. Now if you choose to go up the stairs currently entering the old concourse next to the old main-line ticket hall, which are cunningly designed to funnel arriving passengers in the new regime neatly to the main tube hall, you will need to turn back to reach the new concourse. Similarly, you could exit the tube system via the stairs at the corner of Euston Road and Pancras Road, which actually are a natural exit from the Western (sub-surface) ticket hall and adjacent to the original tube hall, and then head for the new concourse.

    But the easiest and most sensible approach is to do exactly what the new signage says and the planners intend – that is, use the new subways to reach the Northern ticket hall directly from the tube platforms, and then when you get to the top of the escalators, turn left and straight up the new escalators into the new concourse, or at least into the heart of the retail quarter (or straight on up the tidal escalator), all of which will be a pleasurable modern experience, albeit a longer one for Victoria and sub-surface line patrons.

    The fault lies with the planners who decided to put the approach lines to King’s Cross underneath the Regent’s Canal, instead of on top of it as with the Midland, thereby constraining the station for ever to a compact location allowing no proper circulation space in front of the platforms.

    The new concourse, brilliantly uniting as it does all the station elements and St Pancras into a unified mega-hub, is in my opinion a design masterpiece.

  70. Greg Tingey says:

    I don’t doubt it will LOOK wonderful
    Unfortunately, on the ground, it isn’t going to work, unless a couple of gates are “reversed” – which I suspect will happen in practice …..

  71. Greg T ingey says:

    Just checked the NR on-line “map” of KX
    Utterly useless collection of lies.
    They don’t even show platform Zero, never mind anything since theN!

    Wonder how long it will take the morons to catch up?

  72. Arkady says:

    Here now. amazing. beautiful. busy!

  73. John Bull says:

    Good stuff. Will be heading down shortly myself.

  74. Arkady says:

    It gets even better after six pints at the Parcel Yard. What a great pub. Hard to beat the Betjeman’s at St Pancras, but it may just do it.

    The ticket gate situation seemed to be working well, though there was some pressure on staff to direct people appropriately. I suspect Monday morning will be chaos – good luck to commuters …

    I was most surprised by the front of the station, which has already been transformed in the last few days. The new entrance has a COLOSSAL new sign directing people to it, and the westernmost part of the square is already open and spacious. The finished product should be magnificient

    What a beautiful structure. Well done to all involved.

  75. Arkady says:

    Sorry about that duplicate link, this is the second set:

  76. timbeau says:

    ……..and there in Arkady’s 5th photo is the solution to the platform ticket problem – the first train on the departure screen “Tickets can be bought on the train” it says. Which must mean that you are allowed to go through the barrier line without a ticket!

  77. Fandroid says:

    Arkady. Great photos. Thanks for posting them. Your shot looking down from the mezzanine onto the concourse looks unreal – just like one of those architects’ views with photoshopped people planted in it. I’m not doubting its veracity – as I realise the reason it looks like that is that the floor is still so CLEAN, being just the first day.

  78. Arkady says:

    The floor is looking pretty grubby close up actually, as though it wasn’t scrubbed properly prior to opening. Looked like oil stains in places.

  79. Mel Atkey says:

    According to the NR staff I spoke to at Kings X today, there are no plans to renumber the platforms.

  80. plcd1 says:

    Oh if we’re trading photos 🙂

    http:[email protected]/

    It is an impressive space but I am not sure I would like to try and use it when it is tremendously busy. I’m still not convinced how the place works if you just miss your train and end up on the wrong side of the gateline. The other telling omission is the lack of seating other than if you go and fork out money for food upstairs.

  81. Ian Sergeant says:


    That’s a Grand Central train where tickets can be bought on the train: nothing new there. How passengers proceed through the ticket barrier without a ticket is another matter!

  82. James KXLDN says:

    I echo Arkady’s sentiments about the pub – had three very nice pints of Gales HSB in there last night. One looking out over platforms 0 – 8, one watching the suburban trains and one in the interior courtyard.

    Here are some pics:

  83. Anonymous says:

    Yesterday they had set up a couple of ENTRY gates in the EXIT line, at the south end of the main platforms.

    Today they had not.

    I saw one women plead to be let in, to reach a soon-departing train for Leeds from platform Zero. The staff eventually relented.

    However, at the western end of that gate line, they had used temporary tape-barriers to create a passageway from the old concourse to the new one. This was not being staffed in any consistent manner, and a load of passengers were allowed in that way, and had to unlock the glass gate at the new concourse end, to get out!

    I cannot see why this passageway could not be made permanent, at least until the old concourse is demolished. It is a LONG DISTANCE to go around, just to reach an area you can see is quite close by. It also allows quicker access to people who have used the York Way entrance.

  84. Greg Tingey says:

    I will be working there this Friday – I may report back after seeing it operating in real life …..

  85. timbeau says:

    @ ian Sergeant

    quite – so you can get on the station without a ticket, by telling the barrier staff you are going to get a GC train (as it happens, but for a late change of plan, I would have been going north on a GC train this morning)

    And if you can validly get on the platform without a ticket, they must surely let you off again if requested to do so.

  86. Arkady says:

    It really isn’t a long distance, it’s about 30 seconds.

    I hung around for an our at rush-hour this evening and there didn’t seem to be a problem at all. The increased space in front of the platforms helps, and there are only so many trains arriving and departing within a given period. Also, lots of people are using the new bridge, which helps too. I didn’t see a single clash of crowds in the time I was there. Nor was there any temporary barriers. Just calm, and awestruck passengers.

  87. Anonymous says:

    excellent article, thanks.

    minor typos:
    temporarily not temporary
    the badminton, not the the badminton

  88. ashbro says:

    I was there during the rush hour this evening. Architecturally it’s stunning – it’s amazing how they’ve fitted so much in to the space. I have to agree with Arkady – there really wasn’t the chaos that the Cassandras predicted. Let’s not forget the previous crowds and chaos that used to occur when queueing behind the ‘letters’ waiting for the platform to be announced in the old circulating area. The transformation of two tired termini into the current King’s Cross-St Pancras transport complex is something we should be immensely proud of.

  89. Graham says:

    In answer to Dr Strabismus’s post above – I did a run around a couiple of weeks ago to time each transfer between each line platform to platform to and from Kings Cross.

    In terms of time there are a number of major winners, notably all services (Eurostar, East Midlands, FCC Thameslink, SouthEastern Javelin) from St Pancras.

    The Victoria and Met/ H+C Lines are, as the OP notes, still quicker from the existing Euston Road exit/ entrance – all other interchanges are unchanged at worst and a marginal improvement in some cases (There may be more improvements than I could note as the new escalators into the new concourse weren’t commissioned when I tried each connection out.

    I’m sure all involved will be delighted with the positivity here, elsewhere, and in particular in the last few days from station users around the new concourse. It’s already clear that station staff are proud of it, something that’s been difficult to imagine in recent years with the less than ideal environment they’ve had to work in.

    Will there be teething problems? Yes I’m sure there will be – Several that are emerging thus far are already being addressed, including general comments being collated by the Network rail staff that have volunteered to help the public to understand the new layout.

    On passenger/ pedestrian flow the expectation always was that early days would be tricky as thousands of people used to using a station in one way found themselves having to navigate around something completely different at the very busiest times. So far though it has been a far smoother transition than many expected, that will only get better as more and more people understand their alternatives.

    Ref York Way – there may well be some leeway shown on exit only in the early days of the new layout but it would be worth reflecting on some of the comments above about this – Open just a couple of barriers one way and you potentially cause the street access to become congested with two way pedestrian flow – that is exactly what the new layout was designed to alleviate – There’s a short term learning curve and then a long term plan – both are designed to help the wider issue – that very much larger numbers are using the station.

    The most notable thing of all though in the past couple of days has been the very large number of passengers SMILING on a railway station!! Imagine that! Perhaps the single poster here that feels the need to hurl what are really pretty extreme (and, in my view, entirely unjustified) insults should try actually visiting the new station before offering such ill-tempered comment? Speaking on behalf of many of those directly involved I think an apology to them for some of those comments would be in order

  90. timbeau says:

    Just been to have a look-see.

    Some signage needs improvement – from the Northern ticket hall it’s not at all obvious to people passing through the barrier line or approaching in the subway from the Met stationthat, although the station itself is to your right, the entrance to KX is behind you and to your left. Not helped by a clear sign in front of you pointing up a down escalator!

    Meeting a train from Cambridge – the new concourse serves for arrivals on the suburban side – 9 to 11 – as well as all departures) , but there is no obvious arrivals board on the concourse – in fact the right hand panel of the departures board does display arrivals, but there is nothing to indicate that is what it is doing. Of course, the train in question was then announced as coming into platform 6, involving a long trek round the houses to the arrivals concourse.

    A very off-message guide in the Northern ticket hall told me, untruthfully, that there was no access from the street to the arrivals concourse, and that meeters and greeters would be expected to wait for arriving passengers in the departures hall, – somehow expecting those passengers to find their way there by themselves!

  91. Mark Townend says:

    Related to Kings Cross development and future rebuilding at Euston, here is an idea for a pedestrian inter-connector between the terminals.

  92. Greg Tingey says:

    Friday week (30th March)

  93. Julia says:

    I had to do a quick dash from platform 0 to 10 tonight (just missed 18:10 KGX-SNO because of the extra time of getting into the station, when it was previously regularly on ungated 6 or 7; the next departure is 18:14). Can confirm there was no way to do it without going through the gatelines again – the guy at the line near 8 waved me and my bike through, which meant I missed the 18:14 as well because the in-gate in the suburban shed borked on my season ticket having seen two entrances without an exit…

  94. Greg Tingey says:

    Yup it’s (temporarily, we hope) screwed.
    A simple work-around would be a re-opening of a York Road entrance.
    If that was made IN only, then the whole thing might work quite well.
    Why cannot an “in” gateline be put in the currently (ahem) gated-off side “entrance” at the extreme SOuth end of York Road?
    It used to be a convenient way in, and could be again.
    If this was done, then you would have side entrances and central exit, and it would almost certainly work OK. ( ?? )

  95. Jordan D says:

    Greg – agree with your proposal – and can I throw in an “out” line at the old cross passage half way down Plat 8 next to the suburban shed? It will assist in cases like Julia’s where you can quickly and easily access the Suburban Shed without having to battle your way across the departure hall …

    It’s not as if the gap in the bricks doesn’t already exist.

  96. Anonymous says:

    I concur with Anonymous above that the taped-off “passageway” created between the old and new concourses should be made permanent. It solves a whole clutch of problems, by enabling: (1) arrivals to get to the taxi rank under cover without going all the way round the old concourse / tube exit in the open air; (2) ditto transfers to St Pancras, via the Great Northern Hotel arcade; (3) arrivals wishing to get to the main concourse, to meet friends, use shops or cafes, or get to the pub – which, let’s face it, is going to be a destination in its own right and a choice meeting place; (4) missed departures needing to get back to the main concourse (and pub to drown their sorrows); (5) greeters going from new concourse to exit gateline when a train arrives; (6) departers coming from the York Road end (assuming all the southern gateline remains exit-only).

    Disadvantages? None! The great majority of arrivals will still go down the tube stairs or out into the new square, and the trickle using this route will hardly break the overall flow system – I didn’t see any evidence of collisions or conflicts with the hordes through the main entrance yesterday. However, the benefit particularly for taxis and St Pancras transfers will be enormous. In the old days of course the taxi rank was in the logical position adjacent to the arrival platforms, but that is now Platform 0.

    The passageway should be made permanent and proud with similar fixed glazed barriers to the ones abutting the gateline – a curve at its north-east corner would be a nice touch. And bless it with appropriate signage – from the arrivals area: “Taxis, St Pancras, Main Concourse, Pub”.

  97. Dr Strabismus says:

    Sorry, I forgot to sign the post immediately above – didn’t intend it to be Anonymous.

  98. Arkady says:

    Ah, hyperbole again. It’s not ‘screwed’, it works very well, with minimal disadvantage to a minority of passengers and significant benefit to the majority. The complex passenger movement modelling undertaken by Network Rail and the architects trumps your idle speculation about what might work better. If the arrivals concourse also had waiting passengers the exit of departing passengers would be slowed down leading to movement clashes in front of the platforms, jeopardising the entire one-way system and making the situation even worse than it was before the new concourse opened.

    Where I do agree is that the old link to platform 8 from in front of the suburban shed should be re-opened (perhaps one way) to assist passengers who have missed a train or are dealing with a platform change. I’d imagine that Platform 8 is wide of enough to accomodate this, though it may have been modelled and I may be wrong.

  99. Anonymous says:

    The one way passenger systems have simply not worked. They result in overcrowding, angry people who miss trains they could easily have got to, and increased commuting times. Kings Cross is a working railway station. Not just anequivalent of a holiday destination airport. It should be run primarily to accommodate people getting on and off trains easily, as well as enabling them to set off easily to their next destination. We need some two way barriers to distribute the crowds and help passengers get directly to their trains. The design being forced on passengers is too idealistic and lacks the practical touch. A very disappointing start to something we all thought would enhance our journeys. Surely someone can show common sense in all this?

  100. Anonymous says:

    “It should be run primarily to accommodate people getting on and off trains easily, as well as enabling them to set off easily to their next destination. ”

    In my (plenty of) experience, the biggest barrier to easily getting on and off trains easily are other passengers getting in the way. One of the worst aspects of this is trying to get through a concourse to the platforms where you have people walking in all manner of directions, often looking at departure board or their phones, or standing in inconvenient places. Another is how this gets exacerbated at gatelines as everyone is squashed into a small area so there is an inevitable clash. Especially when you have to walk right across the path of incoming gates to get to the appropriate ones, and with that the hoards of people.

    Anonymous 2

  101. srt20 says:

    I agree with Anonymous 2 – Waterloo and Victoria are great examples of how overcrowding of the concourse by arriving and departing passengers can make progress across the concourse so difficult.

    I also find that the concourse at Waterloo can very quickly get filled with people waiting for departures if there’s been a bit of a delay – I don’t know if the current work on the mezannine at Waterloo is going to improve this at all… and I know there’s been talk of opening up space underneath the current concourse, but don’t know if that’s every going to get anywhere

  102. CharlieP says:

    Great article, though as somebody who gets to visit London about once every couple of years, I was gutted to see that the soft launch was mere hours after my train home to Wakefield on Saturday night…!

  103. Fandroid says:

    There’s a skill to entering and exiting Waterloo at busy times. It will soon be made worse (not better as the PR fluff says) for those transferring to Waterloo East from the middle platforms (11 & 12 in particular) as the escalators have been moved to run parallel with the back range of buildings, and dump us several yards away from the bridge entry. So instead of coming through the barriers and aiming straight for the hole in the wall leading to the bridge, we will have to travel 2 sides of a triangle to reach the same spot. It’ll be OK for the platforms at the extreme ends, but rubbish elsewhere. Don’t spacial planners realise that walkers always want to travel in as straight a line as possible?

  104. timbeau says:

    The problem at Waterloon is that they usually refuse to announce the platform until the train is actually signalled into it, instead of doing so as soon as the previous train has left (and I’ve heard all the excuses about not knowing if the train will be able to form the outgoing service – why on earth not, in these days of mobile communications?). This can be as little as three minutes before the scheduled departure.

    The inevitable results are
    – too many people on the concourse who could be waiting on the platform
    – a head on collision at the barriers between people entering the platform at the same time as those oarriving on the incoming service are trying to leave
    – delays in boarding as people take time to get to the right platform, or even miss the train altogether if they happen to be waiting at the wrong end of the concourse (particularly a problem for Kingston loop and Shepperton passengers, whose trains leave alternately from platforms 1 and 18!
    – over crowding at the rear of the train as people pile on the first door in case the train leaves without them.

  105. Greg Tingey says:

    NOT as bad as @ Paddington!

    One has waited for ages for a stopper to be “declared” ….
    – for it to be announced and displayed with less than 3 minutes to go … from Pf 14 (!)

    The mad race from the concourse along Pf 12 …
    The holding of the closing doors open for two minutes to allow people to get on, the swearing at the railway jobsworths demanding that said doors be left, along with about 90 passengers ….

  106. Anonymous says:

    Re Paddington, fully agree, got the T shirt

    Down the road

    Given longer train lengths at Euston this year, refusal to indicate departure platforms UNTIL WE’RE READY and the Branson Bolt advertising tie up perhaps passengers in coach A should be awarded rosettes for the dash from the departure board to their seats. It could usefully tie in with marketing for a local sports day or something…..

  107. Alan Griffiths says:

    Popped in for a few minutes on my way to Euston tonight. Its great! The seats, for those still moaning, are by the cash machines, just north of centre.

  108. Malcolm says:

    In all this new station, is there any trace left of the old platform (was it 15 or 16?) which used to climb up from Moorgate and the Hotel Curve. Or has that long disappeared under modern concrete?

  109. Slugabed says:

    The platform itself disappeared many years ago as part of the last King’s X rebuilding,being replaced by a car park,but the ramp and the tunnel mouth were still very visible.
    In the last few years,however,even these appear to have gone as part of the massive changes taking place in the wider area.

  110. UPPER EDMONTON Park Road says:

    I came across this old pic of KX which fits in the early pics and the construction of the concourse:

    What I paticuarly like is it shows the old Piccadilly Line ticket office out on the Euston Rd.

  111. Mark Townend says:

    A nice set of photos and drawings of Kings Cross can be found at designboom . . .

  112. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting find. From the plans it appears the passageway halfway up platform 9 leading to platform 8 still exists. Does anyone know if this is open? If so it would save the long walk round the outside of the station and the need to go through two sets of ticket barriers if you miss your train on one side of the station and need to get to the other.

  113. timbeau says:

    That passageway was blocked off some time ago, when platform 9 was gated, as platform 8 was still open at that time.

    Picture here

    Now that both platforms are gated this may have changed.

  114. Dave Smith says:

    There is a significant amount of work happening at Victoria as part of the London Underground VSU project (with even more kicking off post-Olympics) – will you be covering that in your series on the London Terminals?

  115. Luongo says:

    Anonymous 7 April, timbeau

    The gate in timbeau’s (delightful) photograph appears to be ajar most days when I go past but the connection between platforms 8 and 9 is not signposted in any way and it certainly doesn’t look like you’re supposed to go that way. However, if you want to get from the suburban platforms to the main station you can go to the far end of the platform 9 and go round the end wall.

  116. Littlejohn says:

    The April issue of The London Bus (magazine of the London Omnibus Traction Society) records that there is a credit card-sized folding map to explain the new layout. Three versions have so far been found; produced (or sponsored) by Network Rail, First Capital Connect and East Coast. The map is the same in each but the text differs according to whose name is on it. Now that I live some distance from London I haven’t been able to get hold of one but it might be worth searching them out.

  117. Fandroid says:

    My first opportunity to inspect the new KX occurred yesterday, with a day trip to Leeds. The first impression (at about 10.15), in arriving from the Circle Line was that I had to go unnecessarily around several corners to find the escalators up to ground level, and when I got there I was somehow in an obscure place at the back of the shops on the St Pancras side. Being the intrepid traveller that I am, I persevered, and got into the main hall. Very impressive. As a keen LR commenter, I knew about the segregated flow theory, so looked for the way onto the mezzanine level. It wasn’t terribly obvious! The escalators for that were again tucked around a corner (I must have turned through about 540 degrees since the Circle line platforms). Upstairs, the new-mode rail eateries (Wasabi etc – bring back Upper Crust!) were fairly busy. There were plenty of metal chairs and tables (think pub outdoors) for the traveller to wait at, in view of the departures screen, before the secret of the platform is revealed. I discovered the toilets were hidden away on this level too. Being an experienced at this sort of thing, I saw a green arrow and got in free (the same happened on the way back, on the same gate, but it seemed to be selective – only LR readers were getting a free wee. Tourists had to pay).

    Once my train was announced, I headed off for the bridge to platform 1. Another first impression – What! are there only two passengers for this train? But no, looking down, I saw hordes approaching from the platform end. They had apparently been waiting (standing) at the southern set of departure screens, and dashed through the southern gateline when the platform was called. I seriously don’t think that the segregated flow message has been effectively conveyed to the travelling public! Once the extension in front of the original building has been demolished, there could be some chaotic scenes in the narrow space that is left at the platform ends.

    On return (at 17.00), I noticed that the bridge was a bit busier, but with one or two folk going the wrong way (presumably having used the lifts). I went out of the end, turned right towards the new ticket hall, and found all the gates on the gateline showing a red X. I wandered down platform 8, and eventually found the way through to platform 9. The gates were ajar, both displaying a notice ‘These Gates to be Kept Closed at all Times’. There was a trickle of people passing through.

    Having now gone through the gateline on the suburban platforms, I went up to the mezzanine (really I was looking for the pub !) It was really busy with noshers & coffee drinkers. These probably accounted for the increased use of the bridge that I had seen. Looking over the edge, I saw the steps up to the pub – previously I had assumed that those steps led to the bridge. The pub is OK, nice balcony, otherwise typical London nobby style. Good ale selection, but no Bite Card discount! ( I assume its not an SSP outlet).

    So, no way from the platform ends through the gateline back to the ticket hall, but the hole in the platforms 8/9 wall seems to be open, and the bridge gateline appears to be two-way.

    Overall, I fear that NR has created a place that will suit the knowledgeable regular traveller, but that will be a bit bewildering to the newcomer. NR insist on fairly small font sizes on their notices, so no direction signs stand out in any way, and all those obscure corners will just result in many a lost soul walking round in circles. S

  118. Fandroid says:

    Travelled to Leeds and back yesterday. The bridge was just about empty. Getting on to it is so convoluted after viewing the departure boards from ground level – turn around 180 degrees, head away from the platforms in the direction of St Pancras, go up a hidden escalator that is actually heading away from the bridge, turn about 120 degrees in a long arc, turn about 60 degrees the other way, and at long last you are walking towards the platform you want.

    People on foot are simple folk to plan for. They like to go in a straight line from their starting point to their destination, and they avoid changes of level until the last possible moment. Satisfy those criteria and it’s amazing how rapidly and efficiently they can shift themselves about.

    Obeying the above rules, most passengers at ground floor level go through the southern gate line to get to their platform. Whatever happened to separating departures from arrivals? I noted on my return, that two wide gates at the southern end of the southern gateline now open in an east-west direction.

    Why is it that so many of the escalators take passengers downwards ? (From main concourse to Tube ticket hall and from bridge to platforms) Climbing is the tiring effort, not descending!

    All very clever, but not very functional.

  119. StephenC says:

    Arup engineering have produced this pdf with lots of info about the Kings Cross design and build.

  120. Long Branch Mike says:

    Stunning historical, construction, and engineering profile! Thanks.

  121. Arkady says:

    @StephenC – p24 suggests that a degree of two-way flow has always been expected.

  122. Fandroid says:

    I had another trip to Leeds yesterday, leaving on the 10.35 from KX. I had an EastCoast voucher which permitted me to use the First Class Lounge, so I checked that out first. It’s quite pleasant and reasonably comfortable and has the usual free coffee (plus breakfast croissants). Its exit leads directly onto the overbridge. At 10.25 I duly wandered onto the bridge and was the only one there. However when I got down onto platform 0/1 I was amazed at the big crowd pouring in from the platform end. My guess is that 99% of the passengers were boarding the train from that direction. Returning at about 17.50 onto a middle platform, we all left via the platform end and had to fight our way through a big departure crowd heading towards platforms 0/1.

    Whatever Arup planned for, the separation of arrivals and departures isn’t working at all at any practical level.

  123. Just the ticket: the joy of England’s railway stations – The Guardian

    The story of the English railway station since its Victorian heyday is that of a distinctively creative free-for-all

    The English Railway Station book is published by English Heritage.

  124. Greg Tingey says:

    LBM & others
    Try instead, any of the following:
    “All Stations” ( Originally an exhibition catalogue)
    Pub. Thames & Hudson 1978-81

    “Railway Styles in Building”
    Bowers & Watters
    Pub. Almark


    “Railway Architecture”
    Binney & Pearce
    Pub. Bloomsbury Press 1979-85

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