Rail passengers step into new era as King’s Cross Concourse opens
The biggest transformation in the 160-year history of King’s Cross station was finally revealed today with the opening to the public of the spectacular new western concourse.
More than 45m passengers a year – travelling through London and to and from destinations including Cambridge, Peterborough, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh – now have improved facilities including better lighting, larger destination boards, clearer station announcements and more shops and restaurants.
Ian Fry, Network Rail programme director for King’s Cross, said: “The new King’s Cross station is something for everyone to be proud of – and that includes passengers. As the number of people travelling by rail continues to grow, it’s only right that we have the facilities we need to cater for that growth. This stunning addition to the station provides three-times as much space as the old concourse with new shops and restaurants, better transport links and a lighter, brighter environment for everyone to enjoy.”
Keith Jipps, First Capital Connect customer service director, said: “This fabulous development at King’s Cross is great news for our passengers who now have a less crowded, often more direct journey through the station as well as new shops and facilities, and lifts to all areas. The transformation and improved interchange with other forms of transport is a vital part of First Capital Connect’s commitment to give our customers a great journey every day.”
Tim Hedley-Jones, East Coast stations and property director, said: “East Coast is proud to be part of the redevelopment of King’s Cross station. We have been working closely with Network Rail and industry partners to transform the station. It is now a superb destination for the 13m customers who travel with East Coast to London.
“The enhancements to the station facilities located in the specially created western concourse include a brand new travel centre, a number of new retail and food outlets, as well as a customer information point. East Coast has also created a new First Class Lounge with easy access to both the new concourse and the platforms."
A stunning new glass and steel roof structure has been cleverly blended with the Grade-1 listed station’s heritage to create a space for passengers that is three-times larger than the current concourse, with improved links to both the London Underground network and St Pancras International station.
The new concourse can be accessed direct from the Tube and for pedestrians from Euston Road, Pancras Road and via new arcades on the ground floor of the Great Northern Hotel.
Network Rail and the train operating companies serving King’s Cross have been advising passengers about the changes to the station and will have teams on hand throughout the week to provide advice, foldout wayfinding maps and links to information online and via social media.
Passengers departing from King’s Cross now access the platforms from the new western concourse, either at platform level or by using the new footbridge which extends across the full width of the main station shed and provides lifts and escalator access to all platforms.
Passengers arriving at platforms 0 to 8 will leave the station through the existing 1970s concourse, which will be demolished after the London Paralympic Games. The area will be transformed into a new public open space, larger than Leicester Square, by September 2013.
The £550m scheme marks the completion of yet another key transport upgrade for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It takes the total investment in transport infrastructure in the King’s Cross area in the last ten years up to £2.5bn.
Over a thousand tonnes of steel, one million specially made heritage bricks, five million ceramic tiles and five million metres of cabling were used in the construction. More than 5,000 people worked on the project, providing a vital boost to the economy with 15% of the work force coming from the local area.
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