Magazine Humeur

St Pancras

Publié le 01 juin 2009 par Clementinesideas

StPancrasFacade

Historique

Exigence d’une nouvelle station

La construction de la gare fut commandée par la Midland Railway. Avant les années 1860, la compagnie effectuait beaucoup de trajets vers les Midlands et au nord de Londres, mais pas son propre accès à la capitale. À partir de 1840, les trains des Midlands depuis et vers Londres allaient de la gare d’Euston utilisant le réseau de la London and North Western via une jonction à Rugby. La congestion et les retards au sud de Rugby sont vite devenus ordinaires quand les services se sont développés.

On a proposé une nouvelle ligne de Londres autour de 1845, vers la fin de la période de spéculation plus tard nommée la Manie de Chemin de fer. La ligne Great Northern a été approuvée par le Parlement en 1846 et une jonction de Leicester à Hitchin concédée à la Midland Railway en 1847. Tandis que la Grande ligne du Nord a été construite, la jonction du Centre a été simplement abandonnée en 1850 en raison de problèmes financiers. La pression commerciale dans le Leicestershire, le Northamptonshire et le Bedfordshire notamment de William Whitbread, qui a possédé environ 12 % des terres sur lesquelles la ligne passerait a relancé l’étude de la liaison. La ligne a été présentée à nouveau au Parlement et approuvée en 1853. La construction a commencé rapidement, mais n’a pas été menée à grande allure : la ligne a été ouverte au milieu de 1857. La Midland Railway avait l’assurance de l’exploiter pendant sept ans pour un minimum de 20 000 £ par an. La Midland Railway avait maintenant deux trajets pour Londres, par Euston et King’s Cross et le trafic grossissant rapidement, particulièrement avec le commerce du charbon, la Midland Railway transportant environ un cinquième du charbon de Londres avant 1852.

Au milieu de 1862, en raison de l’énorme trafic pendant la seconde Exposition Universelle (1862), les compagnies Great Northern et la Midland ont atteint la limite de la capacité de la ligne. Cela a été le facteur décisif pour la Midland pour la construction de sa propre ligne de 49,75 milles (80 km) de Bedford à Londres qui a commencé en octobre 1862. Toutefois, la Midland avait déjà acheté une grande partie des terrains de la paroisse Saint Pancras depuis 1861.

Saint-Pancras était une zone peu avenante, avec ses taudis tristement célèbres. D’autres points de repère du secteur étaient Fleet River et Regent’s Canal couverts, une usine à gaz et une vieille église avec un grand cimetière. Pour le terminus la Midland Railway a choisi un site adossé à la nouvelle route (baptisée ultérieurement Euston Road) limité par ce qui est maintenant Midland Road et Pancras Road, quelques cent yards à l’est de la Gare d’Euston et immédiatement à l’ouest de la gare de King’s Cross. Le plan initial était de faire passer les voies d’approche de la gare sous le canal dans un tunnel, bien que la présence du cimetière et l’usine à gaz soient des difficultés supplémentaires. Le site était occupé par des maisons de Somers Town et les taudis de Agar Town. Les propriétaires ont vendu les terrains pour 19 500 £ et ont nettoyé et expulsé les résidants sans compensation pour 200 £ supplémentaires. L’église fut démolie et un remplacement construit pour 12 000 £ en 1868 dans Kentish Town. L’église démolie, st. Luke, fut reconstruite morceau par morceau en 1867 en tant qu’ église de la congregation à Wanstead et existe toujours (maintenant United Reformed).

La société a eu l’intention de connecter le site via un tunnel passant sous Euston Road (Saint Pancras Branch) à la nouvelle ligne métropolitaine, ouverte en 1863 allant de la Gare de Paddington à la gare de Farringdon, créant ainsi une voie vers le Kent.

Conception et construction

L’inclinaison et la forme irrégulière de l’emplacement a posé certains problèmes mais les architectes étaient déterminés pour impressionner Londres avec leur nouvelle gare. Ils pourraient voir l’ornateness d’Euston, avec sa voûte célèbre ; le succès de Lewis Cubitt’s King’s Cross; les innovations de conception du fer, du verre; et, de manière significative, les conceptions simples de toit d’envergure de John Hawkshaw étant construites à Charing Cross et Cannona Street.

Le plan initial de la gare a été présenté par William Henry Barlow, ingénieur conseil de l’intérieur. Le toit d’envergure simple de 74 mètres, le plus grand construit jusqu’à cette époque, a été adopté pour les raisons purement économiques pour utiliser au maximum de l’espace sans obstructions (la conception de toit était une collaboration entre Barlow et Ordish de Rowland). Un espace pour un hôtel transversal été inclus dans le plan et a été accepté au début de l’année 1865.

Un concours a été organisé pour la conception des bâtiments et de l’hôtel de station en mai 1865. Onze architectes ont été invités à concourrir, soumettant leurs conceptions en août. En janvier 1866, les conceptions gothiques de renaissance de brique de George Gilbert Scott ont été choisies. Il y avait une certaine inquiétude au choix, en partie parce que les conceptions de Scott, coûtant 315 000 £, étaient de loin les plus chères. La splendeur fine de la façade de Scott a impressionné les architectes, atteignant leur objectif d’exceller toutes les autres gares de la capitale. Une compression financière suivante a équilibré plusieurs planchers de la façade et du certain ornateness mais la conception impressionnante est en grande partie demeurée.

La construction de la station, sans le toit qui était une offre séparée, a été économisée à 310 000 £, et après quelques problèmes l’offre des frères Waring de 320 000 £ a été acceptée. Le toit a été réalisé par la Butterley Company pour 117 000 £. Le travail a commencé à partir l’automne de 1864 par un pont provisoire au-dessus du canal et la démolition des ville de Somers Town et d’Agar Town. La construction des bases de la gare n’a commencé qu’en juillet 1866 et les retards dus aux problèmes techniques, particulièrement dans la construction de toit, étaient banals.

Le cimetière a posé des problèmes – la ligne principale devait passer au-dessus de lui sur un pont à poutres et la ligne métropolitaine en dessous dans un tunnel. Le percement d’un tunnel a été particulièrement retardé par la présence des restes humains en décomposition, de nombreux cercueils et d’une manifestation à Londres de choléra menant à la condition d’enfermer la flotte de fleuve entièrement en fer. En dépit de ceci, le raccordement a été accompli en janvier 1867.

La compagnie espérait accomplir la plupart des bâtiments essentiels pour le mois de janvier 1868. La gare de marchandises dans la ville d’Agar Town a reçu son premier train en septembre 1867, mais le service de passagers (sur la ligne métropolitaine) n’a commencé qu’en juillet 1868. Cependant, la gare n’était pas encore finie quand elle fut ouverte, le 1er octobre. La gare était une masse de structures provisoires pour les passagers. Le premier train, pour Manchester, a fonctionné non-stop de la ville Kentish Town à Leicester – le plus long trajet non-stop effectué au monde à 97 milles (156 kilomètres).

Le travail intérieur sur l’hôtel n’a commencé qu’en 1868. Conçu par l’architecte George Gilbert Scott et avec la construction dans un certain nombre d’étages, l’hôtel s’est ouvert aux clients le 5 mai 1873. Le coût total pour le bâtiment était de 438 000 £.

Le bâtiment de l’hôtel semble au commencement être dans un modèle gothique italien polychromatique – inspiré par des pierres de John Ruskin’s de Venise – mais sur un visionnement plus étroit. Il incorpore des dispositifs d’une série de périodes et pays. D’une approche si éclectique, Scott a prévu qu’un nouveau genre émergerait.

Déclin du XXe siècle

Le XXe siècle siècle n’a pas été bénéfique pour la gare. L’acte des chemins de fer de 1921 a forcé la fusion du chemin de fer intérieur de Londres avec le chemin de fer occidental du nord (LNWR) dans Londres et le chemin de fer écossais (LMS), et le LMS a adopté la gare d’Euston du LNWR en tant que principal terminus de Londres.

L’hôtel a été fermé en 1935, et le bâtiment a été plus tard employé comme bureaux. Pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale, les avions allemands ont infligés de sérieux dégâts à la gare.

La nationalisation du LMS en tant qu’élément de British Rail a abouti à une autre rationalisation des services fonctionnant au nord de Londres. La gare de Saint-Pancras est vue comme superflue, et plusieurs tentatives ont été entreprises de fermer la gare. L’ouverture de Thameslink en 1988 a enlevé la plupart des services suburbains restants à Saint-Pancras, mais la gare continue toujours à desservir Leicester, Nottingham et Sheffield. Cependant ceci n’est constitué que par seulement quelques trains par heure et a laissé la gare sous-employée et vide.

En 1962, une proposition pour démolir l’hôtel (à ce jour connu sous le nom de chambers de Saint-Pancras) a provoqué une vive opposition mais réussie. En mai 2007, une statue de John Betjeman a été érigée sur un des quais de la gare de Saint-Pancras, dans le respect de sa campagne pour sauver la façade. Le bâtiment de l’hôtel est par la suite resté vide dans les années 1980. L’hôtel était devenu un endroit populaire pour le tournage de films et productions de télévision.

Après la privatisation de British Rail, les services au départ de Saint-Pancras ont été agréés à la filiale intérieure des Midlands Mainline en 1996.

Le XXIe siècle apporte un rôle nouveau à Saint-Pancras

Le XXIe siècle apporte un rôle nouveau à Saint-Pancras. Le plan originel pour la liaison ferroviaire de tunnel sous la Manche a impliqué la création d’un tunnel quelque part au sud-est de Londres, et un terminus souterrain à proximité de la gare de King’s Cross.

Toutefois, dû aux retards des plans et par le désir d’urbanisation de Londres de Michael Heseltine, député, un changement d’itinéraire est mené, avec la nouvelle ligne approchant Londres par l’Est. Ceci a ouvert la possibilité de réutiliser la gare de Saint-Pancras comme terminus, avec l’accès par l’intermédiaire du Nord de Londres.

L’idée a été rejetée en 1994 par le secrétaire chargé des transports, John MacGregor, comme difficile à construire. Toutefois l’idée d’employer la gare de Saint-Pancras comme nouveau terminus a été maintenue, quoique relié par 20 km de tunnels construits à Dagenham par l’intermédiaire de Stratford.

London and Continental Railways (LCR), qui a été créé durant la privatisation de British Rail, a été choisies par le gouvernement britannique en 1996 pour entreprendre la reconstruction de la gare de Saint-Pancras, et aussi la construction de la liaison ferroviaire du tunnel sous la Manche à la gare et la modification des parts britanniques de la société Eurostar, Eurostar UK.

LCR devient propriétaire de la gare de Saint-Pancras depuis la privatisation de British Rail. Les difficultés financières en 1998 et l’effondrement de la voie ferroviaire en 2001 ont causé la révision des plans de reconstructions, mais LCR reste propriétaire de la gare de Saint-Pancras.

La reconstruction de la gare

Il fallait donc l’adapter aux trains très longs d’Eurostar, et fournir la capacité pour les trains existants (Midlands) et les services proposés sur la liaison ferroviaire à grande vitesse. Le hall de la gare existant a été prolongé, sur une distance considérable au nord, par un nouvel hangar couvert. La gare a été prévue pour comporter 13 quais. Les services vers les Midlands utiliseraient donc les quais situés à l’ouest, les services d’Eurostar utiliseraient les quais du milieu qui seraient les seuls à se prolonger dans le hall existant, et les services à grande vitesse vers le Kent occuperaient les plates-formes situées à l’est.

En même temps que la prolongation de la gare était établie en 2004–2005, une gare souterraine a été construite pour le Thameslink. Cette gare serait adaptée par la suite pour donner à Saint-Pancras ses propres quais pour ce service, mais au début, aucun fond n’a été donné pour ces travaux.

On a aussi accordé en 2005 la rénovation de l’ancien hôtel, qui deviendra un hôtel cinq étoiles et qui occupera un grande partie de l’hôtel original, et s’ouvrira en 2009. Des appartements seront également aménagés et occuperont la majorité de l’hôtel.

En 2006, des fonds ont été attribués pour permettre la construction de quais à la gare de Saint-Pancras pour le Thameslink. Ainsi, la station de King’s Cross Thameslink fermera ses portes et le nouvel arrêt sera à Saint-Pancras.

L’ouverture de la gare internationale

Le 4 septembre 2007, le premier train d’Eurostar en destination de la gare de Saint-Pancras est parti de la gare de Paris-Nord pour un temps de trajet total de 2h03min.

Du 30 octobre au début du mois de novembre 2007, Eurostar a mené un programme d’essais dans lequel 6 000 personnes ont participé en tant que passagers lors de l’enregistrement, du contrôle des bagages, de l’immigration et de la douane. Ils ont chacun fait trois voyages aller-retour de la gare de Saint-Pancras à l’entrée du tunnel sous Londres (soit une distance inférieure à 1 km).

La gare de Saint-Pancras a été officiellement rouverte comme sous le nom de Saint-Pancras International, le mardi 6 novembre 2007, par sa majesté la reine d’Angleterre accompagnée de son conjoint, le Duc d’Edimbourg.

Les services d’Eurostar via le High Speed 1 ont commencé le 14 novembre 2007.

La gare est essentiellement conçue, mais les quais pour les Southeastern pour la liaison à grande vitesse vers le Kent resteront inoccupés jusqu’en 2009.

Au cours du même mois, Midland Mainline a changé de société pour devenir les East Midland.

Les nouveaux quais du Thameslink ont ouvert le 9 décembre 2007, sous la gare de Saint-Pancras et l’ancienne gare de King’s Cross Thameslink a été fermée.

History

Requirement for a new station

The station was commissioned by the Midland Railway. Prior to the 1860s, the company had a concentration of routes in the Midlands and north of London but not its own route to the capital. From 1840, Midland trains to and from London ran from Euston using the London and North Western line via a junction at Rugby. Congestion and delays south of Rugby quickly became commonplace as services expanded.

A new London line was proposed around 1845, towards the end of the period of speculation later dubbed “Railway Mania”. The Great Northern line was approved by Parliament in 1846 and a Midland Railway spur from Leicester to Hitchin was agreed in 1847. While the Great Northern line was constructed, the Midland spur was quietly abandoned in 1850 due to financial problems. Pressure from businesses in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire (notably from William Whitbread, who owned roughly 12% of the land over which the line would run) revived the spur scheme. The line was re-presented to Parliament and approved in 1853. Building began quickly but did not proceed at any great pace: the line was opened in mid-1857. The Midland Railway secured initial running power for seven years at a minimum of £20,000 a year. The Midland Company now had two routes into London, through Euston and King’s Cross, and traffic quickly expanded to take advantage, especially with the coal trade, with the Midland Railway transporting around a fifth of the total coal to London by 1852.

In mid-1862, due to the enormous traffic for the second International Exhibition, the Great Northern and the Midland companies clashed over the restricted capacity of the line. This was regarded as the stimulus for the Midland Company to build its own line and surveying for a 49.75-mile (80 km) long line from Bedford to London began in October 1862. However, the Midland Company had been buying large portions of land in the parish of St Pancras since 1861.
St Pancras clocktower rises above tenement blocks in King’s Cross in the 1980s. Etching by Colin Bailey
Closeup view of the clock tower

St Pancras was an unprepossessing district, with notorious slums. The area’s other landmarks were the covered River Fleet, Regent’s Canal, a gas-works, and an old church with a large graveyard. For the terminus the Midland Railway chose a site backing onto New Road (later Euston Road) bounded by what are now Midland Road and Pancras Road, a few hundred yards to the east of Euston and immediately to the west of King’s Cross station. The initial plan was to take the station’s approach tracks under the canal in a tunnel, although the churchyard and the gas-works were added problems. The site was occupied by housing, the estates of Somers Town and the slums of Agar Town. The landlords sold up for £19,500 and cleared out the residents, without compensation, for a further £200. The church was demolished and a replacement built for £12,000 in 1868–69 in Kentish Town. The demolished church, St Luke’s, was re-erected piece by piece in 1867 as a Congregational church in Wanstead, and still exists (now a United Reformed church).

The company intended to connect from the site through a tunnel (the St Pancras Branch) to the new Metropolitan Line, opened in 1863 running from Paddington to Farringdon Street below the Euston Road, providing for a through route to Kent.

Design and construction

The sloping and irregular form of the site posed certain problems and the Midland Railway directors were determined to impress London with their new station. They could see the ornateness of Euston, with its famous arch; the functional success of Lewis Cubitt’s King’s Cross; the design innovations in iron, glass and layout by Brunel at Paddington; and, significantly, the single span roof designs of John Hawkshaw being built at Charing Cross and Cannon Street.

The initial plan of the station was laid out by William Henry Barlow, the Midland’s consulting engineer. Barlow persuaded the company to modify its original plans, raising the station 6m (20ft) on iron columns, thus providing a usable undercroft space and also allowing the approach tracks to cross the Regent’s Canal on a bridge rather than a tunnel. The single span roof of 74 m (243 ft) was a collaboration between Barlow and Rowland Mason Ordish and was the greatest built up to that time. It allowed the station to make maximum use of the space beneath without obstructions. A space for a fronting transverse hotel was included in the plan and the overall plan was accepted in early 1865.

A competition was held for the actual design of the station buildings and hotel in May 1865. Eleven architects were invited to compete, submitting their designs in August. In January 1866 the brick Gothic revival designs of the prominent George Gilbert Scott were chosen. There was some disquiet at the choice, in part because Scott’s designs, at £315,000, were by far the most expensive. The sheer grandeur of Scott’s frontage impressed the Midland Railway directors, achieving their objective of outclassing all the other stations in the capital. A subsequent financial squeeze trimmed several floors from the frontage and certain ornateness but the impressive design largely remained.

Construction of the station, minus the roof which was a separate tender, was budgeted at £310,000, and after a few problems Waring Brothers’ tender of £320,000 was accepted. The roof tender went to the Butterley Company for £117,000. Work began in the autumn of 1864 with a temporary bridge over the canal and the demolition of Somers Town and Agar Town. Construction of the station foundations did not start until July 1866 and delays through technical problems, especially in the roof construction, were commonplace.

The graveyard posed the initial problems – the main line was to pass over it on a girder bridge and the branch to the Metropolitan under it in a tunnel. Disturbance of the remains was expected but was, initially, carelessly handled. The tunnelling was especially delayed by the presence of decomposing human remains, the many coffins encountered, and a London-wide outbreak of cholera leading to the requirement to enclose the River Fleet entirely in iron. Despite this the connection was completed in January 1867.

The company was hoping to complete most essential building by January 1868. The goods station in Agar Town received its first train in September 1867, but passenger services through to the Metropolitan line did not begin until July 1868. However, the station was not finished when it opened, to little ceremony, on 1 October. The final rib for the trainshed roof had been fitted only in mid-September and the station was a mass of temporary structures for the passengers. The first train, an express for Manchester, ran non-stop from Kentish Town to Leicester – the longest non-stop run in the world at 97 miles (156 km).

The undercroft of the station was used to store beer barrels brought by train from Burton-upon-Trent, a major brewing town served by the Midland Railway.

Work on the Midland Grand Hotel did not begin until mid-1868. Designed by architect George Gilbert Scott and with construction in a number of stages, the hotel did not open to customers until 5 May 1873. The process of adding fixtures and fittings was contentious as the Midland Railway cut Scott’s perceived extravagances and only in late 1876 was Scott finally paid off. The total costs for the building were £438,000. The hotel building initially appears to be in a polychromatic Italian Gothic style – inspired by John Ruskin’s Stones of Venice – but on a closer viewing, it incorporates features from a variety of periods and countries. From such an eclectic approach, Scott anticipated that a new genre would emerge.

Following construction services were provided by the Midland Railway. This was a period of expansion as the major routes to Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Carlisle opened.

Grouping, nationalisation and privatisation

The 20th century did not, on the whole, serve St Pancras station well. The Railways Act of 1921 forced the merger of the Midland with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), and the LMS adopted the LNWR’s Euston station as its principal London terminus. The Midland Grand Hotel was closed in 1935, and the building was subsequently used as offices. During the Second World War, bombing inflicted damage on the train shed, which was only partially reglazed after the war.[17]

At the creation of British Railways in 1948, the previous LMS services continued to run. Destinations included the London area services to North Woolwich, St Albans and Bedford. Long distance services reached Glasgow, Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester, with famous named trains including:

* The Palatine to Manchester
* The Thames-Clyde Express to Glasgow
* The Master Cutler to Sheffield (following the withdrawal of long distance services from Marylebone in 1966)

The 1960s electrification of the WCML between London and Manchester saw the Manchester Pullman running from St Pancras via Derby and Matlock. These trains and those to Glasgow were withdrawn following the completion of the rebuilding of Euston and the consolidation of these services.

By the 1960s, St Pancras station came to be seen as redundant, and several attempts were made to close the station and demolish the hotel (by now known as St Pancras Chambers). These attempts provoked strong and successful opposition, with the campaign led by the then Poet Laureate, John Betjeman.[12][18]

During the sectorisation of British Rail in 1986, mainline services were provided to the East Midlands by the InterCity sector (Midland Division), with London suburban services to St Albans, Luton and Bedford being provided by Network SouthEast.[19] It was during this period (in 1988) that the Snow Hill tunnel re-opened resulting in the creation of the Thameslink route and the resultant diversion of the majority of suburban trains onto the new route. However the station continued to be served by trains running on the old Midland main line to Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, together with a few suburban services to Bedford and Luton. This constituted only a few trains an hour and left the station underused and empty.

Following the privatisation of British Rail, the long distance services from St Pancras were franchised to the Midland Mainline, a train operating company owned by the National Express Group, with a franchise start date of 28 April 1996. The few remaining suburban trains still operating into St Pancras were operated by the Thameslink train operating company, owned by Govia, from 2 March 1997.

Midland Mainline had initial plans for regular trains from St Pancras to Newcastle and Manchester but these were quickly and quietly dropped. A handful of trains to and from Leeds were introduced, mainly because the High Speed Train sets were maintained there and were already running the route but empty from Sheffield. During the 2000s major rebuild of the WCML history repeated itself with St Pancras hosting trains to Manchester, this time via the Hope Valley route, under the title of Project Rio.

A new role is planned

The original plan for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) involved a tunnel from somewhere to the south-east of London, and an underground terminus in the vicinity of Kings Cross station. However a late change in the plans, principally driven by the then deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine’s desire for urban regeneration in East London, led to a change of route, with the new line approaching London from the east. This opened the possibility of reusing the largely redundant St Pancras station as the terminus, with access via the North London Line that crosses the throat of the station.

The idea of using the North London line proved illusory, and it was rejected in 1994 by the then transport secretary, John MacGregor, as difficult to construct and environmentally damaging. However the idea of using the underused St Pancras station as the core of the new terminus was retained, albeit now linked by 20 km of specially built tunnels to Dagenham via Stratford.

London and Continental Railways (LCR), which was created at the time of British rail privatisation, was selected by the UK government in 1996 to undertake the reconstruction of St Pancras, the construction of the CTRL and the takeover of the British share of the Eurostar operation, Eurostar (UK). LCR has had ownership of St Pancras station since the privatisation of British Rail in order to allow for the station’s redevelopment to take place. Financial difficulties in 1998, and the collapse of Railtrack in 2001, caused some revision of this plan, but LCR retain ownership of St Pancras station.

The design and project management of reconstruction was undertaken, on behalf of LCR, by Rail Link Engineering (RLE), a consortium of Bechtel, Arup, Systra and Halcrow. The original reference design for the station was by Nick Derbyshire, the former head of British Rail’s in-house architecture team. The master plan of the complex was by Foster and Partners, whilst the lead architect of the reconstruction was Alistair Lansley, a former colleague of Nick Derbyshire recruited by RLE.

In order to accommodate the unusually long Eurostar trains, and to provide capacity for the existing domestic trains to the midlands and the proposed domestic services on the high speed rail link, the existing station train shed was extended a considerable distance northwards, by a new flat roofed shed. As extended the station was planned to feature 13 platforms under this extended train shed. Services to the East Midlands would use the western platforms, Eurostar services would use the middle platforms, and domestic high-speed services to Kent would occupy the eastern platforms. The Eurostar and one of the Midland platforms would extend back into the Barlow train shed. Access to the Eurostar platforms for departing passengers would be via a departure suite on the west side of the station, and then to the platforms by a bridge above the tracks within the historic train shed. Arriving Eurostar passengers would leave the station by a new concourse at the north end of the station.

This original design was later modified, with access to the Eurostar platforms from below, utilising the station undercroft and allowing the deletion of the visually intrusive access bridge. By dropping the extension of any of the Midland platforms into the Barlow train shed, space was freed up to allow wells to be constructed in the station floor, which provided natural daylight and access to the undercroft.

The station is rebuilt

Shortly before the station rebuild commenced, the overhead wiring used by the electric suburban trains was removed, in order to allow construction to start on the eastern side of the train shed extension. As a consequence, all suburban trains from Bedford and Luton were diverted to Kings Cross Thameslink and beyond, and the Thameslink train operating company ceased to serve St Pancras for a period. (In fact these trains only used St Pancras if there was engineering work further south on the Thameslink line.)

By early 2004, the eastern side of the extended train shed was complete, and the Barlow train shed was closed to trains. From 12 April 2004, Midland Mainline trains terminated at an interim station occupying the eastern part of the extension immediately adjacent to the entrance.

As part of the construction of the western side of the train shed extension, which now began, a new underground ‘box’ was constructed on the Thameslink route, which at this point ran partially under the extended station. This box was intended to eventually house new platforms for the Thameslink service. In order for this to happen, the existing Thameslink tunnels between Kentish Town and King’s Cross Thameslink had to be closed between 11 September 2004 and 15 May 2005 while the works were carried out. As a result, Thameslink services from the north terminated in the same platforms as the Midland Mainline trains, while services from the south terminated at King’s Cross Thameslink.

After the blockade of the route was finished, the new station box was still only a bare concrete shell, and could not take passengers. Thameslink trains reverted to their previous route, but ran through the station box without stopping. The budget for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link works did not include work on the fitting-out of the station, as these works had originally been part of the separate Thameslink 2000 works programme. Despite lobbying by rail operators who wished to see the station open at the same time as St Pancras International, the Government failed to provide additional funding to allow the fit out works to be completed immediately following the line blockade. Eventually, on 8 February 2006, Alistair Darling, the then Secretary of State for Transport, announced £50 million worth of funding for the fit-out of the station, plus another £10-15 million for the installation of associated signalling and other lineside works in the area.

In 2005 planning consent was granted for a refurbishment of the former Midland Grand Hotel building, which will be refurbished and extended as a hotel and apartment block.

By the middle of 2006, the western side of the train shed extension was completed, and on 14 July 2006 the Midland Mainline trains moved from their interim home on the east side to their ultimate home on the west side of the station.

According to a BBC 2 series broadcast in November 2007, the rebuilding cost was in the region of £800 million,[30] up from an initial estimate of £310 million.

The international station opens

From 30 October to early November 2007 Eurostar conducted a testing programme in which some 6000 members of the public were involved in passenger check-in, immigration control and departure trials, during which the ‘passengers’ each made three return journeys out of St Pancras to the entrance to the London tunnel. On 4 September 2007, the first test train ran from Paris Gare du Nord to St Pancras.[32]

St Pancras station was officially re-opened as St Pancras International, and the High Speed 1 launched, on Tuesday 6 November 2007, by HM The Queen accompanied by her consort, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
“It gives me great pleasure to officially launch High Speed, Britain’s first High Speed Railway and to re-open this magnificent station, St. Pancras International. ”

During an elaborate opening ceremony, Henry Barlow, played by actor Timothy West, addressed the audience, who were also entertained by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the singers Lemar and Katherine Jenkins. In a carefully staged piece of railway theatre, the first Class 395 train set and two Eurostar train sets arrived through a cloud of dry ice in adjacent platforms within seconds of each other.[34][35]

There are ticket barriers to all the international platforms of different design to those in general use in the national railway stations. This is partly due to the different standards of ticket size and magnetic strip placement.

Public service by Eurostar train via the completed High Speed 1 route started on 14 November 2007. In a small ceremony, station staff cut a ribbon leading to the Eurostar platforms.

The layout of the station is essentially as designed, although the platforms for the high speed link to Kent will remain unoccupied until that service starts in 2009. In the same month that the station opened, the station’s traditional services to the East Midlands were transferred to a new franchisee, East Midlands Trains.

The low level platforms for the Thameslink services opened on 9 December 2007, and at the same time the former King’s Cross Thameslink station closed. Since Thameslink trains last used St Pancras station, the franchise had changed hands (on 1 April 2006) and services were now operated by First Capital Connect.


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