Date  Visited

2022

 
 
England

London

Kings Cross Station






 
 
Summary

Built in 1851–52 as the London terminus of the Great Northern Railway, Kings Cross Station has undergone a number of redevelopments and extensions in order to cater for h East Coast Main Line trains and for suburban lines.
  
 


King's Cross station was built in 1851–52 as the London terminus of the Great Northern Railway (GNR), on the northern edge of Central London to accommodate the East Coast Main Line, although, following its official opening on 14 October 1852, it soon developed to cater for suburban lines, and expanded several times during the 19th century.

The area of King’s Cross got its name from a statue of King George IV erected at the crossroads outside the station. The monument was completed in 1836 but demolished in 1845, although the area retained the name.

The area of King's Cross was previously a village known as Battle Bridge which tradition says was the site of a major battle between the Romans and Boudica of the Iceni tribe in AD 60 or 61.

Plans for the station started in December 1848 under the direction of George Turnbull, the resident engineer responsible for constructing the first 20 miles (32 km) of the Great Northern Railway out of London. Although the station's detailed design was by Lewis Cubitt, and Sir William Cubitt (chief engineer of the Crystal Palace built in 1851. The design comprised of two great arched train sheds, with a brick structure at the south end designed to reflect the arches behind. Its main feature was a 112-foot (34 m) high clock tower that held treble, tenor and bass bells.  

Originally it had one arrival and one departure platform (today's platforms 1 and 8), and the space between was used for carriage sidings. The platforms have been reconfigured several times. They were numbered 1 to 8 in 1972. In 2010 the station was reconfigured again and now has 12 platforms numbered 0 - 11.

Following the Railways Act 1921 Kings Cross came into the ownership of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) who made improvements and added various amenities to the station.

On 1 January 1948, following the nationalisation of the railways, King's Cross came under the management of British Railways' Eastern Region. Over the next few years Diesel services were introduced and steam was phased out. All main line services were converted to diesel by June 1963. 

In 1972 Platform numbers were reorganised to run consecutively from 1 (east) to 14 (west). It was at this time that electrification started to be used for suburban services as part of the Great Northern Suburban Electrification project. The works were completed on 3 April 1977, and electric services began running from King's Cross. These are now accessed from the north end of the concourse. 

A major incident occurred on 18 November 1987 when a fire started in the machine room for a wooden escalator between the main line station and the London Underground station which resulted in the death of 31 people.

The 21st century heralded major redevelopments, including the restoration of the original roof.


 

 
In 2005 a £500 million restoration plan was announced by Network Rail involved restoring and reglazing the original arched train shed roof and removing the 1972 extension at the front of the station and replacing it with an open-air plaza. 

 


A new semi-circular departures concourse opened to the public in March 2012. Situated to the west of the station behind the Great Northern Hotel, it was designed by John McAslan and built by Taylor Woodrow Construction. It caters for much-increased passenger flows and provides greater integration between the intercity, suburban and underground sections of the station. The architect claimed that the roof is the longest single-span station structure in Europe and the semi-circular structure has a radius of 59 yards (54 m) and more than 2,000 triangular roof panels, half of which are glass


 


Within the concourse are numerous cafes, restaurants and food halls as well as many fast-food outlets. It also displays a luggage trolley embedded in the wall to mark the fact that according to J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potters books, that this is where students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry catch the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9¾, something that is available for people to have their photograph taken when pushing the trolly.

 



 


 

 

              All  Photographs taken by and copyright of Ron Gatepain

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