Harry Potter station refurbished – platform 9¾ set to stay

Looking towards the new entrance of the station

Kings Cross Station in London serves 45million passengers a year and this will rise in the next decade to 55 million. It is major railway station and interchange for the underground alongside a link to St Pancras station which is next door. The station is being restored at a cost of £400million and has a roof that can cover three Olympic sized swimming pools.

The new station opened on Monday 19 March – on schedule! However, much more work will be done on this project.

It is a huge project and at no time was the station ever closed. It remained open throughout the work – difficult when at a peak there are over 100,000 per hour moving through the station.

The new entrance to the station

I visited the station last week and it is bright, clean and huge! It has lots and lots of space. Contrast this with the old entrance which is dull, dirty and very little space.

The new station has lots of facilities however it does lack seating. I eventually found a seat and the woman next to me said she was waiting just over an hour for her train and had searched for 5 minutes to find an empty seat…something for management to think about?

I have read various reports about the costs of the project. Someone told me that the budget was on target only for someone to interject that this was the revised budget! It was difficult to track down and then I came across an interesting blog article by William Perrin who said:

“….the budget for the Kings cross refurbishment is like a bar of soap….

The article mentions a TV programme on Panorama about rail; transparency of costs was promised on the programme. Yes, this was the multibillion project at Reading railway station but what about other projects? Do read William Perrin’s article – very interesting and it’s only public money!

The real feature - interlaced supports for the roof

Despite the big whinge above this is a massive improvement for commuters. The project still has a while to go before complete however the pictures in this blog show what it looks like. It’s a shame I could not get through to the old part of the station so you could see the contrast and a shame I could not find out whether the old maxim of on time and to budget has been achieved.

You may also be interested in a couple of linked articles:

London 2012: King’s Cross concourse ready for Games

All change at Kings Cross

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