London King's Cross railway station

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King's Cross
National Rail London Underground
London King's Cross
King's Cross station geograph-3671508-by-Stephen-McKay.jpg
King's Cross station frontage following restoration, in 2013.
King's Cross is located in Central London
King's Cross
King's Cross
Location of King's Cross in Central London
LocationKings Cross
Local authorityLondon Borough of Camden
Managed byNetwork Rail
OwnerNetwork Rail
Station codeKGX
DfT categoryA
Number of platforms12 (Numbered 0–11)
AccessibleYes
Fare zone1
OSIKing's Cross St. Pancras (London Underground)
London St Pancras Int'l (National Rail)
London Euston (National Rail) [1]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2007–08Increase 23.945 million[2]
— interchange Increase 2.684 million[2]
2008–09Increase 24.641 million[2]
— interchange Increase 2.703 million[2]
2009–10Increase 24.818 million[2]
— interchange Increase 2.786 million[2]
2010–11Increase 26.255 million[2]
— interchange Decrease 2.150 million[2]
2011–12Increase 27.874 million[2]
— interchange Increase 3.021 million[2]
2012–13Increase 28.454 million[2]
— interchange Increase 3.583 million[2]
Key dates
1852Opened
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
Portal icon London Transport portal
Portal icon UK Railways portalCoordinates: 51°31′51″N 0°07′24″W / 51.5309°N 0.1233°W / 51.5309; -0.1233
 
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This article is about the National Rail station in London. For other uses, including stations, see King's Cross (disambiguation).
King's Cross
National Rail London Underground
London King's Cross
King's Cross station geograph-3671508-by-Stephen-McKay.jpg
King's Cross station frontage following restoration, in 2013.
King's Cross is located in Central London
King's Cross
King's Cross
Location of King's Cross in Central London
LocationKings Cross
Local authorityLondon Borough of Camden
Managed byNetwork Rail
OwnerNetwork Rail
Station codeKGX
DfT categoryA
Number of platforms12 (Numbered 0–11)
AccessibleYes
Fare zone1
OSIKing's Cross St. Pancras (London Underground)
London St Pancras Int'l (National Rail)
London Euston (National Rail) [1]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2007–08Increase 23.945 million[2]
— interchange Increase 2.684 million[2]
2008–09Increase 24.641 million[2]
— interchange Increase 2.703 million[2]
2009–10Increase 24.818 million[2]
— interchange Increase 2.786 million[2]
2010–11Increase 26.255 million[2]
— interchange Decrease 2.150 million[2]
2011–12Increase 27.874 million[2]
— interchange Increase 3.021 million[2]
2012–13Increase 28.454 million[2]
— interchange Increase 3.583 million[2]
Key dates
1852Opened
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
Portal icon London Transport portal
Portal icon UK Railways portalCoordinates: 51°31′51″N 0°07′24″W / 51.5309°N 0.1233°W / 51.5309; -0.1233

King's Cross railway station[3][4] is a major London railway terminus, opened in 1852. It is on the northern edge of central London, at the junction of Euston Road and York Way, in the London Borough of Camden on the boundary with the London Borough of Islington. It is one of 19 stations managed by Network Rail.[5]

King's Cross station is the southern terminus of the East Coast Main Line, one of Britain's major railway backbones providing high speed inter-city services to destinations in Yorkshire, the North East and northern and eastern Scotland. East Coast is the main inter-city operator and its most important long-distance destinations are Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Other inter-city operators serving the station include Grand Central Trains and Hull Trains.

King's Cross is also a London terminus for First Capital Connect which provides commuter services to areas of North London and outer-suburban/regional services to Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire including fast regional services to Peterborough, Cambridge and King's Lynn.

Immediately to the west across Pancras Road is St Pancras International, the London terminus of the Midland Main Line, Eurostar services to mainland Europe, and high-speed trains to Kent via High Speed 1, and a major interchange for Thameslink services between Bedford and Brighton. The two stations are operationally completely separate, but as they are adjacent, they are regarded as a single complex for interchange purposes. They share King's Cross St. Pancras tube station on the London Underground network, where six Underground lines meet. Taken together, the two main-line stations and the associated Underground station form one of Britain's biggest transport hubs. The station is also only around half a mile from Euston, the southern terminus for the West Coast Main Line.

History[edit]

King's Cross in 1852
Plan of King's Cross in 1888. Originally there was only one arrival and one departure platform.
Steam trains at King's Cross in 1928
An InterCity 125 at King's Cross in 1988

King's Cross was built in 1851–1852 as the London hub of the Great Northern Railway and terminus of the East Coast main line. It took its name from the King's Cross area of London, which was named after a monument to King George IV that was demolished in 1845.[6] Construction was on the site of a fever and smallpox hospital and it replaced a temporary terminus at Maiden Lane that had opened on 7 August 1850.[7]

Plans for the station were first made in December 1848 under the direction of George Turnbull, resident engineer for construction of the first 20 miles (32 km) of the Great Northern Railway out of London.[8][9] The detailed design was by Lewis Cubitt, the brother of both Thomas Cubitt (the architect of Bloomsbury, Belgravia and Osborne House), and of Sir William Cubitt (who was chief engineer of The Crystal Palace built in 1851, and consulting engineer to the Great Northern and South Eastern Railways). The design is magnificent in its simplicity, being based on two great arched train sheds, with a brick structure at the south end designed to reflect the main arches behind. In size, it was inspired by the 180 metre long Moscow Riding Academy of 1825, which it handsomely exceeded at 246 metres. At the time King's Cross station was the last word in functional modernity. Lewis Cubitt was also responsible for the design of the Great Northern Hotel (see below), and the 1847 cast-iron railway bridge ovr the River Nene at Peterborough.

The main part of the station, which today includes platforms 1 to 8, was opened on 14 October 1852. The platforms have been reconfigured several times. Originally there was only one arrival and one departure platform (today's platforms 1 and 8 respectively), with the space between used for carriage sidings. As suburban traffic grew additional platforms were added with considerably less grandeur. The suburban station building now containing platforms 9–11 is from that era.

A new platform, numbered 0, was opened in 2010. To the east of platform 1, it created capacity for Network Rail to achieve a phased refurbishment of platforms 1–8 that includes new lifts to a new footbridge between the platforms. By 2013 the entire station will have been restored and transformed.[10]

A number of famous trains have been associated with King's Cross, such as the Flying Scotsman service to Edinburgh, and the Gresley A3 and later streamlined A4 Pacific steam locomotives, which handled express services from the 1930s until the early 1960s. The most famous of these was Mallard, which still holds the world speed record for steam locomotives (set in 1938).

In 1972, a single-storey extension designed in-house by British Rail was built on to the front of the station to contain the main passenger concourse and ticket office. Although intended to be temporary, it still stood 40 years later, obscuring the Grade I-listed façade of the original station. Before the extension was built, the façade was hidden behind a small terrace of shops. The extension was demolished in late 2012,[11] revealing once again the Lewis Cubitt architecture. In its place, the 75,000 sq ft King's Cross Square was created, which was opened to the public on 26 September 2013.[12]

On 10 September 1973, a Provisional IRA bomb exploded in the booking hall at 12.24, causing extensive damage and injuring six people, some seriously. The 3 lb (1.4 kg) device was thrown without warning by a youth who escaped into the crowd and was not caught.[13]

The King's Cross fire of 1987, in which 31 people died, was at King's Cross St Pancras Underground station.[14]

The station has changed ownership a number of times: firstly the Great Northern Railway (GNR) (1852–1923), then the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) (1923–1948), then following nationalisation British Railways (1948–1996), then upon privatisation Railtrack, then Network Rail.

When the railways were privatised in 1996, express services into the station were taken over by GNER. Though it successfully re-bid for the franchise in 2005, it was asked to surrender it in December 2006. National Express East Coast took over the franchise on 9 December 2007 after an interim period when GNER ran trains under a management contract. In July 2009, it was announced that National Express was no longer willing to finance the East Coast subsidiary and the franchise was taken back into public ownership, handing over to East Coast in November 2009.

Class 105 at Kings Cross, York Rd station on the last day of diesel services to Moorgate

King's Cross York Road[edit]

Between 1863 and 1976, part of King's Cross was an intermediate station. On the extreme east of the site was King's Cross York Road, with suburban trains from Finsbury Park calling here, then using the sharply curved, and sharply graded York Road Tunnel to join the City Widened Lines to Farringdon, Barbican and Moorgate. In the other direction, trains from Moorgate came off the Widened Lines via the Hotel Curve, with platform 16 (latterly renumbered 14) rising to the main-line level. Services to and from Moorgate were diverted via the Northern City Line from August 1976.[15]

Great Northern Cemetery Station[edit]

Started in 1855 and opened in 1861 just north of the main station on the Islington side, was constructed a facility for taking coffins and mourners away from the city to the burial grounds at New Southgate Cemetery. This was similar in function to the London Necropolis railway station which was adjacent to Waterloo station in the south but was intended to be a cheaper, more affordable service. The station was at the road level, with coffins lowered by hydraulic lift to the railway level. It never made a profit and was closed in 1873 after just twelve years in operation.[16]

Restoration[edit]

Platform 6 after the refurbishment
King's Cross departures concourse in 2012

In 2005, a £500 million restoration plan was announced by Network Rail; it was approved by Camden London Borough Council on 9 November 2007.[17] The plan includes a thorough restoration and reglazing of the arched roof of the original station and the removal of the cramped and congested 1972 extension, to be replaced by an open-air plaza, scheduled for completion in 2013.[18][19]

A new semi-circular departures concourse, opened to the public on 19 March 2012,[20][21] has been built in the space directly to the west of the station behind the Great Northern Hotel, some outbuildings of which have been demolished. Designed by John McAslan and built by Vinci,[22] it is intended to cater for much-increased passenger flows and provide greater integration between the intercity, suburban and underground sections of the station, facilitating interchange between King's Cross and St Pancras. Departing passengers use the new concourse; arriving passengers initially exited the station from the old concourse on Euston Road, but now go through the new public square. The architect claims that the roof is the longest single-span station structure in Europe. The semi-circular building has a radius of 54 metres and over 2000 triangular roof panels, half of which are glass.[18]

The steel structure of the roof, engineered by Arup, has been described as being "like some kind of reverse waterfall, a white steel grid that swoops up from the ground and cascades over your head".[18]
Great Northern Hotel, 2013

The land between and behind the two stations is being redeveloped with nearly 2,000 new homes, 486,280 m2 (5,234,000 sq ft) of offices and new roads as King's Cross Central.

As part of this restoration programme, refurbished offices have opened on the east side of the station to replace the ones lost on the west side, and a new platform 0 opened underneath them on 20 May 2010. To prevent exhaust fumes from entering the ventilation system, no diesel trains are permitted to use this platform. The platform occupies the space of a former taxi rank, and was originally to be known as platform Y, but was renamed to avoid the confusion of having both lettered and numbered platforms. When the refurbishment is complete, all the platforms will be renumbered, the new one becoming platform 1.[23] Although there have been plans for a new platform for some time to increase capacity, it was the need to minimise disruption during restoration when other platforms would be temporarily out of use that led to this being built.

The restoration project was awarded a European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in 2013.[24][25]

Spelling[edit]

This sign includes an apostrophe.

King's Cross is seen spelt both with and without an apostrophe:

Services[edit]

The station serves inter city routes to the East of England, Yorkshire, North East England and eastern and northern Scotland, connecting to major cities such as Cambridge, Peterborough, Hull, Doncaster, Leeds, York, Durham, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Four companies run services into the main-line station:

Services[edit]

Four train services operate from King's Cross:

East Coast operates high speed inter-city services along the East Coast Main Line. Basic off-peak timetable includes:

First Capital Connect operates outer-suburban services to North London, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Basic off-peak timetable includes:[28]

First Hull Trains operates 7 daily inter-city services to Hull via the East Coast Main Line. Unlike the other train companies in FirstGroup, First Hull Trains operates under an open-access arrangement and is not a franchised train operating company.

Grand Central operates inter-city services to Yorkshire, County Durham and Sunderland along the East Coast Main Line and is an open-access operator. On 23 May 2010 it began services to Bradford Interchange via Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield, Pontefract and Doncaster[29] which had originally been due to begin in December 2009.[30][31]

Bus services[edit]

London bus routes 10, 17, 30, 45, 46, 59, 63, 73, 91, 205, 214, 259, 390, 476 and night routes N63, N73 and N91 pass in front of or at the side of the station.

Route[edit]

Preceding stationNational Rail National RailFollowing station
Terminus First Hull Trains
East Coast Main Line
 Stevenage
First Hull Trains
East Coast Main Line
Grantham
Terminus East Coast
London to Leeds
 Stevenage
Terminus East Coast
London to Newcastle
 Peterborough
Terminus East Coast
London to Edinburgh
 York
Terminus East Coast
London to Newark/York
 Stevenage
Terminus East Coast
London to Hull
One train a day
 Selby
Terminus Grand Central
North Eastern
 York
Grand Central
West Riding
Doncaster
Terminus First Capital Connect
Great Northern
 Finsbury Park
or
St. Neots
Terminus First Capital Connect
Cambridge Cruiser
 Cambridge
Disused railways
Finsbury Park British Rail
Eastern Region

City Widened Lines
 Farringdon
via King's Cross York Road

King's Cross St Pancras tube station[edit]

King's Cross St Pancras tube station is served by more lines than any other station on the London Underground, and is one of the busiest. It is in Travelcard Zone 1.

Major work is ongoing to link the various entrances to two new ticket halls and reduce overcrowding. Overcrowding has led to the closure of the entry and exit to the main ticket hall from inside King's Cross during weekday morning peak hours. At these times access to the tube station is via the new entrances outside King's Cross. Staff are placed at these entrances throughout the morning peak to implement crowd control and narrow or close the entrances. None of the other entrances to the tube station can be closed, being either inside St Pancras or too close to Euston Road to allow room for large crowds to wait.[citation needed]

Route[edit]

Preceding station Underground no-text.svg London Underground Following station
towards Hammersmith
Circle line
towards Edgware Road
towards Hammersmith
Hammersmith & City line
towards Barking
Metropolitan line
towards Aldgate
Northern line
towards Morden
Piccadilly line
towards Cockfosters
towards Brixton
Victoria line

In culture[edit]

Boudica and King's Cross[edit]

The area of King's Cross was previously a village known as Battle Bridge which was an ancient crossing of the River Fleet. The original name of the bridge was Broad Ford Bridge. The name "Battle Bridge" is linked to tradition that this was the site of a major battle between the Romans and the British Iceni tribe led by Boudica, Britain's Warrior Queen. Boudica's legendary fame during the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria was portrayed as her 'namesake',[32] restored a historical and cultural foundation to Britain. Boudica has since remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom. The absence of native British literature during the early part of the first millennium means that Britain's native cultural and historical knowledge of Boudica's rebellion, with anything else of pre-Roman occupation, is solely due to the deliberate erasure of indigenous culture with the subsequently revised public image transformed from the propaganda writings of Romans. With scarce historical evidence it is disputed by modern historians. However Lewis Spence's 1937 book "Boadicea – Warrior Queen of the Britons", went so far as to include a map showing the positions of the opposing armies.

According to folklore,[33] King's Cross is the site of Boudica's final battle and perhaps she is buried under one of the platforms. Platforms 8, 9 and 10 have been suggested as possible sites. There are also passages under the station that her ghost is reputed to haunt.

In fiction[edit]

The Ladykillers[edit]

The station, its surrounding streets and the railway approach feature prominently in the 1955 Ealing comedy film The Ladykillers. In the story, a gang robs a security van near the station and Mrs Wilberforce, an elderly widow in a house overlooking the railway, unwittingly assists them in moving the proceeds through the station. Members of the gang fall out with each other and one by one they all fall or are dropped into passing goods wagons.

Harry Potter[edit]

Platform 9¾ is in the western departures concourse, close to platforms 9 and 10, below the walkway leading to the main building.
Hogwarts Express
Hogsmeadefor Hogwarts
Anglo-Scottish border
King's Cross StationLondon

King's Cross features in the Harry Potter books, by J. K. Rowling, as the starting point of the Hogwarts Express to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The train uses a secret platform 9¾ accessed through the brick wall barrier between platforms 9 and 10.

Platforms 9 and 10 are in a separate building from the main station, and they are separated by two intervening tracks.[34] Rowling intended the location to be in the main part of the station, but she misremembered the platform numbering. During an interview in 2001, she indicated that she had confused King's Cross with Euston, but platforms 9 and 10 at Euston are also separated by two tracks.[35]

When the films were made, the station scenes took place within the main station, with platforms 4 and 5 renumbered 9 and 10. In the film of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the exterior of St. Pancras was used since its Victorian Gothic façade was considered more impressive than the real King's Cross.[citation needed]

When the first film was released, a large floor panel was placed on the ground outside platforms 9 and 10, indicating the Hogwarts Express. It was later removed. Within King's Cross, a cast-iron "Platform 9¾" sign was erected on the wall of the suburban station building containing the real platforms 9 and 10. Part of a luggage trolley was installed below the sign: the near end was visible, but the rest of the trolley has disappeared into the wall. It is common to see Harry Potter fans stop to photograph the trolley or try to push the trolley through the wall to the hidden platform.[citation needed] Due to problems with crowd numbers and renovation work within the station, the half trolley was moved to an exterior wall on Euston Road and in 2012, to the western departures concourse.[citation needed]

"King's Cross" is the title of Chapter 35 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is set in a dream location resembling the station. The station also features in the epilogue of the book, making it the final setting of the Harry Potter series. The real station appears in the film adaptation of both scenes.[citation needed]

Other fiction[edit]

"And what have you gained?"

"A starting-point for our investigation." He hailed a cab. "King's Cross Station," said he.
"We have a journey, then?"

"Yes; I think we must run down to Cambridge together. All the indications seem to me to point in that direction."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Out of Station Interchanges" (Microsoft Excel). Transport for London. May 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation.  Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. ^ "Stations Run by Network Rail". Network Rail. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Station Codes". National Rail. Retrieved 23 August 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Commercial information". Our Stations. London: Network Rail. April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Highbury, Upper Holloway and King's Cross, Old and New London: Volume 2 (1878), pp. 273–279. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  7. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens. p. 134. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508. 
  8. ^ Diaries of George Turnbull (Chief Engineer, East Indian Railway Company) held at the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge University, England.
  9. ^ Page 87 of George Turnbull, C.E. 437-page memoirs published privately 1893, scanned copy held in the British Library, London on compact disk since 2007.
  10. ^ King's Cross Redevelopment, First Capital Connect. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  11. ^ Johnson, Marc (12 November 2012). "King's Cross 'temporary' extension torn down after 40 years". Rail.co. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "King's Cross Square opens to the public". BBC News. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "1973: Bomb blasts rock central London". On This Day: 10 September 1973 (BBC). Retrieved 27 February 2007. 
  14. ^ "King's Cross station fire 'kills 27'". On This Day: 18 November 1987 (BBC). Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "Disused Stations: Kings Cross York Road". Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  16. ^ http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2012/03/19/the-dead-bodies-train-service-from-kings-cross/
  17. ^ "Planning Application – 2006/3387/P". London Borough of Camden. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  18. ^ a b c Long, Kieran (14 March 2012). "All change at King's Cross". London Evening Standard. p. 34. 
  19. ^ "Network Rail unveils look for King's Cross square". Rail (Peterborough). 10 August 2011. p. 14. 
  20. ^ Silvester, Katie (14 March 2012). "New concourse set to open at King's Cross". Rail Professional. 
  21. ^ "What's changing at King's Cross?". Network Rail. 2012. 
  22. ^ "London King's Cross western concourse opens". Railway Gazette International (London). 19 March 2012. 
  23. ^ Marsh, Phil (July 2010). "King's Cross Platform Zero opens". In Pigott, Nick. The Railway Magazine (London) 156 (1311): 7. ISSN 0033-8923. 
  24. ^ http://www.europanostra.org/awards/108/
  25. ^ http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-279_en.htm
  26. ^ Station information on King's Cross railway station from Network Rail
  27. ^ Badsey-Ellis, Antony (November 2008). "The Underground and the apostrophe". Underground News (London Underground Railway Society). Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  28. ^ "Latest train timetables". First Capital Connect. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  29. ^ "Grand Central launches West Riding service". Modern Railways (London). June 2010. p. 7. 
  30. ^ Drury, Colin (19 August 2009). "London rail link blow: Service will be delayed until May". Halifax Evening Courier. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  31. ^ "Next stop – Mirfield". York: Grand Central. 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  32. ^ "The Queens Before the Conquest". The Gentleman's Magazine XLII: 541. 1854. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  33. ^ Boudica and King's Cross Station, (Museum of London). Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  34. ^ "King's Cross – Station Guide". Network Rail. Retrieved 3 May 2009. 
  35. ^ "Euston – Station Guide". Network Rail. Retrieved 3 May 2009. 
  36. ^ Green Street was released as Green Street Hooligans in the US and Australia; it was called Football Hooligans or Hooligans elsewhere.
  37. ^ Friday the Thirteenth at Internet Movie Database.

External links[edit]

Video links[edit]