The much vaunted Network Rail £500m new western concourse at Kings Cross which virtually links the station with St. Pancras, is nearing completion and looks stunning.
Christmas offered a special present to all involved in the project to construct the new Western Concourse at Kings Cross. This is the most visible and largest new feature of the £500m improvement scheme at the station which will enable the predicted increase in passenger numbers to be accommodated.
The work commenced in 2009 and the workforce numbered over 1100 at its height. Once complete in April, and the Olympics have taken place, the early 1970s concourse at the front of the station will be removed.
This was added 40 years ago as a medium term facility rather than intended to last 40 years and planning consent for it was extended. Once removed, the vacant space will then become an open square or piazza for people to relax in while the main passenger area will become alongside the western wall of the trainshed facing St. Pancras.
This in turn next year, will give back the view of the Grade 1 listed station frontage as built around 160 years ago. The new concourse will now be fitted out and made ready for passengers but a sign of progress is the train information board is already switched on. The concourse, three times the size of the existing one, also has a mezzanine area for shops providing a vast improvement for passengers.
Other improvements for passengers are lifts and escalators which have been installed on all platforms linked by a new cross station bridge which also provides a link with the new western concourse. The underground station has a new entrance/exit and all the new facilities have been designed to help passenger flows around the station removing conflicts as there are now.
The work has used five million metres of cables, five million ceramic tiles, 1,000 tons of steel, 9,000 square metres of granite floor tiles and 500 lights. The concourse could be used by 50 million passengers a year, an increase of 10 million over the current usage.