Published 1st February 2013
The final stage in the transformation of King’s Cross station is underway as the southern concourse and canopy is torn down to make way for an open public spaced called King’s Cross Square.
The canopy was built in the 1970s as a temporary structure, which meant that planning permission had to be renewed every year. However in later years it began to look very tired and so it was decided to demolish the structure after the new western concourse opened in March 2012.
Once removed it will reveal Lewis Cubitt’s Grade I listed Victorian station façade leading out onto a 7,000 square-metre public space. work is due to be finished in autumn 2013.
“We’re finally removing a building that’s almost universally unloved, restoring the station to its full architectural glory and creating a modern station fit for the future,” said Matt Tolan, Network Rail’s programme manager at King’s Cross. “We aim to bring a bit of the grandness and old-world charm of Europe’s city-centre railway stations right to the heart of 21st century London.”
The final phase of works follows the opening of the glass and steel western concourse last year, which provides three-times more space for passengers than the old concourse. It also provides improved links to both the London Underground network and St Pancras International station.
King’s Cross modernisation work started in 2007 since when Network Rail has added a new platform, built the western concourse, restored the Eastern Range offices, and replaced the historic Handyside footbridge with an accessible footbridge.
The redevelopment has also been a catalyst for one of the largest regeneration schemes in Europe, with 67 acres of surrounding brownfield land being redeveloped to create eight million square-feet of offices, retail and housing. In 2011 Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design moved into renovated railway buildings to the north of the station.
While construction of the new King’s Cross Square takes place, passengers arriving at King’s Cross station will need to exit the station either left onto York Way, right into the Underground or through the western concourse. When construction is complete, passengers will enter the station via the western concourse and exit from the front onto King’s Cross Square.
King’s Cross station caters for more than 45 million passengers a year and serves destinations including Cambridge, Peterborough, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
The neighbouring St. Pancras International serves destinations as far apart as Paris, Brighton, Ashford, Lincoln, Leeds and Scarborough and the two stations combined are thought to be Europe’s largest transport interchange when the Underground services are included.