GALLERY: An exclusive look at the King’s Cross redevelopment
King’s Cross train station is undergoing a �500m redevelopment, due to open to the public in spring 2012. Comet reporter Laura Burge went on an exclusive press tour to see what Comet country commuters can expect when it’s finished.
THERE are 1.9m annual journeys made from Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth stations to London King’s Cross each year. And commuters on these trains are probably used to the familiar scenes at the moment of scaffolding, a packed out concourse and general confusion.
Those travelling on the Peterborough and Cambridge trains - which stop at these three stations - will also be all too aware of the mad rush to get to the faraway platforms 9, 10 and 11.
But after going on a tour of the �500m redevelopment - donning fluorescent orange building attire - I think it’s fair to say that all of this will be totally worth it once the project is completed.
Gone will be the dash through what looks like a building site and being squashed in with hundreds of other people.
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Instead, there will be a new - and much larger - passenger concourse which also links platforms 9,10 and 11, a multitude of shops and restaurants, upgraded platforms, easier access to the underground, and bridge access to the platforms.
There will also be a clear laminated roof and solar panels, as opposed to the yellowing fibreglass currently in place, the reopening and refurbishment of the old booking hall which shut in the 1970s and a new first class lounge.
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What may also excite commuters - it was certainly one of my favourite plans anyway - is the imminent introduction of a two-storey station pub, conveniently near the Comet country trains.
And while I was disappointed that there were no operational beer pumps yet, Network Rail has some prospective tenants in place. Personally, I’m backing the one that suggested a micro brewery on site.
Programme director assistant Tom Fernley said: “We are really delighted about [these plans] and it will make the lives of our passengers so much easier.
“The aim is to give passengers the full experience. They can sit in a restaurant and have a cup of tea with their newspaper, or have a look in the shops while waiting for their train.
“Platforms 9, 10 and 11 will open out into the new concourse, which is pretty good news for those travelling on First Capital Connect.”
With around 500 people working on the construction of the site alone, the new look station is well on course to open on time, before the London Olympics.
And hopefully, it will give make the lives of Comet country - and other - travellers a whole lot easier and satisfying.