FEARS OF a crowd crush on escalators at London's King's Cross station have increased the risk of rush hour closures over the next 35 weeks, London Underground has said.
The station will have to cope with an extra 14,000 passengers on weekday mornings as a result of a blockade on the Thameslink line which passes through it.
This is because Thameslink trains will terminate at St Pancras station next to Kings Cross, instead of passing through.
As a result many passengers heading for the City and south London will have to switch to the Underground.
'Usually at the morning peak between 7am and 10am, 35,000 passengers use the tube ticket hall, ' said London Underground project sponsor for the Kings' Cross redevelopment, Mike Crabtree.
'This will rise to 49,000 passengers during the blockade, which is the capacity of some of the escalators.'
'There will be times when we have to close the station until we disperse people, if the escalators are too busy, ' he said.
The Thameslink blockade starts on 11 September. It involves building a new station box to replace the existing King's Cross Thameslink station.
lThe Royal National Institute for the Blind said this week that it expected a decision within weeks from the government on the future of the £250M northern ticket hall at King's Cross.
The organisation has been campaigning for the project to go ahead after rising construction costs forced the Department for Transport to put it on hold (NCE 4 March).