Network Rail’s redevelopment of King’s Cross station reached another crucial milestone today with the official opening of Platform 0 by transport secretary Philip Hammond.
The addition of the new platform means Network Rail can begin refurbishing the station’s existing platforms, which will be taken out of service on a rolling basis, without affecting services.
Built on what was for many years a taxi rank at the eastern side of the station, Platform 0 will provide greater capacity for passengers and trains at King’s Cross once the station redevelopment is complete.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: “This new platform is just one part of a project that will transform this station, benefiting the thousands of passengers who use it each day. King’s Cross is one of our key railway hubs and it’s vital it works better, looks better and leaves a good impression on the people who pass through it – including those anticipated during the 2012 Olympics.”
“The new platform will allow even more trains to run, provide more space and means we can keep train services fully operational throughout the redevelopment.”
Ian Fry, Network Rail
King’s Cross programme director for Network Rail Ian Fry said: “King’s Cross is being transformed into a world class transport hub which can meet future demand and offer the best facilities for passengers. The new platform will allow even more trains to run, provide more space and means we can keep train services fully operational throughout the redevelopment.”
East Coast chairman and Directly Operated Railways chief executive Elaine Holt said: “We are delighted to mark the opening of Platform 0 today with the departure of the first East Coast train from this new part of the station. The new platform will help us to continue to run services normally during the redevelopment of the station which, when complete, will provide customers with extra trains, better connections and a more pleasant travelling experience.”
Train operator First Capital Connect managing director Neal Lawson said: “This new platform is a crucial step in the redevelopment of King’s Cross station that means we can run all our normal services during the building work and, by the time of the Olympics, have more platform space for extra services in the future. That can only be good news for our customers.”
With passenger numbers at King’s Cross expected to rise to over 50M a year within a decade – and not forgetting the additional influx of visitors for the 2012 Olympic Games – the extra capacity provided by the new platform will help the station meet growing passenger demand.
The most significant part of the redevelopment is the new western concourse, due for completion in time for the Olympics, which will be three times the size of the current single-storey concourse. Passengers will benefit from more shops and restaurants, better seating areas to use while waiting for trains and improved links to St Pancras International and the Underground.
After the Olympics the current concourse will be demolished, allowing Network Rail to restore the grade 1 listed station façade to its former glory and create a stunning open piazza larger than Leicester Square at the front of the station. Leading London architects Stanton Williams were recently appointed by Network Rail to work with them on the design of the new public square.