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Shutdown fears led to King's Cross green light

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FEARS THAT King's Cross railway station would face rush hour closures by 2011 forced the government to reinstate expansion of its Underground ticket hall, ministers said last week.

Congestion at King's Cross resulting from overcrowding of the Underground would have forced Network Rail to shut down the railway station on safety grounds, says a report by government appointed consultants.

The government recently reinstated construction of the northern ticket hall at King's Cross after work was suspended because of spiralling costs (NCE 5 February 2004).

A report by consultant Mott Parsons Gibb, made public last week, also revealed that shelving the ticket hall could have disrupted scheduled maintenance work at the Underground station.

This could have triggered compensation claims from contractor Metronet and from London Underground.

Phase 2 is now expected to be complete by 2009, providing enough passenger capacity until after 2020. Work is expected to restart later this year.

The Mott Parsons Gibb report also reveals that lack of consultation between the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, London Underground and Network Rail had led to ineffi ciencies in the original construction programme.

These included building an escalator which would have undermined the foundations of a Grade 1 listed building.

A DfT spokesman said that the Department was approving integrated strategies from LUL and Network Rail to iron out conflicts and to reduce costs.

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