|Location St Pancras|
Construction started 1868
|Station code STP|
Phone +44 20 7843 7688
|Local authority |
Managed by Network Rail (High Speed) for HS1 Ltd Eurostar Network Rail (Thameslink platforms)
Owner London and Continental Railways
DfT category A (mainline platforms) C1 (Thameslink platforms)
Address Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London N1C 4QP, UK
Architectural style Gothic Revival architecture
Architects George Gilbert Scott, William Henry Barlow
Similar London King's Cross rail, St Pancras Renaissance London H, London Victoria station, Euston railway station, King's Cross St Pancras t
St Pancras railway station (/seɪnt ˈpæŋkrəs/ or /sənt ˈpæŋkrəs/), also known as London St Pancras and since 2007 as St Pancras International, is a central London railway terminus located on Euston Road in the London Borough of Camden.
- Platform layout
- Public art
- Requirement for a new station
- Design and construction
- Grouping nationalisation and privatisation
- New role
- International station opens
- Connection to Kings Cross
- Accidents and incidents
- East Midlands Trains Midland Main Line
- Southeastern High Speed 1 and Kent Coast
- Southeastern High Speed Typical Off Peak Timetable
- Olympic Javelin service
- Eurostar High Speed 1
- Deutsche Bahn
- Competition with Eurostar
- Great Northern
- Kings Cross St Pancras tube station
Widely known for its Victorian architecture, the station is a Grade I listed building and stands between the British Library, Regent's Canal and King's Cross railway station, with whom it shares a London Underground station named Kings Cross St. Pancras.
It was opened in 1868 by the Midland Railway as the southern terminus of its main line, which connected London with the East Midlands and Yorkshire. When inaugurated, the arched train shed by William Henry Barlow was the largest single-span roof in the world. Today, Midland main line services to Corby, Sheffield and Nottingham are operated by East Midlands Trains, and St Pancras is a stop on the Thameslink route as well as being the terminus of Southeastern high-speed trains to Kent.
After escaping planned demolition in the 1960s, the complex was renovated and expanded from 2001 to 2007 at a cost of £800 million, culminating in a ceremony attended by Queen Elizabeth II and extensive publicity introducing it as a public space. A security-sealed terminal area was constructed for Eurostar services to continental Europe via High Speed 1 and the Channel Tunnel, with platforms for domestic trains to the north and south-east of England. The restored station has 15 platforms, a shopping centre, and a coach facility. St Pancras is owned by London and Continental Railways (LCR) and is managed by Network Rail (High Speed), a subsidiary of Network Rail.
The station is the terminus for East Midlands Trains services from London to Derby, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, and smaller towns en route, and for Eurostar's high-speed trains to Paris, Brussels and Lille. Thameslink trains on the cross-London Thameslink route call at platforms beneath the main station, south to Gatwick Airport and Brighton and north to Luton Airport Parkway for Luton Airport and Bedford. High-speed domestic services to Kent, run by Southeastern, began in December 2009.
St Pancras is often termed the "cathedral of the railways", and includes two of the most celebrated structures built in Britain in the Victorian era. The train shed, completed in 1868 by the engineer William Henry Barlow, was the largest single-span structure built up to that time. The frontage of the station is formed by the former Midland Grand Hotel, designed by George Gilbert Scott, an example of Victorian Gothic architecture, now occupied by the five-star Renaissance London Hotel and apartments.
The terminal is one of relatively few railway stations in England to feature multilingual signage; all notices are written in English and French. Ashford International station has similar bilingual signs. Other stations with foreign-language signs include Southall, which has signs in Punjabi, Wallsend Metro station (Latin), and Moreton-in-Marsh (Japanese). In March 2014, the station's public relations team commissioned a study of mispronounced words, reportedly as a result of passengers referring to the station as "St Pancreas".
St Pancras occupies a site orientated north/south, deeper than it is wide. The south is bounded by the busy Euston Road, with the frontage provided by the former Midland Grand Hotel. Behind the hotel, the Barlow train shed is elevated 5 m (17 ft) above street level, with the area below forming the station undercroft. To the west, the original station is bounded by Midland Road with the British Library on the other side of the road. To the east, it is bounded by Pancras Road and is opposite King's Cross station. The new northern half of the station is mainly bounded to the east by Camley Street, with Camley Street Natural Park across the road. To the north-east is King's Cross Central, formerly known as the Railway Lands, a complex of intersecting railway lines crossed by several roads and the Regent's Canal.
St Pancras contains four groups of platforms on two levels, accessed via the main concourse at ground level. The below-surface group contains through platforms A and B, and the upper level has three groups of terminal platforms: domestic platforms 1–4 and 11–13 on each side of international platforms 5–10. Platforms A & B serve Thameslink, 1–4 connect to the Midland Main Line, while platforms 11–13 lead to High Speed 1; there is no connection between the two lines, except for a maintenance siding outside the station.
The longer international platforms, used by Eurostar, extend a considerable distance southwards into Barlow's train shed, whilst the other platforms terminate at the southern end of the 2005 extension. The international platforms do not occupy the full width of the Barlow train shed, and sections of the floor area have been opened up to provide natural light to the new ground-level concourse below. Eurostar's arrival and departure lounges lie below these platforms, adjacent to The Arcade, a concourse fashioned from the original station undercroft which runs along the western length of the Barlow train shed. The southern end of The Arcade links to the western ticket hall of King's Cross St Pancras tube station.
Whilst access to the East Midlands Trains platforms are via the northern end of The Arcade, the Thameslink and domestic High Speed platforms are reached through a street-level concourse which runs east to west at the point where the old and new parts of the station meet: this joins The Arcade at a right angle, forming a "T" shape. The main pedestrian entrance is at the eastern end of this concourse, where a subway enables pedestrians to reach King's Cross station and the northern ticket hall of the tube station.
There are several items of art on display to the public at St Pancras. At the south end of the upper level, a 9-metre (29.5 ft) high 20-tonne (19.7-long-ton; 22.0-short-ton) bronze statue named The Meeting Place stands beneath the station clock. Designed by British artist Paul Day, it is intended to evoke the romance of travel through the depiction of a couple locked in an amorous embrace.
Controversy was caused by Day's 2008 addition of a bronze relief frieze around the plinth. depicting a commuter falling into the path of an Underground train driven by the Grim Reaper. Day revised the frieze before the final version was installed.
On the upper level, above the Arcade concourse, stands a bronze statue of the former Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, depicted gazing in apparent wonder at the Barlow roof. Designed by British sculptor Martin Jennings, the statue commemorates the poet's successful campaign to save the station from demolition in the 1960s. The 2-metre (6 ft 7 in)-high statue stands on a flat disc of Cumbrian slate inscribed with lines from Betjeman's poem Cornish Cliffs:
And in the shadowless unclouded glare / Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where / A misty sea-line meets the wash of air.
Requirement for a new station
The station was commissioned by the Midland Railway. Before the 1860s, the company had a network of routes in the Midlands, and in south and west Yorkshire and Lancashire but no route of its own to the capital. Up to 1857 the company had no line into London, and used the lines of the London and North Western Railway for trains into the capital; after 1857 the company's Leicester and Hitchin Railway gave access to London via the Great Northern Railway.
In 1862, traffic for the second International Exhibition suffered extensive delays over the stretch of line into London over the Great Northern Railway's track; the route into London via the London and North Western was also at capacity, with coal trains causing the network at Rugby and elsewhere to reach effective gridlock. This was the stimulus for the Midland to build its own line to London from Bedford. Surveying for a 49.75-mile (80 km) long line began in October 1862.
Design and construction
The station was designed by William Henry Barlow. The approaching line to the station crossed the Regent's Canal at height allowing the line reasonable gradients; this resulted in the level of the line at St Pancras being 12 to 17 ft (3.7 to 5.2 m) above the ground level. Initial plans were for a two or three span roof with the void between station and ground level filled with spoil from tunnelling to join the Midland Main Line to the St. Pancras branch (Widened Lines). Instead, due to the value of the land in such a location the lower area was used for freight, in particular beer from Burton (see Brewers of Burton); as a result the undercroft was built with columns and girders, maximising space, set out to the same plans as those used for beer warehouses, and with a basic unit of length that of a beer barrel.
The contract for the construction of the station substructure and connecting lines was given to Messrs. Waring, with Barlow's assistant Campion as supervisor. The lower floor for beer warehousing contained interior columns 15 ft (4.57 m) wide, and 48 ft (14.63 m) deep carrying girders supporting the main station and track. The connection to the Widened Lines (St. Pancras branch) ran below the station's bottom level, in an east-to-west direction.
To avoid the foundations of the roof interfering with the space beneath, and to simplify the design, and minimise cost, it was decided to construct a single span roof, with cross ties for the arch at the station level. The arch was sprung directly from the station level, with no piers. Additional advice on the design of the roof was given to Barlow by Rowland Mason Ordish. The arches' ribs had a web depth of 6 ft (1.8 m), mostly open ironwork. The span width, from wall to wall was 245 ft 6 in (74.83 m), with a rib every 29 ft 4 in (8.94 m) The arch was a slightly pointed design, with a reduced radius of curvature at the springing points. The Butterley Company was contracted to construct the arches. The total cost of the 24 rib roof and glazing was over £53,000, of which over half was for the main ribs. The cost of the gable end was a further £8,500.
The single-span overall roof was the largest such structure in the world at the time of its completion.
The materials used were wrought iron framework of lattice design, with glass covering the middle half and timber (inside)/slate (outside) covering the outer quarters. The two end screens were glazed in a vertical rectangular grid pattern with decorative timber cladding around the edge and wrought iron finials around the outer edge. It was 689 feet (210.01 m) long, 240 feet (73.15 m) wide, and 100 feet (30.48 m) high at the apex above the tracks.
Construction of a hotel fronting the station, the Midland Grand Hotel, began in 1868; the hotel opened in 1873. The design of the hotel and station buildings was by George Gilbert Scott, winner of a competition in 1865. The building is primarily brick, but polychromatic, in a style derived from the Italian gothic, and with numerous other architectural influences. Gilbert Scott reused many of the design details from his earlier work at Kelham Hall designed in 1857 and completed in 1863, but on a much grander scale for St Pancras.
This was a period of expansion for the Midland Railway, as the major routes to Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Carlisle opened.
Grouping, nationalisation and privatisation
The 20th century did not treat St Pancras station well. The Railways Act of 1921 forced the merger of the Midland with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), and the LMS adopted the LNWR's (the "Premier Line") Euston station as its principal London terminus. The Midland Grand Hotel was closed in 1935, and the building was subsequently used as offices for British Railways. During the Second World War, bombing inflicted damage on the train shed, which was only partially reglazed after the war. In 1947 the St. Pancras junction was relaid with prefabricated trackwork, along with associated changes to the signalling system. On 6 October 1957 three signal boxes were replaced by a power box controlling 23 colour-light signals and 33 points.
On the creation of British Railways in 1948, the previous services continued to run. Destinations included the London area services to North Woolwich, St Albans and Bedford. Long-distance trains reached Glasgow, Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester, with famous named trains including:
From 1960 to 1966, electrification work on the West Coast Main Line between London and Manchester saw a new Midland Pullman from Manchester to St Pancras. These trains and those to Glasgow were withdrawn following the completion of the rebuilding of Euston and the consolidation of these services.
By the 1960s, St Pancras had come to be seen as redundant, and several attempts were made to close it and demolish the hotel (by then known as St Pancras Chambers). These attempts provoked strong and successful opposition, with the campaign led by the later Poet Laureate, John Betjeman. Jane Hughes Fawcett with the Victorian Society was instrumental in its preservation, and was dubbed "the furious Mrs. Fawcett" by British rail officials. In the 1970s, the trainshed roof was in danger of collapse, and the newly appointed Director of Environment Bernard Kaukas persuaded the company to invest £3m to save it.
After the sectorisation of British Rail in 1986, main-line services to the East Midlands were provided by the InterCity sector, with suburban services to St Albans, Luton and Bedford by Network SouthEast. In 1988 the Snow Hill tunnel re-opened resulting in the creation of the Thameslink route and the resultant diversion of the majority of suburban trains to the new route. The station continued to be served by trains running on the Midland main line to Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, together with a few suburban services to Bedford and Luton. These constituted only a few trains an hour and left the station underused.
Following the privatisation of British Rail, the long-distance services from St Pancras were franchised to Midland Mainline, a train operating company owned by the National Express Group, starting on 28 April 1996. The few remaining suburban trains still operating into St Pancras were operated by the Thameslink train operating company, owned by Govia, from 2 March 1997.
A handful of trains to and from Leeds were introduced, mainly because the High Speed Train sets were maintained there and were already running empty north of Sheffield. During the 2000s major rebuild of the West Coast Main Line, St Pancras again temporarily hosted direct and regular inter-city trains to Manchester, this time via the Hope Valley route (via the Dore South curve) under the title of Project Rio.
The original plan for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) involved a tunnel from south-east of London to an underground terminus in the vicinity of Kings Cross station. However, a late change of plan, principally driven by the then Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Heseltine's desire for urban regeneration in east London, led to a change of route, with the new line approaching London from the east. This opened the possibility of reusing St Pancras as the terminus, with access via the North London Line, which crosses the throat of the station.
The idea of using the North London line was rejected in 1994 by the transport secretary, John MacGregor, as "difficult to construct and environmentally damaging". However, the idea of using St Pancras station as the terminus was retained, albeit now linked by 12.4 miles (20 km) of new tunnels to Dagenham via Stratford.
London and Continental Railways (LCR), created at the time of British Rail privatisation, was selected by the government in 1996 to reconstruct St Pancras, build the CTRL, and take over the British share of the Eurostar operation. LCR had owned St Pancras station since privatisation to allow the station to be redeveloped. Financial difficulties in 1998, and the collapse of Railtrack in 2001, caused some revision of this plan, but LCR retained ownership of the station.
The design and project management of reconstruction was undertaken on behalf of LCR by Rail Link Engineering (RLE), a consortium of Bechtel, Arup, Systra and Halcrow. The original reference design for the station was by Nick Derbyshire, former head of British Rail's in-house architecture team. The master plan of the complex was by Foster and Partners, and the lead architect of the reconstruction was Alistair Lansley, a former colleague of Nick Derbyshire recruited by RLE.
To accommodate 300-metre+ Eurostar trains, and to provide capacity for the existing trains to the Midlands and the new Kent services on the high-speed rail link, the train shed was extended a considerable distance northwards by a new flat-roofed shed. The station was initially planned to have 13 platforms under this extended train shed. East Midlands services would use the western platforms, Eurostar services the middle platforms, and Kent services the eastern platforms. The Eurostar platforms and one of the Midland platforms would extend back into the Barlow train shed. Access to Eurostar for departing passengers would be via a departure suite on the west of the station, and then to the platforms by a bridge above the tracks within the historic train shed. Arriving Eurostar passengers would leave the station by a new concourse at its north end.
This original design was later modified, with access to the Eurostar platforms from below, using the station undercroft and allowing the deletion of the visually intrusive bridge. By dropping the extension of any of the Midland platforms into the train shed, space was freed up to allow wells to be constructed in the station floor, which provided daylight and access to the undercroft.
The reconstruction of the station was recorded in the BBC Television documentary series The Eight Hundred Million Pound Railway Station broadcast as six 30-minute episodes between 13‒28 November 2007.
Shortly before the station rebuild commenced, the overhead wiring used by the electric suburban trains was removed. As a consequence, all suburban trains from Bedford and Luton were diverted to King's Cross Thameslink and beyond, and Thameslink ceased to serve St Pancras for a period.
By early 2004, the eastern side of the extended train shed was complete, and the Barlow train shed was closed to trains. From 12 April 2004, Midland Mainline trains terminated at an interim station occupying the eastern part of the extension immediately adjacent to the entrance.
As part of the construction of the western side of the new train shed that now began, an underground "box" was constructed to house new platforms for Thameslink, which at this point ran partially under the extended station. In order for this to happen, the existing Thameslink tunnels between Kentish Town and King's Cross Thameslink were closed between 11 September 2004 and 15 May 2005 while the works were carried out. Thameslink services from the north terminated in the same platforms as the Midland Main Line trains, while services from the south terminated at King's Cross Thameslink.
After the blockade of the route was over, the new station box was still only a bare concrete shell and could not take passengers. Thameslink trains reverted to their previous route but ran through the station box without stopping. The budget for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link works did not include work on the fitting out of the station, as these works had originally been part of the separate Thameslink 2000 works programme. Despite lobbying by rail operators who wished to see the station open at the same time as St Pancras International, the Government failed to provide additional funding to allow the fit out works to be completed immediately following the line blockade. Eventually, on 8 February 2006, Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Transport, announced £50 million funding for the fit-out of the station, plus another £10–15 million for the installation of associated signalling and other lineside works.
The fit-out works were designed by Chapman Taylor and Arup (Eurostar) and completed by ISG Interior Plc Contractors collaborating with Bechtel as Project Managers. The client was London and Continental Railways who were advised by Hitachi Consulting
In 2005, planning consent was granted for a refurbishment of the former Midland Grand Hotel building, with plans to refurbish and extend it as a hotel and apartment block. The newly refurbished hotel opened to guests on 21 March 2011 with a grand opening ceremony on 5 May, exactly 138 years after its original opening.
By the middle of 2006, the western side of the train shed extension was completed, and on 14 July 2006 Midland Mainline trains moved from their interim home on the east side to the west side of the station.
The rebuilding cost was in the region of £800 million, up from an initial estimate of £310 million.
International station opens
In early November 2007, Eurostar conducted a testing programme in which some 6000 members of the public were involved in passenger check-in, immigration control and departure trials, during which the "passengers" each made three return journeys out of St Pancras to the entrance to the London tunnel. On 4 September 2007, the first test train ran from Paris Gare du Nord to St Pancras. Children's illustrator Quentin Blake was commissioned to provide a huge mural of an "imaginary welcoming committee" as a disguise for one of the remaining ramshackle Stanley Building South immediately opposite the station exit.
St Pancras was officially re-opened as St Pancras International and the High Speed 1 service was launched on 6 November 2007 by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
During an elaborate opening ceremony, actor Timothy West, as Henry Barlow, addressed the audience, which was also entertained by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the singers Lemar and Katherine Jenkins. In a carefully staged set piece, the first Class 395 train and two Eurostar trains arrived through a cloud of dry ice in adjacent platforms within seconds of each other. During the ceremony, Paul Day's large bronze statue The Meeting Place was also unveiled. At a much smaller ceremony on 12 November 2007, the bronze statue of John Betjeman by sculptor Martin Jennings was unveiled by Betjeman's daughter, the author Candida Lycett Green. Public service by Eurostar train via High Speed 1 started on 14 November 2007. In a small ceremony, station staff cut a ribbon leading to the Eurostar platforms. In the same month, services to the East Midlands were transferred to a new franchisee, East Midlands Trains.
The low-level Thameslink platforms opened on 9 December 2007, replacing King's Cross Thameslink.
Connection to King's Cross
A pedestrian subway was built during the station extension. It runs under Pancras Road from the eastern entrance of the domestic concourse to the new northern ticket hall of King's Cross St Pancras tube station (opened November 2009) and the new concourse for King's Cross railway station (opened March 2012).
The St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel occupies parts of the original Midland Grand Hotel, including the main public rooms, together with a new bedroom wing on the western side of the Barlow train shed. The upper levels of the original building have been redeveloped as apartments by the Manhattan Loft Corporation. The hotel held its grand opening on 5 May 2011, exactly 138 years after its original opening in 1873.
Accidents and incidents
East Midlands Trains (Midland Main Line)
Since 11 November 2007, platforms 1–4 have been the southern terminus for Midland Main Line trains operated by East Midlands Trains to/from the East Midlands and Yorkshire, including Leicester, Corby, Nottingham, Kettering, Derby and Sheffield. Occasional trains also run to Melton Mowbray, Lincoln, Leeds, York and Scarborough.
As of February 2012, the Monday-Saturday off-peak timetable has five services per hour: three fast and two semi-fast.
On 9 December 2007, as part of the Thameslink Programme, St Pancras International gained platforms on the Thameslink route operated by Thameslink, replacing King's Cross Thameslink to the south-east. In line with the former station, the Thameslink platforms are designated A and B. The new platforms have met with some criticism for the length of the walking route to the underground as compared with King's Cross Thameslink. The Thameslink Programme involves the introduction of 12-car trains across the enlarged Thameslink network. As extending the platforms at King's Cross Thameslink was thought to be impractical (requiring alterations to Clerkenwell No 3 tunnel and the Circle/Hammersmith & City/Metropolitan Underground lines, which would be extremely disruptive and prohibitively expensive), it was decided to build new Thameslink platforms under St Pancras.
The Thameslink platforms serve trains to Bedford, Luton and St Albans City in the north, and Wimbledon, Sutton, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Brighton in the south. The Thameslink Programme will enlarge the Thameslink network more than threefold, from 50 to 172 stations, using a newly-built junction immediately north of the station to connect into the East Coast Main Line just south of Finsbury Park.
Southeastern (High Speed 1 and Kent Coast)
Southeastern runs high-speed Class 395 trains on High Speed 1 to Kent and the South East, to Faversham, Margate, Ramsgate, Canterbury West, Dover Priory, Folkestone Central, Ashford, Ebbsfleet International and other destinations in Kent.
The first domestic service carrying passengers over High Speed 1 ran on 12 December 2008, to mark one year before regular services were due to begin. This special service, carrying various dignitaries, ran from Ashford International to St Pancras. Starting in June 2009, Southeastern provided a preview service between London St Pancras and Ebbsfleet, extending to Ashford International during peak hours. On 7 September 2009 Southeastern extended the peak-time services to Dover and Ramsgate. On 21 November 2009, the preview service was introduced to Faversham. The full service began on 13 December 2009.
Southeastern High Speed Typical Off-Peak Timetable
Olympic Javelin service
During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, St Pancras was the Central London terminus of the Olympic Javelin service, a seven-minute shuttle between Central London and Stratford International station for the London Olympic Park.
Eurostar (High Speed 1)
The full Eurostar timetable from St Pancras came into operation on 9 December 2007, with 17 pairs of trains to and from Paris Gare du Nord every day, 10 pairs of trains to and from Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid for the European Union administrative center, and one train to and from Marne-la-Vallée for Disneyland Paris. Extra services run to Paris on Fridays and Sundays, with a reduced service to Brussels at weekends. Additional weekend leisure-oriented trains run to the French Alps during the skiing season, and to Avignon in the summer.
Trains observe a mixture of calls at four intermediate stations (Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Calais-Fréthun and Lille-Europe), with some running non-stop. Non-stop trains take 2 hours 15 minutes to Paris, and just under 1 hour 50 minutes to Brussels, other trains taking 5 or 10 minutes longer depending on whether they make one or two stops. Despite its name, international services do not call at Stratford International.
In 2010, Deutsche Bahn (DB), the German railway operator, ran a trial ICE3 train to St Pancras International. A full service to Amsterdam and Frankfurt was planned for 2013, subsequently delayed to 2016 and is unlikely to be in service until 2018 or 2020.
Competition with Eurostar
In January 2010, the European railway network was opened to liberalisation to allow greater competition. Both Air France-KLM and Deutsche Bahn expressed interest in taking advantage of the new laws to run new services via High Speed 1 to St Pancras.
In December 2009, Deutsche Bahn received permission to run trains through the Channel Tunnel after safety requirements were relaxed. It had previously expressed a desire to run through trains between London and Germany. Direct trains between St Pancras and Cologne could have started before the 2012 Olympics, with plans to run a regular service of three daily trains each direction to Frankfurt, Rotterdam and Amsterdam via Brussels in 2013. Deutsche Bahn trains would be made up of two coupled sets between London and Brussels, dividing at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid. DB showcased an ICE 3 trainset in St Pancras on 19 October 2010. The start date for these services is not expected before 2018.
In February 2010, the idea of a Transmanche Metro service gained support as local councillors in Kent and Pas-de-Calais announced that they were in talks to establish a high-frequency stopping service between London and Lille. Trains would start at Lille Europe and call at Calais, Ashford International and Stratford International before reaching St Pancras. Since High Speed 1 opened, Ashford and Calais have an infrequent service and Eurostar trains do not call at Stratford International. It was hoped the service would be running by 2012 in time for the London Olympics.
From December 2018, as part of the Thameslink Programme, services from the East Coast Main Line/Great Northern Route, also part of the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise, will be linked to the Thameslink route, diverting trains previously terminating at Kings Cross into the Thameslink platforms at St Pancras and then through central London to Sussex and Kent. This link was made possible by the construction of two tunnels named the canal tunnels. These are about 100 metres north of the Thameslink platforms, and they will join the ECML where the North London Line and HS1 go over the top.
On 21 March 2012 a SNCF TGV La Poste trainset was displayed at St Pancras. However, regular services proposed for 2017 would use a new terminal planned near Barking.
King's Cross St Pancras tube station
King's Cross St Pancras tube station serves both King's Cross and St Pancras main-line stations. It is in Travelcard Zone 1.
Major work at King's Cross St. Pancras tube station to link the various station entrances to two new ticket halls for London Underground and reduce overcrowding was completed during 2010 and these are now in use.