Kings Cross Station is one of the busiest stations in the UK. Known as the Gateway to the North, it was opened in 1852 and is situated within the London Borough of Camden.
Here, we’ll look at the history of this popular station and how it overcame troubles in the 20th century.
Where it all began
The Great Northern Railway opened Kings Cross station in 1852. It was placed in the northernmost part of Central London to provide a service across the east coast. However, two years prior to its opening, a temporary wooden terminus was established at Maiden Lane.
The station was initially planned by George Turnbull in 1848. He engineered the first 20 miles of its construction. It was then taken over by architect Lewis Cubitt.
At the time, the station roof was the largest in the UK. Cubitt is reported to have got inspiration for its design from the Moscow riding school of the Czars.
When the station first started, it had just two platforms for passengers. Its other six platforms were used for the movement of carriages and locomotives, alongside storage.
How it dealt with increased demand in the 19th century
In the 19th century, the station experienced a significant increase in demand. This was largely due to the number of new businesses being developed in the area. The Coke company and Imperial Gas Light were just two that brought opportunities into the city. There were also other industrial businesses opening up in and around the area.
To accommodate for the additional demand, all of the platforms in the station were utilised for passengers. To the west of the station, an extra three platforms were constructed for suburban passengers.
As well as having to increase capacity at the station, work was also needed to address other issues caused by demand. More lines and tunnels were constructed in the approach to the station to enhance the flow and improve conditions for drivers.
The station today
Today, Kings Cross station is one of the busiest in the UK. Statistics show that in 2017, there were approximately 149,000 people entering the station on any given day.
Since 2001, the station has been given £2.5 billion in investments. A new St Pancras International terminus opened in 2007, helping to boost the local economy. Then, in 2010 a new platform was opened on the eastern part of the station. This helped to provide additional capacity.
Its original Victorian style entrance was restored in 2013 and new 300 metres of passageways were built to make it easier to change between lines. Brand new escalators and ticket halls were also introduced, giving the station an impressive, convenient design.
The station is easily reachable, even for passengers in the north of the UK. You can even get trains to Kings Cross from as far as Edinburgh, Scotland.
As you can see, Kings Cross station has an interesting history. It can be viewed as one of the most successful engineering projects in the sector. While it faced challenges over the years, high levels of investment have helped to make the station one of the most popular and busiest stations today.