A NEW concourse at one of the UK’s best-known railway stations will be officially opened tonight.
The £550 million work at King’s Cross in London represents the biggest transformation in its 160-year history.
The shell-shaped glass and steel building will open to the public from Monday and will provide three times the space of the current station concourse.
There will be better facilities, new links with the Tube, better links to St Pancras station, more shops and restaurants, larger destination boards and clearer station announcements.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Network Rail (NR) chief executive Sir David Higgins will be among those at tonight’s opening ceremony.
From Monday, passengers leaving on trains from King’s Cross will need to enter the station from the new building on the western side of the Grade I listed station.
There are entrances to the concourse direct from the Tube and for pedestrians from Euston Road, Pancras Road and via new arcades on the ground floor of the Great Northern Hotel.
The existing 1970s building in Euston Road which currently serves both arriving and departing passengers will cater only for arrivals until its demolition begins after the London Paralympic Games. The area will have been transformed into a new public open space by September 2013.
Ian Fry, NR’s programme director for the new station, said: “I’m sure that regular users of the current station will be very pleased with the new concourse when it opens.”
Ms Greening said: “For rail passengers arriving from the north of England and now Europe, the King’s Cross area is their first glimpse of the capital. The new ticket concourse is a wonderful addition to the station that completes the area’s transformation.
“Rail travel continues to grow in popularity, so it’s vital we rise to this challenge passengers have set us and continue to invest in major infrastructure improvements like the King’s Cross concourse.”