King’s Cross St. Pancras is a tube station in the London Borough of Camden, on the London Underground network, serving both King’s Cross and St Pancras main line stations. It is in Travelcard Zone 1.
King”s Cross St. Pancras is the biggest interchange station on the London Underground, with six lines on four pairs of tracks:
- On the Hammersmith & City / Circle / Metropolitan lines, between Euston Square (to the west) and Farringdon (east). The three lines share common tracks in this area.
- On the Northern line it is on the Bank branch, between Euston (to the north) and Angel (south).
- On the Piccadilly line it is between Russell Square (to the south-west) and Caledonian Road (north-east).
- On the Victoria line it is between Euston (to the south) and Highbury & Islington (north).
The underground part of the station underwent extensive remodelling works to increase throughflow of passengers resulting from the opening of High Speed 1. The ticket offices in the main ticket hall were closed for a long period until May 2006. The expanded station will have four ticket halls, with the fourth expected to be completed in 2009.
- The main existing ticket hall (sometimes referred to as the “Tube Ticket Hall”) in front of King’s Cross station: this has been expanded and refurbished.
- The Pentonville Road ticket hall: this used to be the ticket hall to King’s Cross Thameslink station and had underground passageway connections to the tube station. It was taken over by London Underground when the Thameslink platforms closed. It is not open at weekends.
- The Western Ticket Hall (Phase 1): this is under the forecourt of St Pancras station, adjacent to Euston Road. It provides access to St Pancras Station via the new passenger facilities which are being created in St Pancras’s undercroft. The Ticket Hall, which was built by a Costain / Taylor Woodrow Construction joint venture, opened on 28 May 2006.
- The Northern Ticket Hall (Phase 2): this will be west of King’s Cross station, underneath its new main concourse. Both of these projects are due to be completed by 2009, which is two years later than the rest of the work. This hall will be convenient for the proposed King’s Cross Central development.
The first underground station at King’s Cross opened as part of the original section of the Metropolitan Railway in 1863, and was rearranged in 1868 and 1926. New platforms for the sub-surface lines of the Underground were opened about 400 m (440 yd) to the west in 1941 to make interchanging between the sub-surface lines and the deep tube lines easier; part of what remains of the old station is located at the former King’s Cross Thameslink station, which has been wholly disused since 9 December 2007 when the Thameslink service moved to St Pancras International. One of the long-disused original platforms may be seen from Underground trains travelling between the present station and Farringdon.
The Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway (GNP&BR, now part of the Piccadilly line) platforms opened with the rest of the line in December 1906, while the City & South London Railway (C&SLR, now part of the Northern line) arrived in May 1907. The Victoria line platforms came into use on 1 December 1968 with the opening of the second phase of the line. The Victoria line escalators cut through the location of the original Piccadilly line lifts.
On 18 November 1987 the station was the scene of the devastating King’s Cross fire. The cause was attributed to a lighted match falling into, and setting fire to, an escalator machine room, combined with a then-unknown fire phenomenon known as the Trench effect, which caused the fire to suddenly and violently explode into the station, killing thirty-one people. As a result, fire safety procedures on the Underground were tightened, staff training was improved and escalators with wooden steps were replaced. The existing prohibition of smoking throughout the London Underground network was tightened as a result. Due to the extensive damage caused by the fire, it took over a year to repair and reopen the station; the deep line platforms and ticket hall remained closed until 5 March 1989.
On 7 July 2005, in part of a co-ordinated bomb attack, an explosion in a Piccadilly line train travelling between King”s Cross St Pancras and Russell Square resulted in the deaths of at least 26 people.
Past and Future Lines
Between 1906-1932, Piccadilly line trains would call at York Road as the next stop when travelling to, or from, stations north of King’s Cross. Since its closure in 1932 (since 1918 on weekends), tube trains now continue directly to Caledonian Road, passing through the closed York Road platforms without stopping. The York Road surface building remains, standing approximately 600 m (660 yd) to the north of Kings Cross building; this short distance having contributed to York Road’s low patronage and closure.
Since 1991, a route for a potential Crossrail 2 has been safeguarded, including a connection at King’s Cross St. Pancras. Such a proposed scheme would offer a second direct rail connection between King”s Cross and Victoria in addition to the existing Victoria line. The locations for any new stations on the route will depend on the loading gauge of the final scheme. In the 2007 safeguarded route, the next stations would be Tottenham Court Road and Angel.