Everyone’s seen that airy glass box at the back of St Pancras, right? The efficient but soulless terminus for Midland Mainline trains. Well, you may have noticed that it contains a set of cordoned-off escalators that never open. Where do they go? To borrow from Bill Murray in Ghostbusters: they go down.
Down into an eerie concrete box beneath St Pancras. Down into a recently built chamber intended as a future stop for Thameslink trains. However, with the increasingly laughable Thameslink2000 project still languishing in inertia, fears were growing that London had just built its first 21st Century ghost station.
But no. A £63 million cash injection from the government appears to have saved the day. If everything goes according to plan (ha!), the new station will be up and running by the end of 2007. The godawful Kings Cross Thameslink on Pentonville Road, whose only cheery feature is that delightful SMILE connecting tunnel, will close as a result.
Looks like the magic word ‘Olympics’ opened a few doors at the treasury. The new station will have direct access to the (currently foetal) St Pancras International as well as the (currently gametic) Olympic Javelin trains to Stratford.
Work will begin this summer to transform the empty box into something with all the goodness a growing station needs, such as platforms, snack machines and yellow lines.