The Anonymous Widower

A Fur Coat And No Knickers Station

St. Pancras stayion is not my favourite.

My hate affair with the station started when I wrote Could St. Pancras Thameslink Station Have Had An Island Platform?, where I first called the dreadful concoction a fur coat and no knickers station. I said this.

St. Pancras is very much a fur coat and no knickers station!

Show on top and draughty and lacking at the bottom!

I don’t take back one word of what I said.

The station is the interchange between the following lines.

  • Metropolitan and Circle Lines of the Underground
  • Midland Main Line to Corby, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield.
  • Piccadilly Line of the Underground
  • South-Eastern Highspeed services to Kent.
  • Thameslink between Bedford and Brighton
  • Victoria Line of the Underground.

So to say the least it’s complicated.

Problems For Train Operators

The three main operators of the services in the above ground station, must despair at how few platforms, they have been allocated.

If you catch a Midland Main Line train to Nottingham say, you often have to walk to the second train in the platform. If they had a couple more platforms, then this walk would be avoided and extra services like a Luton Airport Express, that I wrote about in Luton Trains Its Eye On Sub 30-Minute Express, would become possible.

It’s the same with Douth-Eastern Highspeed services on the other side of the station.

Eurostar is perhaps better. But, if other operators wanted to run services, is there the space to accommodate their trains and the services they require?

Endless Walking For Passengers

Problems for passengers are very much concerned with the difficulty of changing between the various lines at the station.

I’ll give exchanging between the Victoria Line and Thameslink as an example.

It’s a very long walk down a tunnel to get from the Victoria Line to St. Pancras station and then you have to descend into Thameslink.

I wonder how many trains out of St. Pancras are missed because first-time passengers, assume that the time they’d habitually allow at Waterloo, London Bridge or Euston, is totally inadequate?

Thameslink Is Not An Island Platform

Thameslink needs this so that passengers on the Bedford branch can easily walk across the platform to get the Cambridge/Peterborough branch.

But it’s all too late now to do something.

Crossrail 2

How do you fit Crossrail 2 into this mess?

What Would I Do?

I would ask a friendly earthquake to completely destroy the complex, so it is rebuilt as a properly functioning station.

My serious ideas follow.

Short Term Improvements To St. Pancras

These would mainly be concerned with handling passengers.

  • Thameslink needs a link at the Southern end of the platforms to the Metropolitan Line Ticket Hall.
  • The Metropolitan Line Ticket Hall is decluttered and just serves as an interchange between lines.
  • Eurostar needs to educate its passengers, so they use contactless bank card ticketing or Oyster.
  • Perhaps Eurostar stewards, should sell a suitably-valued Oyster on board.
  • Less shopping and more ticket machines and staff to handle passengers from and to Eurostar.
  • More escalators are needed to the Midland Main Line platforms.

I suspect all operators have their own pet projects.

A Luton/Gatwick Express

Four Thameslink trains an hour between Gatwick and Luton Airports could be dedicated as Luton/Gatwick Expresses.

  • Paint them red, so passengers don’t end up in Peterborough instead of Luton.
  • Use trains with tables, wi-fi and space for luggage.
  • Run them between Bedford and Brighton.
  • Stop at Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, St. Albans City, West Hampstead Interchange, St. Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars, London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three  Bridges and Haywards Heath or whatever travel patterns say.

This would give Luton Airport the service they desire, without needing any extra platforms in the Midland Main Line station.

It would be interesting to see the passenger patterns to and from the airports. Do they have a different pattern than that of commuters, so some degree of smoothing numbers, will be naturally applied?

A Heathrow Express

Four trains per hour to Heathrow via West Hampstead Interchange and Old Oak Common for HS2, would be what Heathrow and HS2 needs.

But where do you find the single platform to turn the trains at St. Pancras?

More Platforms At St. Pancras

On resource grounds alone this is essential.

Conclusion

The architects who created this mess, shouldn’t be let near a station again.

October 27, 2016 - Posted by | Travel | ,

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