The Anonymous Widower

Could Trains From The North Connect To High Speed One At St. Pancras?

I was casually flying my virtual helicopter over the throat of St. Pancras International station, when I took a few pictures.

This Google Map shows the Northern ends of the platforms and the tracks leading in.


  1. Platforms 1-4 to the West with darker tracks handle the East Midlands Railway services.
  2. Platforms 5-10 in the centre with lighter tracks formed of three shorter islands handle the Eurostar services.
  3. Platforms 11-13 to the East with longer platforms handle the Southeastern HighSpeed services.

This Google Map shows the East Midlands Railway platforms.


  1. There are two island platforms; 1-2 and 3-4.
  2. The four platforms are served by two tracks, that connect to the fast lines of the Midland Main Line.
  3. The platforms will be able to handle a pair of Class 810 trains, which will be 240 metres long.
  4. Will the two trains per hour (tph) using Class 360 trains between London and Corby always use the same platform at St. Prancras station?

This Google Map shows the Eurostar platforms.


There are three island platforms; 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10.

The two island platforms in the West are for East Midlands Railway services.

The two longer island platforms in the East are for Southeastern HighSpeed services.

The six platforms connect to two fast lines, that are shared with the Southeastern services.

This Google Map shows the lines proceeding to the North.


  1. There are four sets of tracks.
  2. The two light-coloured tracks on the left are for Thameslink or sidings.
  3. The next two dark-coloured tracks are the two tracks of the Midland Main Line.
  4. The next set of tracks are those connecting to the six Eurostar platforms.
  5. The two tracks on the right are those connecting to the Southeastern Highspeed platforms.
  6. There are crossovers between the Eurostar and Southeastern Highspeed tracks to allow efficient operation of the trains going to and from the twin tracks of High Speed One.

This Google Map shows where the Midland Main Line and High Speed One divide.


The two dark-coloured tracks of the Midland Main Line running North.

There appear to be four  tracks running North East towards High Speed One.

Between the two sets of tracks two further tracks lead to the North.

The track closest to the Midland Main Line joins to the slow lines of the Midland Main Line.

The other one connects to the North London Line.

This Google Map shows the connecting lines to the High Speed One tunnel.

Note the tunnel portal is in the North-East corner of the map.

  1. It looks to me that the following connections are possible.
  2. St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and Midland Main Line.
  3. St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and North London Line to the West.
  4. High Speed One and North London Line to the West.

These connections are in addition to those connections needed to run scheduled services.

They would enable trains to take the following routes.

  • St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and Midland Main Line.
  • St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and the West Coast Main Line via North London Line
  • High Speed One and the West Coast Main Line via North London Line
  • St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and the Great Western Main Line via North London Line
  • High Speed One and the Great Western Main Line via North London Line

I suspect most of the times, that these routes are used it is for engineering purposes or behaps dragging a failed train out of St. Pancras.

But the track layout would seem to allow the following.

Direct electric freight and passenger services between High Speed One and Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester.

Direct electric passenger services between High Speed One and Sheffield and Leeds, with a reverse at St. Pancras, after the Midland Main Line were to be fully electrified.

Was this by design for Eurostar or was it just what Network Rail ended up with?

A Modern Regional Eurostar Service

These are my thoughts on a modern Regional Eurostar service.

Rolling Stock

High Speed Two is coming and this year, the company will order some of the rolling stock.

There will be fifty-four trains

The trains will be Classic-Compatible for running on the West Coast Main Line.

They will be 200 metres long and be able to run in pairs.

They will be able to operate at 225 mph.

The operating speed of High Speed One is 186 mph.

I can see no reason why trains of this type, couldn’t run between St. Pancras and many destinations in Europe.

North Of England And The Continent

Could this be the service pattern?

  • One train could start in the North West and another in the North East.
  • Both trains would proceed to St. Pancras picking up passengers en route.
  • At St. Pancras the two trains would join together.
  • The driver could then position themselves in the front cab and take High Speed One, through the Channel Tunnel.

The train could even split at Calais to serve two different Continental destinations.

Going North, the spitting and joining would be reversed.

What Infrastructure Would Be Needed?

I suspect the following will be needed.

  • The West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line would need in-cab digital ERTMS signalling.
  • Full electrification of the Midland Main Line would probably be necessary, as I don’t think the tunnel allows diesel trains to pass through.
  • Some platform lengthening might be needed.

It would not be an expensive scheme.

What Timings Would Be Possible?

Using current timings you get the following times.

  • Leeds and Paris – Five hours
  • Leeds and Brussels – Four hours forty minutes
  • Manchester and Paris – Five hours
  • Manchester and Brussels – For hours forty minutes
  • Newcastle and Paris – Six hours
  • Newcastle and Brussels – Five hours thirty minutes

Note, that the times are best estimates and include a long stop of several minutes at St. Pancras.

Could Sleeper Service Be Run?

I don’t see why not!


It looks like it may be possible to run regional services to Europe, where pairs of train split and join at St. Pancras.





April 20, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I think you’ve forgotten the biggest cost: customs facilities at every station at which Eurostar stops. You’d need each station to be at least the same spec as Stratford International, with a very strong secure line as it’s effectively an international border crossing point at each of those stations.

    There also simply isnt the capacity on HS1. If every train is full leaving London for France, and no more trains can be added to the line, why waste money taking a train further into England to fill it up when you could just fill it in London?

    That said, I hope in future international rail travel from across the UK will be possible- but it might require a dedicated network incl. a 2nd Channel Tunnel.

    Comment by JMo | April 21, 2021 | Reply

    • In this post, I was really only looking at the tracks and the cost of getting trains to the Continent.

      For instance, I can see container ships coming into Liverpool, loading up freight trains, which then ran through the night to Europe. It would echo the Great Central freight plan of a couple of decades ago.

      But it would get goods between Central Europe and the Americas about a day faster.

      Comment by AnonW | April 21, 2021 | Reply

  2. A lovely dream ever since the Chunnel opened – hop on at your local station and get off at Gard du Nord…

    Unfortunately this overlookd the biggest problem of all – the dinosaurs at the Home Office and HMRC will simply NOT agree to do all their checks ON the train, as happened everywhere else in the EU pre Schengen (not done at all now). This is why there are no Eurostar trains to anywhere but St. Pancas, why the Nightstar trains were sold off dirt cheap and unused to Canada and why despite their “international” names no international trains actually stop at Stratford, Ebbsfleet nor Ashford.

    It is very naïve to think that there is any possibility of changing the bloody mindset of these civil service jobsworths.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | April 21, 2021 | Reply

    • One of the problems with both HS1 and HS2 and lots of other infrastructure projects all over the country, is that they do nothing for Oxford.

      The Oxford and Cambridge Expressway was only cancelled because it served Cambridge!

      Comment by AnonW | April 21, 2021 | Reply

    • Technically, the ‘civil service jobsworth’ are subordinate to government ministers. It’s at the political level that decisions are made, but it will take a strong, committed Secretary of State to push through the necessary measures for customs checks on the trains and we don’t have one at the moment.

      Comment by JohnC | April 21, 2021 | Reply

  3. The track layout and connections are deliberate and by design as there was the intention for the services you suggest.


    Comment by chilterntrev | April 21, 2021 | Reply

    • The track layout certainly looks professional.

      Comment by AnonW | April 21, 2021 | Reply

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