“ King's Cross is the London terminus for the east coast main line. The station was opened in 1852 and the station roof, the largest at the time, was supposedly modelled on the riding school of the Czars of Moscow. It is also rumoured that Queen Boudicaa is buried beneath platform 8. Over 40 million people pass through the station each year. „
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London Kings Cross (KGX) station opened in 1852 & is one of the main terminus points for trains into and out of London & a major point for lines on the London Underground.
The station is large and historic, it's quite a nice station for its design & texture.
4 train companies operate routes into & out of the station, they are, Hull Trains with daily express departures to Hull, National Express East Coast with regular express trains to Peterborough, Doncaster, Leeds, York, Durham, Newcastle & Scotland, Grand Central running services do York, Sunderland & Hartlepool and First Capital Connect running services to North, East & South London. It's also planned for a new operator, Grand Northern, to start services in May 2010 between KGX and Bradford, Yorkshire.
The station connects with St Pancra's station to the West of KGX where you'll find Eurostar trains.
Getting to and from the station is easy, many buses stop right outside the station every other minute to many destinations across the capital you can also connect with the stations own tube station, 'Kings Cross St Pancras' using 6 tube lines (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Picadilly & Victoria). You can also cycle as cycle racks are available at the station or trains allow you to take cycles with you.
The station is open 24 hours a day with trains running from early morning until late at night, the stations ticket office which is operated by National Express East Coast, is open from early hours to very late into the night where you can buy tickets for advance travel, get information, help, assistance or pick up printed timetables for all operators using the station. You can also buy tickets for immediate travel either the ticket counter or using one of quite a "few" fast ticket machines, theres plenty of them and they are very easy to use. Use the touchscreen to search for your fare, it allows you to select different ticket types, select any destination on the National Rail Network (not just ones that have trains direct from KGX) and lets you add railcards to get your discount too. Pay using cash or credit/debit cards securely with chip & pin. The tickets are then printed for you. FastTicket Machines are located both inside & outside the travel centre.
Staff from National Express East Coast are not the most friendly nor the most helpful, they are generally rude, inconsiderate & lack any interest in customer service. That said, they are not all bad, some are nice with a friendly smile and are willing to help you in anyway they can but the majority don't want to know you or hear what you have to ask. Not very good considering GNER lost it's franchise and now the same staff seem to be making National Express risk losing it too, get rid of the lot of them and re-hire is what I say.
The station has various facilities including toilets (which you have to pay for & they are never really that clean so god knows what we pay for) baby changing facilities, cafes, restaurants and shops. Brand names at the station include WHSmiths, Burger King & Upper Crust.
KGX is fully accessable for wheelchair passengers, with DDA compliant FastTicket machines one located inside the travel centre and one outside it.
Overall KGX is a good station, it's a nice design and the refurbishment of the St Pancras connection is going well, you can now use Kings Cross to connect, not only onto tube lines for connections with other rail stations but onto Eurostar services to places like Paris & Brussels using the underground walkway to connect to St Pancras International station. The station layout confuses some people right now as entrances & exits, especially to/from the tube keep changing whilst work is carried out but generally it's all good. My only complaint is STAFF ATTITUDE at the station.
Its still never ceases to amaze me, no matter how many times at the end of that seemingly never ending couple of days I've spent working in old London town. After emerging squished and grinded on the signally challenged tube lines, swiftly followed by a fevered dash around the mazey and baffling sequence of exits I arrive at that Golden board at Kings Cross and it hits me - I've just missed it - got to wait at least another twenty mins for the next one, the commuting law of sods in full progress
I've been a regular on the good old GNER then National Express now East Coast main line to destination North for many a year now since I glided into the dark side that is IT infrastructure land so I've learnt a trick or two about getting through the frustrations of it all...
People watching is at its absolute peak here at the mighty Kings Cross, where the truly dedicated Harry Potter afficinado can actually find the fabled Platform 9 3/4. But the prospect of thudding a trolley into a solid brick wall in the hope that the muggles won't be the wiser is nothing compared with the great challenge that lies ahead for me now.
For as the infrequent travellers gather in huge droves in front of the board, almost transfixed by the prospect of that all important platform announcement, the wiley few make their early plays. You'd have thought that at some point in proceedings those hoping to catch the next train to Leeds would be tempted to glance at that tiny little extra screen in the corner which tells you which platform the latest arrival has got into.
Now it doesn't take a degree in diesel engine studies to reach the conclusion - hang on, why don't I stand near the entrance for that platform then I'll be right up the front of the queue. And you see them a gathering, first one or two with knowing little smirks, maybe they get this train every few days, trying to look oh so casual, but the fidgeting with the portable suitcases marks them out - they are ready. Standing there, with these lucky few you get an overwhelming rush of satisfaction, safe in the knowledge it'll be a nice warm seat tonight.....
The minutes tick by, still no official confirmation -moments of panic set in, these trains are all pretty much the same, what if I've backed the wrong horse, what they change the platform -but thats quickly replace with the awareness that there are ever more lurkers gathering. And despite your sneaky positioning suddenly a small crowd of suitcase wheeling wanabees are surrounding you, boxing you in. When the clock hits the 15 minutes to go, its literally seconds from show time and the adrenalin you long for after such a dull day finally arrives - and for me the experience is always heightened if you imagine the bassy tones of the BBC Formula 1 racing tune, and look across at the feisty characters lining up on the grid....
Then woosh, up it comes, and away they go, giddy little school girl steps a plenty on that initial lift off, a couple of early trolley clashes set the tone, but its all fair in competitions of this magnitude. The challenge is achieve the ultra purposeful stride - heaven forbid you actually break into a run at any point - it simply isn't cricket. A few of you may recall the classic Ben Elton sketch from shiny suited Saturday Night live days - "Double seat, Double seat, gotta get a double seat" - sorry to say Ben we're in a new millenium and there is a whole new enemy to overcome - the ability to reserve seats on line!!!!
You're charging along, but maybe you've got stuck a little behind a family with a pushchair,in the go-slow zone you can see a few streaming past you on the outside, but its ok we're still not past first class I can still make up the ground. But as you glance to the left at the dimly lit carriages, they are there for all to see, white ticket after ticket smothering every seat in site, you'll have to push on, get on now and the table a forelorn dream, a single seat with your legs rammed in tight all there is to hope for now but wait....
Beyond the rainbow, (or usually around about coach C) you may find those seats the early fools who ducked out in reservesville can only dream of - its a table, it has power, I have laptop, I have lift off!!! Whick whack the wheely trolley has served its purpose, into the racks, the finish line reached long before those poor unfortunates with the holdalls and the faith in the timetabling system, smugness and satisfaction abound, home james, thankyou very much.
But as the train fills again, the guilt zone appears - almost before you can stretch out those toes the half-term tripping family desperately trying to hold themselves together in the midst of bickerings arrive en mass in the gangways, smacking bags into shoulders and hunting for the miracle of a sit togther option.
It goes on till I can't stands it no more, up I get with one last heroic flush squeak something about letting them sit together and switch to the backwards facing elbow crushing exile of an aisle seat - no power, a half-built tray to rest my battered laptop on but still the treasured memories of my triumph of human competitive spirit over common sense.
For in a small coach/ galaxy not too far away there are dozens of table seats with little white tickets on them just waiting to be sat in, because its London, the trains are every half an hour, and who knows which train you'll end up on, so they never took them up. And in them sit the saunterers, the casual ones, who didn't follow the trolley dash, they didn't even put in the work in carriage land, they just turned up, set off and sat down...where's the fun in that!!!
Have you ever wondered why Kings Cross (or parts of it) is such a dump? One reason is planning blight caused by the on-off channel tunnel connection. Currently the project is 'on' and we will see the power of good transport to transform an area that is rather seedy at present into a second docklands - but this docklands will have charicter and will be for the locals too. Any increace in capacity for international passengers will have to affect the rest of us too. The track and signals are all new so there will be minimal disruption. Kings Cross underground is already over streched and well overdue some capital investment. I see that the infraco (company being set up by the government to supervise the project) is advertising for tunneling engeneers. I would like to see some real money spent. So only another three or four years of squalor and delays then.
In spite of its Harry Potter connections, Kings Cross station is not a nice place to be. And a quick safety note: if muggles run headlong into the gate between platforms 9 and 10, it just hurts. Erase from your mind images of yourself sailing out of the station on the Hogwarts Express, mouth full of every-flavour beans and pocket full of small rodents. Platform nine and three-quarters does not exist. But don't be disheartened. There are plenty of other exciting things to do. Within the station itself, you could...um...buy a newspaper, or an overpriced and papery croissant. If you dare to venture outside the station, you can buy a number of class A and B drugs, or a middle-aged prostitute. As Blind Date's Graham would say, the decision is yours. Nah, frankly, I would leave the absolute minimum amount of time required to buy your ticket and board your train. Not only is Kings Cross station (and its surrounds) the pits, it is also the gateway to The North, so you will clearly want to delay your journey as long as possible. In fact I would recommend that you think long and hard about whether the journey is necessary at all. They talk funny up there you know, and they're all covered in soot (for all those born north of Watford, you'll find the commentary section at the bottom of the article). Here is some real, actual information. Firstly, more often than not, trains are delayed (both departures and arrivals). National rail services out of Kings Cross go as far as Scotland and are run either by GNER (fast but expensive) or WAGN (cheap, but slightly slower than an average milk float). The station is confusingly split into two sections for each rail company, so allow an extra five minutes dashing time (just run towards the left and you'll get there eventually) if your train is run by WAGN. Suburban lines also run through the station, including the cross-city Thameslink. Kings Cross tube station is th
e best-connected in the city, linking six lines (Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City). However, London Underground are currently replacing a lot of the escalators there, which means you can only actually use the station between something like 06:40 and 06:42 on alternate Tuesdays (as long as you're wearing odd socks and have a pyramid teabag about your person as formal identification). There is a disproportionate number of undesirables per square metre at Kings Cross so it pays to be a bit careful. However, this can also work in your favour. My boyfriend once found £80 in an envelope on the floor on a road adjacent to the station, and didn't have to feel in the least bit guilty about keeping it because he could be 99% certain that it was someone else's ill-gotten gains. Other plus points about Kings Cross (and I have really drained my brain on this one) include the proximity of Euston station (tube / trains from the midlands), which is only a five minute walk; of the British Library, which is a less-than-five-minute walk; of Camden Town, which is, er, not all that far; and of Islington High Street (get off at Angel on the northern line), which has a plethora of cute boutiques, cafes and bars. In conclusion: if your journey is for any other purpose than to visit an extremely wealthy and poorly aunt, stay at home with a cup of hot Ribena and watch a repeat of The League of Gentlemen.
Kings Cross was built by the Great North Railway (GNR) in the 1850?s, which was amalgamated into the London North Eastern Railway in 1923 (with acknowledgement to Necropolis !!). The name sort of lives on in the Great North Eastern Railway (GNER), which operates services out of the station. The station is situated next to St Pancras and can be reached by road (watch the traffic !!) or using the underground which connects them. Compared with say Paddington and Waterloo, it is a small station for a mainline termini having about 10 platforms and 3 or 4 suburban ones. The waiting area is quite small and dingy. There is a large Travel shop and ticket area on the left and a WH Smiths on the right. The eateries are usually found on the platform to the left. The platform area is in contrast light and airy. There is very little more that can be said about the facilities at this station. Kings Cross is the station to travel from if you want to get to: · Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen · Glasgow (also served from Euston) · Leeds/Bradford · Newcastle · Hull · Peterborough/Grantham/Newark/Doncaster There are also some suburban services but as I have never used them I cannot comment. The Station is well served by the tube. The following lines serve the station: Northern/Circle/Metropolitan/Victoria and Piccadilly. There is also an interchange to the Cross-Thames link. Kings Cross is very much a ?arrive at the station and get on the train? type of station. You don?t want to hang around there for too long as there is little to do. I certainly wouldn?t wander around the area at night ? Kings Cross is a prostitute?s area.