contd from yesterday: The 1990s saw the start of St Pancras’ revival. The Channel Tunnel opened in May 1994, but high speed trains were only able to reach their maximum speeds on the French side of the Channel. In 1996 Government passed the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act authorising the construction of a high speed line from the tunnel to a redeveloped St Pancras International.
In consultation with English Heritage and with painstaking reference to original detail, Barlow’s original train shed roof was restored to its Victorian glory with 18k panes of self cleaning glass, 300k welsh slates and the iron girders stripped and repainted in their original pale blue. New oak doors for the main entrances were made, the brass furniture copied exactly from original drawings.
To extend platforms to accept Eurostar trains, an additional train shed to the rear of Barlow’s original was designed by Foster & Partners. The west wall of the station was rebuilt using 16 million bricks manufactured identically to the original. New public works of art include the statue of the station’s saviour John Betjeman and the 30ft tall bronze sculpture ‘The Meeting Place’, positioned under the station clock.
Opening up the station undercroft allowed developers to let in the light from the roof and the building to be seen from the new Eurostar check-in lounge, shops, restaurants and food halls, created in the space Barlow had originally designed for beer barrels.
The new St Pancras International station was officially opened on in November 2007 with Eurostar and East Midland services, and with Thameslink services joining that December. At the end of 2009 high speed domestic services began between St Pancras and Kent. In 2012 this high speed line transports spectators to the London Olympic Park at Stratford International in just seven minutes.
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