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King's Cross St. Pancras tube station

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King's Cross St. Pancras (formerly King's Cross) is a London Underground station on Euston Road in the Borough of Camden, Central London. It serves King's Cross and St Pancras main line stations in fare zone 1. It is the second busiest station on the network and an interchange between six Underground lines: Metropolitan/Circle/Hammersmith & City, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria.[2]

King's Cross St. Pancras London Underground
King's Cross St Pancras underground station entrance - IMG 0746.JPG
Entrance on Euston Road outside King's Cross station concourse.
King's Cross St. Pancras is located in Central London
King's Cross St. Pancras
King's Cross St. Pancras
Location of King's Cross St. Pancras in Central London
Location King's Cross / St Pancras
Local authority London Borough of Camden
Managed by London Underground
Owner London Underground
Number of platforms 8
Accessible Yes
Fare zone 1
OSI London King's Cross National Rail and
London St Pancras Int'l National Rail
London Underground annual entry and exit
2013 Increase 84.87 million[1]
2014 Increase 91.98 million[1]
2015 Increase 93.41 million[1]
2016 Increase 95.03 million[1]
2017 Increase 97.92 million[1]
Key dates
1863 Opened (MR)
1906 Opened (GNP&BR)
1907 Opened (C&SLR)
1968 Opened (Victoria line)
1987 King's Cross fire
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
WGS84 51°31′49″N 0°07′27″W / 51.5302°N 0.1241°W / 51.5302; -0.1241Coordinates: 51°31′49″N 0°07′27″W / 51.5302°N 0.1241°W / 51.5302; -0.1241
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transport portal

The station opened in 1863 along with the Metropolitan line, later accommodating the Hammersmith & City and Circle connections, and was one of the first underground stations to open. It was reorganised in 1868, and the Northern and Piccadilly platforms opened in the early 20th century. During the 1930s and 1940s, the station was reorganised to cater for expanded traffic. The Victoria line connection opened in 1968. The 1987 King's Cross fire occurred in the station; it killed thirty one people and was the deadliest accident to occur on the underground, resulting in widespread safety improvements and changes throughout the network. The station was extensively rebuilt in the early 21st century to cater for Eurostar services moving to St Pancras, opening in 2009.



Northwest entrance to the tube station underneath St Pancras

The first underground station at King's Cross was planned in 1851, during construction of the mainline station. The intention was to connect the Great Western Railway (GWR) at Paddington with the Great Northern Railway (GNR) at King's Cross.[3][4] The line was opened as part of the original section of the Metropolitan Railway on 10 January 1863.[5] It was reorganised in August 1868 to accommodate the City Widened Lines which allowed GNR and Metropolitan traffic to run along the line simultaneously.[6] The same year, the Metropolitan built a link to the newly-opened St Pancras station.[7]

The Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR, now part of the Piccadilly line) platforms opened with the rest of the line on 15 December 1906, while the City & South London Railway (C&SLR, now part of the Northern line) opened on 11 May 1907.[8] In 1927, this part of the station was renamed as King's Cross for St Pancras.[9]

In 1933, the station was formally renamed to King's Cross St Pancras, except for the Metropolitan line station, which was renamed on 16 October 1940.[9] This preceded major rebuilding work, including a direct connection to St Pancras and a circular ticket hall. The main concourse opened on 18 June 1939, and the subway link to St Pancras opened two years later.[10] The total cost of the work was £260,000.[11]

The station was closed on 16 October 1940 following bomb damage during the Blitz.[12] It re-opened on 14 March 1941, including new platforms for the sub-surface lines of the Underground about 250 m (270 yd) to the west. These were decorated with cream tiles featuring pale green edges. A subway was built between the sub-surface lines, running below Euston Road and joining with the tube lines, making interchanging between the various lines easier.[13] The 1868 platforms later became the former King's Cross Thameslink station, which closed on 9 December 2007 when the Thameslink service moved to St Pancras International.[14][a]

The Victoria line platforms were opened on 1 December 1968 as part of the line's second phase from Highbury & Islington to Warren Street. Unlike other interchange stations, it was not possible to put the platforms on the same level with other lines. Two new escalators were constructed, connecting the Northern / Piccadilly ticket hall with an expanded concourse. A further subway and staircase connected the new platforms to the Northern / Piccadilly concourse.[15]

The station was refurbished in 1986, in conjunction with several others on the tube network. The Northern and Piccadilly platforms were decorated with multi-coloured tiles featuring the letters "K" and "X".[16]


Memorial plaque with the clock to the 1987 fire in the station

The underground network had been at risk of fire since opening, and the limited amount of space and means of escape increased the possibility of fatalities. Following a serious fire at Finsbury Park in February 1976, staff had been trained to be alert for any possible causes of ignition or smouldering.[17]

At around 7:30 pm on 18 November 1987, a passenger reported a small fire on the Northern / Piccadilly up escalator and alerted staff. The incident was judged as relatively minor, and the Fire Brigade arrived at 7:43 pm with four pumps and a ladder. By this time, the ticket hall had filled with smoke, trains passed through the station without stopping, and passengers were being evacuated. At around 7:45 pm, a fireball erupted from the Northern / Piccadilly escalators and set the ticket hall ablaze. The fire burned for several hours and was not properly contained until around 1:46 am the following morning. Thirty one people died in the fire, including a fire officer.[17]

The then-unknown fire phenomenon of the trench effect made the fire develop upwards and finally caused it to explode into the station.[18] As a result, fire safety procedures on the Underground were tightened, staff training was improved and wooden steps on escalators were replaced with metal ones. Smoking had already been banned on subsurface areas of the Underground in February 1985; following the King's Cross fire, it was banned throughout the entire network.[17][19]

Damage was extensive, particularly to the old wooden escalators where the fire had started. The station took over a year to repair and rebuild the station; the Northern line platforms and the escalators from the ticket hall to the Piccadilly line remained closed until 5 March 1989.[17][20]

Upgrade and expansionEdit

The Northern Ticket Hall, underneath the new Kings Cross concourse, which opened in 2009

In the aftermath of the fire, London Underground was recommended in the Fennell Report to investigate "passenger flow and congestion in stations and take remedial action".[18] Consequently, a Parliamentary bill was tabled in 1993 to permit London Underground to improve and expand the frequently congested station.[21]

In 2000, work began to upgrade and expand the station in conjunction with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project, which would see St Pancras as the new terminal for Eurostar services to continental Europe. Construction began in 2000 and the upgrade took almost 10 years to complete at a cost of £810m, doubling the capacity of the station to more than 100,000 people a day.[22] Two new ticket halls were built – the Western Ticket Hall under the forecourt of St Pancras station,[23] and the Northern Ticket Hall under the new King's Cross station concourse.[22] The existing ticket hall in front of King's Cross station was also rebuilt and expanded. New passageways and escalators were provided to increase capacity, and 10 new lifts provide step free access throughout the station.[24][25]

The upgraded station was opened by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and the Minister for London, Tessa Jowell on 29 November 2009. Jowell said that the improvements would be vital to help passenger movement during the London 2012 Olympics.[22]

As part of the station upgrade, Art on the Underground commissioned the first permanent artwork to be installed on the Underground since the 1980s.[26] The stainless steel sculptures, Full Circle by artist Knut Henrik Henriksen, are located at the end of two new concourses, on the Northern and the Piccadilly lines.[27]

Ticket hallsEdit

A tunnel leading to the Pentonville Road entrance (formerly a connection to the Thameslink platforms)

Following completion of the station upgrade in 2010, Kings Cross St Pancras now has eleven entrances and four ticket halls.[28]

  • The "Tube ticket hall" is in front of King's Cross station, was expanded and refurbished as part of the station upgrade and is signposted as the 'Euston Road' way out from the tube lines.[28]
  • The "Pentonville Road" entrance was the former ticket hall for King's Cross Thameslink station. It has underground passageway connections to the Piccadilly and Victoria lines. It was taken over by London Underground when the Thameslink platforms closed.[29]
  • The "Western Ticket Hall" is under the forecourt of St Pancras station, adjacent to Euston Road. It provides access to St Pancras Station via the St Pancras undercroft and opened on 28 May 2006.[23]
  • The "Northern Ticket Hall" is west of King's Cross station, underneath the new concourse of the mainline station. The new ticket hall and associated connections to the tube lines were opened on 29 November 2009.[22] It is signposted as the 'Regent's Canal' way out from the tube lines.[30]

Platform level tilingEdit

Tiled motif on the Victoria line platforms

The stations along the central part of the Piccadilly line, as well as some sections of the Northern line, were financed by the American entrepreneur Charles Yerkes,[31] and are famous for the Leslie Green designed red station buildings and distinctive platform tiling. Each station had its own unique tile pattern and colours.[32]

Like other stations on the line, the Victoria line platforms at the station have a tiled motif in the seat recesses. The design by artist Tom Eckersley features a cross of crowns.[33][34]

Future proposalsEdit

Crossrail 2Edit

In 1991, a route for the potential Chelsea-Hackney line was safeguarded through the area.[35][36] This proposal has since evolved into a proposed rail route based on Crossrail called Crossrail 2, which would link both Euston and Kings Cross St Pancras, into the station Euston St. Pancras.[37][30] This proposed scheme would offer a second rail link between King's Cross and Victoria in addition to the Victoria line. In the 2007 safeguarded route, the next stations would be Tottenham Court Road and Angel.[38]

Docklands Light Railway extension from BankEdit

In 2011, strategy documents by TFL and supported by the London Borough of Camden proposed an extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) Bank branch to Euston and St Pancras to help relive the Northern line between Euston and Bank, which would offer direct connections to Canary Wharf and London City Airport.[39] Transport for London have considered a line from Bank via City Thameslink and Holborn to the two transport hubs but may not be developed until the full separation of the Northern line happens.[40][41][42][43]

Piccadilly lineEdit

In 2005 a business case was prepared to re-open the disused York Road Underground station on the Piccadilly line, to serve the Kings Cross Central development and help relieve congestion at King's Cross St Pancras.[44] York Road station closed in September 1932 and was about 600 m (660 yd) north of King's Cross St Pancras.[45]


In addition to the two mainline stations, the station services six underground lines. There are the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan (these three share a single pair of tracks), Northern, Piccadilly and lines. King's Cross St. Pancras is the second busiest station on the network, trailing only Waterloo.[46]

London Buses routes 10, 17, 30, 45, 46, 59, 63, 73, 91, 205, 214, 259, 390 and 476 and night routes N63, N73, N91 and N205 serve the station.[47]

Preceding station     London Underground   Following station
towards Hammersmith
Circle line
towards Edgware Road (via Aldgate)
Hammersmith & City line
towards Barking
Metropolitan line
towards Aldgate
Northern line
City Branch
towards Morden (via Bank)
Piccadilly line
towards Cockfosters
towards Brixton
Victoria line
  Proposed services  
Piccadilly line
towards Cockfosters
  Abandoned plans  
Euston Square
towards Hammersmith tube station, Kensington (Addison Road),
Uxbridge, Chesham, Verney Junction or Brill
  Metropolitan Railway   Clerkenwell
towards Whitechapel
  Former services  
towards Hammersmith
Metropolitan line
Hammersmith branch (1864–1990)
towards Barking
towards South Harrow
Piccadilly line
towards Finsbury Park


On 2 January 1885, an Irish Nationalist terrorist planted a bomb on the Metropolitan line just west of the station. There were no injuries and little damage as the bomb exploded in the tunnel rather than on any train. James Cunningham was arrested later that month and sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour for causing the attack.[48]

On 28 May 1959, the leading car on a Northern line train derailed just after leaving King's Cross St. Pancras, heading for Euston. There were no injuries.[49]

The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated bomb attacks, including an explosion in a Piccadilly line train travelling between King's Cross St Pancras and Russell Square which killed 26 people.[50][51] The death toll was the highest of all the incidents, as the Piccadilly line is in a deep tube south of King's Cross and there is nowhere for the blast to escape.[50]



  1. ^ One of the 1868 platforms may be seen from Underground trains between the present station and Farringdon.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLSX). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. January 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018. 
  2. ^ "London Underground station passenger usage data". Transport for London. March 2017. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  3. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 9.
  4. ^ Wolmar 2012, p. 30.
  5. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 14.
  6. ^ Day & Reed 2010, pp. 16–17.
  7. ^ Wolmar 2012, p. 62.
  8. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 47.
  9. ^ a b Butt 1995, p. 134.
  10. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 131.
  11. ^ "New Tube Station At King's Cross". The Times. London. 17 June 1939. p. 9. Retrieved 15 September 2018. (Subscription required (help)). 
  12. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 136.
  13. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 140.
  14. ^ "New station sets the standard". Watford Observer. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  15. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 168.
  16. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 189.
  17. ^ a b c d Day & Reed 2010, p. 191.
  18. ^ a b Paul Channon (12 April 1989). "King's Cross Fire (Fennell Report)". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. col. 915–917. 
  19. ^ "Sir Desmond Fennell – Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 5 June 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  20. ^ "New escalator". The Times. London. 5 March 1989. p. 5. Retrieved 15 September 2018. (Subscription required (help)). 
  21. ^ "London Underground (King's Cross) Act 1993". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  22. ^ a b c d "King's Cross St. Pancras Tube station doubles in size as state-of-the-art ticket hall opens". Transport for London. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  23. ^ a b "Mayor and Transport Secretary open Kings Cross St Pancras Western Ticket Hall". Transport for London. 25 May 2006. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  24. ^ Cole, Margo (22 April 2010). "Major Project – King's Cross Underground Ticket Halls" (PDF). New Civil Engineer: 27–29. 
  25. ^ "King's Cross St. Pancras Tube station is step-free with 10 new lifts". Transport for London. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  26. ^ "Full Circle – Art on the Underground". Art on the Underground. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  27. ^ "Henrik Henriksen sculpture goes Full Circle at St Pancras for latest Art on the Underground piece | Culture24". Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  28. ^ a b "Why do the signs at King's Cross St Pancras, London's biggest tube station, seem to take you the long way round?". CityMetric. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  29. ^ Arquati, Dave. " – King's Cross & St Pancras Upgrade". Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  30. ^ a b "Crossrail 2 factsheet: Euston St. Pancras station" (PDF). Crossrail 2. October 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  31. ^ "The Man Who Painted London Red". 1 January 2010. 
  32. ^ Wolmar 2012, p. 178.
  33. ^ Spawls, Alice (17 July 2015). "On the Tube". London Review of Books. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  34. ^ Harrison, Maxwell. "Victoria Line Tiles". Victoria Line Tiles. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  35. ^ Chelsea–Hackney Line Safeguarding Directions, June 2008 Part A (PDF), Crossrail, accessed 22 December 2010
  36. ^ Chelsea–Hackney Line Safeguarding Directions, June 2008 Part B (PDF), Crossrail, accessed 22 December 2010
  37. ^ "Euston St. Pancras – Crossrail 2". Crossrail 2. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  38. ^ "Updated Crossrail 2 route protected from conflicting development". Transport for London. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2018. 
  39. ^ "TfL Moots New DLR Routes, Including Victoria And St Pancras". Londonist. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  40. ^ "Potential DLR extensions" (PDF). Transport for London. 21 September 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  41. ^ "Asset data". 
  42. ^ "Agenda" (PDF). 
  43. ^ "Board Report Template for TfL Meetings" (PDF). Retrieved 20 July 2018. 
  44. ^ "York Road Station Re-opening – Business Case Analysis" (PDF). Halcrow Group Limited. 2005. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2011. The objective would be to ensure that public transport users travelling from the KCC development would benefit from travelling via York Road Station rather than using King’s Cross St Pancras Station. This in turn leads to the subobjective of providing congestion relief for King’s Cross St Pancras Station. 
  45. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 111.
  46. ^ "London Underground station passenger usage data". Transport for London. March 2017. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  47. ^ "Key Bus Routes in Central London" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  48. ^ Wolmar 2012, pp. 121–122.
  49. ^ "Underground Train Derailed". The Times. London. 29 May 1959. p. 14. Retrieved 15 September 2018. (Subscription required (help)). 
  50. ^ a b Wolmar 2012, p. 319.
  51. ^ "London Blasts – What Happened". BBC News. BBC News. July 2005. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 


  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199. 
  • Day, John R; Reed, John (2010) [1963]. The Story of London's Underground. Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-341-9. 
  • Wolmar, Christian (2012) [2004]. The Subterranean Railway. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-0-857-89069-6. 

External linksEdit