Eurostar is at St Pancras from 14th November 2007
St PancrasSt Pancras, the magnificent terminus of the Midland Railway, opened in 1876.
The arch of the glass-and-iron train shed spans 240 feet and is over 100 feet high at its apex. This superb construction was an outstanding feat of Victorian engineering.
When it was completed the massive roof, designed by William Henry Barlow, was the largest in the world.
The roof is supported at ground-floor level by 690 cast-iron columns. This level was designed as a huge storage area for beer transported from Burton-on-Trent. To reach St Pancras the Midland Railway had to bridge the nearby Regent’s Canal and as a result the station ended high above the Euston Road, with its platforms at first-floor level.
The construction of the bridge across the canal meant that the Midland Railway had to level the large burial ground of old St Pancras church. The architect A W Blomfield sent Thomas Hardy, then a trainee architect, to supervise the carrying away of the human remains.
Towering above St Pancras Station is the former Midland Grand Hotel, built in 1868 – 73 and designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. It was the first hotel in London to have lifts (called ‘ascending rooms’).
The hotel opened in 1874 as one of the most up-to-date hotels of its era. The cathedral-like structure is the most spectacular of the railway stations along the Euston Road, the others are Euston and King’s Cross. The red-brick building, not technically part of the station, is an example of High Gothic architecture, with a great clock tower, spires, gables and turrets. From 1935 to the early-1980s the Midland Grand Hotel was used as offices.
Now known as St Pancras Chambers, the building is being restored. Marriot Hotels is hoping to convert part of the building back into a hotel.
In the lobby, at the west end of the building, is a small exhibition about the building and details about the occasional guided tours. The exhibition is open: Mon-Fri 11:30-15:30.
At present only a handful of services, operated by MML, run out of St Pancras to the Midlands and Yorkshire.
However, St Pancras will shortly In 2007, become the terminus of the high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL). Major developments are taking place around the station to cope with the increased length of train and volume of traffic the CTRL will involve. UPDATED: 14th November 2007 is the start of the new Eurostar service form St Pancras