Proposed redevelopment of St Pancras/Kings Cross by BR in 1966

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by ABB125, 7 Jan 2020.

  1. d9009alycidon

    d9009alycidon Member

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    Had the Bruce report for the redevelopment of Glasgow City Centre gone ahead, it wouldn't have just been St. Enoch that would have been lost, this grand utopian plan would have seen the demolition of all four Glasgow Termini, being replaced by a "Glasgow North" station on the site of Buchanan Street Station and a "Glasgow South" somewhere around where Central is (or possibly on the south side of the Clyde). Thankfully the plan never saw the light of day, but the proposals for Glasgow North seem to have been taken as far as some detail drawings as can be seen here.

    Before:
    [​IMG]

    Proposed

    [​IMG]

    Given the work that was needed to extend Queen Street for 8 car 385s perhaps Network Rail might have thought this was a good idea in hindsight
     
  2. Merle Haggard

    Merle Haggard Member

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    Andy R. A. Thank you for the response to my post (I didn't 'quote' it). There were errors in my post, but the purpose of these threads, in my opinion, is to trigger responses from people who know can add recollections.

    My errors were due to the passage of time. My contribution was based on working in the London Division in the very early 1970s, the particularly relevant part being with the job title 'freight current performance clerk, Midland lines' (i.e. Sharnbrook Southwards). The current performance clerk kept traffic moving in the window between STP Crewe (more than 2 days notice) and Control (on the moment). I also worked in the Accident Section (injuries resulting from train movement) and FRS distribution (i.e. before TOPS), so, despite being harangued on other threads for talking rubbish, I did have some first hand experience - though, in the subsequent 48 years, I have had other stuff to remember, too, pushing that period to the further depths.

    I now recall that the my emphasis on Acton traffic was not because it was the only traffic but because keeping Wellingboro' yard clear was one of the banes of life and woe betide me if any of my specials knocked a passenger service (Sunday specials usually did, because only one s/b line was usually available due to engineering work, and our finest locos struggled with 60-on of wet coal over the passenger line, if that was the only one open.

    I now recall there was still traffic via Brent Midland. Another source of stress were the Northfleet & Southfleet coal trains. One terminal had bottom discharge (i.e. hoppers - flats had to be manually emptied) and the other had tippler discharge (i.e., flats, but hoppers could be tippled but sometimes their doors fell in with the coal). The Northfleet flow (which I think was the hopper one) ran through from Welbeck although sometimes got staged at Brent, but the flat traffic was aggregated at Brent from a number of collieries, so definitely Brent was still used for marshalling. The reason for my stress was (i) according to the terminals I was personally responsible for NCB loading their traffic in the wrong type of wagons and (ii) my wonderful colleagues at Cricklewood confusing 'Northfleet' and ' Southfleet' and going to the wrong place - 'well it's all coal, unit!' .

    I'm not sure how the Welbecks got South but I'm fairly sure that most freight went Wigston-Glendon rather than via Manton then - passenger traffic was more sparse then. Certainly I remember a pile up on that route when D5383 was over-powered.

    It was definitely the intention to divert via M. Harbro - Northampton rather than Wigston - Nuneaton; freight had already been diverted that way, and Midland pass. drivers had the route - in the event of problems to the South of MH., Class 1s were routinely diverted that way.

    With regard to another post about St. P. - why was it the home of S&ISD?. Without blowing my anonymity, I hope, I later worked on the freight train ferry business management section after it passed back to BR and I can say that the accommodation for the international departments was always allocated to the less attractive outposts and buildings - for instance, in the garret rooms (former hotel staff quarters) of '222' or an office 20 miles away from 'civilisation'.

    I hope that my recollections of 50-ish years ago are worth recounting.
     
  3. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    very interesting to read all this - thanks for posting! As a regular Midland Main line traveller these are interesting insights.
     
  4. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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    I wonder whether the reason that there doesn't seem to be any records is that the plans etc. were destroyed after the scheme was dropped?

    I don't know whether this would have happened, but I guess that this might be the answer?
     
  5. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    It ought perhaps to be mentioned that the Midland Grand Hotel part of the original St Pancras Station was designed and built by an entirely different architect from the station and its roof. The Midland Grand was the design of Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic style that he so favoured. Thirty years ago, when I moved to Penzance I was introduced to his great grandson or great great grandson (can't remember which) also named George Scott and used to come across him socially every so often for several years until his death.His main interest was cricket, though, so we had something in common! Still occasionally see his widow around.
     
  6. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Scott was a vandal. His neogothic "restorations" of medieval buildings was simply wanton destruction of some of our most magnificent construction work. Just be glad there were some cathedrals and abbeys that escaped him. He's responsible for more damage to our architectural heritage than Henry VIII and both Cromwells combined
     
  7. Revaulx

    Revaulx Member

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    Please give examples.

    The vast majority of his work involved replacing botched early 19th century interventions.
     
  8. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    I know less about him than I should. I've always felt conflicted by the St Pancras hotel- it was a great brooding presence in my life for a few years because I saw it from my office window. I'm no fan of 'gothic style' but, in my travels around Camden borough and observing it from vantage points like Primrose Hill it did have a certain presence, to be sure, and I would have been opposed to any attempt to demolish it, I guess, after what happened at Euston. The modern St Pancras is soulless, though, the abandonment of Waterloo International was a great shame in my eyes, even though it certainly freed up paths for S.E. trains.
     
  9. muddythefish

    muddythefish On Moderation

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    Agree. St Pancras viewed from Euston Road is a superb Victorian monstrosity - like an extremely ornate wedding cake and a fine example of the confidence of the Victorians and 19th century Britain. I love just standing looking at it and am delightedthe station and hotel have been saved and restored. The inside however is awful and makes what was once a very atmospheric train shed seem like a shopping centre with a railway station reluctantly attached.
     
  10. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    Not sure what you expect, and it’s not even really true - if you are upstairs looking toward the hotel then the it’s remarkably quiet and the view is of trains and the vast roof with very subtle shops/bars.
     
  11. duffield

    duffield Member

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    Inside, the main trainshed should have the MML and domestic HS1 services using the original platforms, with the Eurostar platforms somewhere underneath. That would look much better!
     
  12. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    Welcoming foreigners into a basement sounds hard to sell to the money men.
    It’s a fantastic building
     
  13. trebor79

    trebor79 Established Member

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    It would but I don't think that would have been possible unless the Eurostar platforms were below the undercroft which would have been really expensive and probably not possible due to tube lines etc.
    I remember departing from the temporary station whilst the work was going on, and being astonished at just how much was removed from the interior (you got quite a good view from the train).
    Remember studying the roof as an example of arch construction at university - it's a very clever structure and surprising has movable bearings at the bottom and in the middle of each rib. The undercroft helps stop the walls being pushed out as well as its original warehousing function.
     
  14. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Not just the underground and Thameslink in the way, but also the Fleet river / sewer.
     
  15. Abpj17

    Abpj17 Member

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    Great thread.

    I rather like the over-the-top Victorian structure - it's grand and beautiful in its own way. London is an amazing and eclectic mix of historical styles.

    I like quite a lot of the modern station - the shopping arcade is good. The catering past the eurostar gateline is pretty poor though - and compared to what was at Waterloo. The Thameslink platforms are pretty characterless too and the toilets are bizarrely inconvenient and out of the way.

    What style would you prefer? Of the major stations I've spent the most time in, I like most of them less than St P
    - London Liverpool Street just feels quite grimey
    - Lille Europe is huge and drafty
    - London Blackfriars has a beautiful view from the bridge...but it's so exposed to the cold/wind that it's horrible to wait at late at night. For what is close to a 24/7 service, someone could have thought a bit more about that.
     
  16. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    In July 1968, I had an LMR rover ticket, and - lacking funds and given that there were night trains at the time - on two occasions I enjoyed the cushions of a Mk 1 on a sleeper from Preston to Euston, then walked to St Pancras at 03.30 or so to catch the 04.25 St Pancras - Derby (and more Mk 1 cushion experience en route back to Lancashire for the last days of steam).

    In the early morning silence on Euston Rd, suddenly seeing the grandeur of the former St Pancras hotel, lit by all the streetlighting was a genuinely awesome experience that remains with me to this day.
     
  17. duffield

    duffield Member

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    Understood, I assumed it was impractical and anyhow Eurostar was always going to get the prime spot.
     
  18. Grumpy

    Grumpy Member

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    Was it the home of S&ISD? I seem to recall the BT Hotels people being based there in the mid 70's but at that time I thought S&ISD staff were based at Liverpool St and Croydon.
    With regard to the allocation of less attractive outposts and buildings to international departments, that presumably includes Hovercraft. They had some decent offices in Finsbury Square and the finance staff were on the Isle of Wight-arguably the most attractive location on BR
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2020 at 09:41
  19. Merle Haggard

    Merle Haggard Member

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    I think that you're right - I can also only remember BTH at St.P.. When I started with the freight trainferry organisation it had just moved from Eversholt House but I recollect that some of my colleagues had previously worked at Liverpool St., and indeed still commuted via there. Certainly in my time Southern House, Croydon was the accounting centre (later moved to Brighton).
     

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