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St Pancras station - Eurostar terminal, for trains to the Alps, Paris, Lille, and more destinations

St Pancras station

If you have a bit of time to spare at St Pancras station, it's well worth taking a look around.

It's been called 'the cathedral of railways'. It's a remarkably impressive piece of Victorian Gothic architecture, beautifully cleaned up and restored. The arched roof of the train shed - the largest single-span roof in the world, when it was built - remains hugely impressive. 


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St Pancras station, London

St Pancras: history and architecture

St Pancras station, showing the Barlow train shed

London St Pancras was opened in 1868 by the Midland Railway, to serve as the terminus for trains to the East Midlands and Yorkshire. The architecture is therefore Victorian, and there are two highlights. 

The brick parts of the building are neo-Gothic, with pointed arches, and multi-coloured bricks. This architecture is at its most impressive in George Gilbert Scott's station front on the Euston Road. The station front was originally the Midland Grand Hotel (now the five-star Renaissance hotel). 

The second highlight is the Barlow train shed, named after the architect who designed it. The train shed is the steel and glass roof over the station. It's famous, because it was the largest single-span roof in the world when it was built. It's still a wonderful sight, and it allows daylight to flood into the station.

St Pancras: renovation 

St Pancras station, view of the shopping centre

The station was renovated in the 2000s, at an estimated cost of £800 million. There are now fifteen platforms, a shopping centre, a bus station, and a tube link.

St Pancras: public art

Detail from The Meeting Place statue at St Pancras stationPaul Day statue at London St Pancras

Up at the level of the Eurostar platforms, there are two statues. 

The Meeting Place is a 9m tall bronze statue by Paul Day. It features a couple saying goodbye (or hello?) at the station, with intricate railway-related scenes around the base. The sheer size of it means it makes an impact, but it is not universally popular. Antony Gormley said it is 'a very good example of the crap out there.'

The other statue is of John Betjeman, the poet, who campaigned to save the station in the 1960s.

St Pancras station, John Betjeman statue

St Pancras: current and future use

It is used for Midland Mainline trains, and it's a stop on the Thameslink, as well as being the Eurostar terminus. From 2015, Deutsche Bahn may run trains through the Channel Tunnel, via Brussels to Germany.


Who was St Pancras?

St Pancras station gets its name from St Pancras Old Church, which has existed in that area of London since around the year 314, making it one of the earliest sites of Christian worship in England. The church is named after St Pancras of Rome (not St Pancras of Taormina).
St Pancras of Rome died at the age of just fourteen, in the early 300s, a Christian martyr in Rome. He was buried in a church on the via Aurelia in Rome.