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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 03:48 GMT
Queen to open St Pancras station
A Eurostar train at St Pancras
Eurostar trains now use high-speed track from Paris to London

The Queen is to formally open London's St Pancras station later following a refurbishment costing 800m.

Work began on transforming the station in 2001 to enable it to accommodate domestic rail services and Eurostar trains to and from France and Belgium.

More than 150 years of dirt has been removed from the brick work and a new roof has been fitted with 18,000 panes of self-cleaning glass.

The front of the station will open as a five-star hotel in 2009.

As part of its refurbishment, the station has been fitted with state-of-the-art technology including Wifi, touch-screen monitors and passenger information screens in all 60 retail units.

St Pancras will eventually be five stations in one - housing Eurostar, high-speed domestic services to Kent from 2009, Midland Mainline, Thameslink and six Tube lines.

'Crown jewel'

Developer London & Continental Railways said St Pancras International was the jewel in the crown of a 5.8bn project running over 10 years, bringing high speed rail travel to the UK.

HAVE YOUR SAY
It will be so nice to see St Pancras back to its former glory
Vincent Copeland, UK

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will open train company Eurostar's new terminal at St Pancras station and also the completed Channel Tunnel Rail Link that has enabled Eurostar trains to start and finish journeys there.

Now to be known as High Speed 1 (HS1), the 68-mile link runs from St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel opening at Folkestone, in Kent.

The evening ceremony will involve three trains arriving at St Pancras and their drivers meeting the Queen.

She will also be introduced to those who have transformed the late-Victorian building into a 21st Century terminal.

Eurostar is switching its terminal from Waterloo station to St Pancras and will be offering quicker journey times on services from London to Paris and Brussels.

The French completed their high-speed Channel Tunnel link in 1993, while the Belgians completed their link in the late-1990s.

Chris Green, Railway Forum chairman said HS1 was "really a trailer for what we could be enjoying across the length of Britain".


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SEE ALSO
In pictures: St Pancras reborn
05 Nov 07 |  In Pictures

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