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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
King's Cross tube revamp starts
The new Western Ticket Hall  under St Pancras forecourt
Passenger numbers are expected to rise by 50%
Work to develop King's Cross underground station into a major transport hub has started.

Transport Minister John Spellar officially launched the 250m expansion which will form the underground connections with the Channel Tunnel rail link.

Thousands of extra passengers are expected to be travelling through King's Cross when Eurostar services begin at neighbouring St Pancras station in 2007.

Passenger levels at King's Cross, already one of the busiest in the London Underground network, could increase by more than 50%.

Safety issue

St Pancras station will be transformed into one of the largest passenger interchanges in Europe.

It is planned as the main gateway in London to Europe, as well as providing Midland Main Line services and high-speed trains to Kent.

Mr Spellar said: "It's about providing an effective international transport system with considerable improvements for the London travelling public.

King's Cross station
King's Cross was built in Victorian times

"Let's be frank, the facilities at King's Cross have not been good for many years."

Already 55,000 people a day pass through King's Cross tube station, which is more than 100 years old.

The figure is expected to rise to more than 80,000 in 2007 when the work is completed.

London Underground says the expansion scheme will make passenger movement safer and address the remaining safety issues raised by the King's Cross fire.

Paul Godier, managing director of London Underground Ltd (LUL), said: "This will be the last brick in the wall - the last recommendation to relieve congestion and improve the interchange between the different tube parts of the station."

Two new ticket halls are being built and there will be stair-free access for disabled travellers.

New lifts and subways will serve passengers using the Channel Tunnel Rail Link station at St Pancras as well as tube travellers.

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See also:

15 Oct 01 | England
Tube revamp on show
11 Oct 01 | England
Tube strike called off
10 Oct 01 | England
'Last ditch' talks on Tube strike
09 Oct 01 | England
Tube line extensions 'approved'
24 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Tube plans branded 'flawed'
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