Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kings Cross railway station
Kings Cross (or King's Cross) station is a railway station in Kings Cross to the north east of central London, England. It is located in the borough of Islington, and is the southern terminus of the East Coast Main Line. It is immediately adjacent to St Pancras station.
The station serves routes to the North East of the UK, including Cambridge, York, Durham, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Kings Cross also incorporates a major Underground station known as King's Cross St. Pancras, which is a principal interchange station on the Tube network.
Three train companies run services into the station:
- GNER - inter-city services on the East Coast Main Line.
- WAGN - shuttle services to Cambridge and King's Lynn, local services to North London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Peterborough.
- Hull Trains - inter-city services to Hull via the East Coast Main Line.
West of Kings Cross are, in succession, St Pancras, the new British Library building, and Euston station, all within a few minutes' walk. The present King's Cross Thameslink station is 5 minutes' walk to the east.
The new London terminus of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link is being built in an area immediately north of Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations. Eurostar trains (to France, not those on loan to GNER) are due to arrive there in 2007, in the second phase of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project.
Considerable regeneration effort has gone into the area in recent years, with the opening of new hotels and office space under construction.
Kings Cross was originally designed and built as the London hub of the Great Northern Railway and terminus of the East Coast Main Line. It was designed by Lewis Cubitt and constructed in two years from 1851 to 1852, on the site of a former fever and smallpox hospital. The main part of the station, which today includes platforms 1-8, was opened on October 14, 1852. The platforms have been reconfigured several times; originally there was only one arrival and one departure platform (today's platforms 1 and 8 respectively), with the space between used for carriage sidings. In later years as suburban traffic grew, space for additional platforms was added with considerably less grandeur; the secondary building now containing platforms 9-11 survives from that era.
Since privatisation, express services into the station have been run by Great North Eastern Railway (GNER). According to legend it is built on the site of Boudicca's final battle, or else her body is buried under one of the platforms there.
The original "King's Cross" was a monument to King George IV.
King's Cross in Fiction
Kings Cross features in the Harry Potter books, by J. K. Rowling, as the starting point of the Hogwarts Express. The train uses a secret platform 9¾ located by passing through the barrier between platforms 9 and 10.
Unfortunately, platforms 9 and 10 are in a separate building from the main station and face each other across the intervening tracks: Rowling intended the location to be in the main part of the station, but misremembered the platform numbering (in a 2001 interview she indicated she had actually confused King's Cross with Euston; hence also the wall/barrier confusion).
When the books were filmed, the main station was used, with platforms 4 and 5 renumbered for movie purposes as 9 and 10. In the 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' film the exterior of the nearby St Pancras Station was used as St Pancras with its impressive gothic facade was considered more impressive than the real Kings Cross. A cast iron "Platform 9¾" sign has been erected on a wall of the station's suburban building where the real platforms 9 and 10 are.
The Doctor Who novel Transit features King's Cross as one of the main hubs of an interplanetary transit system based on the London Underground.
In children's television programmes featuring the puppet Roland Rat, Roland is said to live in the sewers beneath Kings Cross. Roland Rat:The Series shows this as a high tech "Ratcave", accessed from a hidden lift in a workman's shelter.
The name is variously spelt both with and without an apostrophe:
- Kings Cross is the name for the surrounding area, as supported by both style guides and general usage. Reference: 
- Google searches also say that Kings Cross station is more common than King's Cross station
- King's Cross is the "official" signage on both the railway and tube stations; it is also used on the London Underground maps...
- but Kings Cross is the "official" usage in the timetable database, as well as being used on other "official" railway pages...
- and, as of 2004, the new official Network Rail webpage now uses the "King's Cross" spelling 
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