Norfolk rail commuters will reap the benefits of a new-look London King’s Cross
New western concourse to ease passenger congestion at train station hub for eastern counties
Rail travellers from Norfolk will be among those to benefit the most from a massive redevelopment project at London's King's Cross station.
Commuters arriving at the station on Monday morning will see the new western concourse - the focal point of the project and an eye-catching feat of engineering producing a huge open space designed to keep congestion down.
First Capital Connect operates trains from King's Lynn via Downham Market and Cambridge and has 15 million journeys linked with King's Cross - the majority of them involving platforms 9, 10 and 11 which run directly alongside the new concourse.
It is this side of the station where Norfolk passengers often end-up pushing against the flow of human traffic using platform 8 to reach platform 9 which has been added to the end of it.
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'These platforms have been the poor relations for too long. Commuters want to be in and on their train in the fastest possible time and not battling against a stream of traffic coming the other way,' said Roger Perkins, of First Capital Connect.
The company has added 61 extra train carriages and more than 11,850 seats during rush hour and has also put a 12-carriage trains from London to Cambridge.
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Passengers from the East Coast Main Line also use the station and those embarking on longer journeys, who may have a little time to spare, were in mind with the development of a mezzanine floor complete with restaurants and shopping facilities.
The trains run out of London via Peterborough and as far as Inverness - an eight hour journey from the capital.
The new-look has also come in time for London 2012 when thousands of extra passengers are expected to be using public transport around the Olympic games.
'King's Cross is one of the most important transport hubs in the UK,' said Network Rail spokesman Graham Goodwin.
'This project has been done with no closures at the station and it will make a real difference for everyone who uses it,' he added.
The station's original ticket hall within the development, first opened in 1852, has been restored and opened again complete with Victorian features. It had closed after 1970s 'improvements' and became a plant room.
The London station has 47 million passengers using the station every year and was bursting at the seams in terms of capacity, and a further ten million people are expected to use it within the next decade.
The development is part of a major �440m project which started in 2009 with refurbishment of the eastern side of the station and will end next autumn with the completion of a new square at the front of the building when the 1970s frontage is removed.
The new western concourse also includes a pub, restaurants and retail outlets and a new footbridge will help reduce the number of passengers fighting their way across the platforms to catch their train.
It faces St Panacras and also sits directly above the new northern ticket hall for the London underground network.
The redevelopment programme has been a catalyst for one of the largest regeneration schemes in Europe which will see 67 acres of brownfield land redeveloped to creat eight million square foot of offices, retail and new homes.