PASSENGERS from Paris and Brussels will now arrive at the stunningly-renovated St Pancras station, which with the adjacent Midland Hotel forms a masterpiece of Victorian architecture on the government's list of 9 137 buildings considered of Grade I importance.
London & Continental sees St Pancras International as a 'destination' at the heart of local urban regeneration plans, which non-passengers will visit for the shops and bars. The King's Cross area's past seedy reputation is being dispelled with the development of new housing, offices and businesses at the stations and on the extensive railway lands at the station approaches. Apartments are to be developed at St Pancras, and the long-closed Midland Hotel is being rebuilt to modern standards.
- CAPTION: St Pancras and the King's Cross terminus of the East Coast Main Line form a huge transport complex served by six Underground lines
- CAPTION: The King's Cross side of the extended station will be used by Domestic Services from 2009, while four platforms on the west are already used by trains to the Midlands. A new Thameslink station beneath St Pancras opens on December 9
EBBSFLEET International station will be served by Eurostar from November 19, and by Southeastern's domestic services from December 2009. Less than 5 km from the M25 London orbital motorway and close to the Dartford road crossing of the River Thames, the six-platform Ebbsfleet International will have 9 000 parking spaces , of which 2 500 will be within 5 min walk of check-in. Competing with airports for convenient road access, Ebbsfleet is also expected to become a major departure point for passengers who currently drive to their local station to catch a train to access Waterloo. Eurostar estimates Ebbsfleet's catchment area at 10 million people, and free travel on Southeastern trains will be available for connecting passengers. From 2009 domestic services will put Ebbsfleet 17 min from St Pancras.