On 14 November the first Eurostar train should pull out from the new €1.15bn St Pancras International station headed for Paris. The station has come a long way since the 19th century when it was opened to receive ale deliveries. Since the Midland Railway Company built St Pancras in 1868 it has survived Second World War bombs and the threat of the wrecking ball. Its new look has been overseen by London & Continental Railways.
Entech manufactures a broad range of products including aluminium seating, suspended walkways, sun louvres, steel flooring and lighting. It made the one-tonne lights that hang from the ceiling at Gatwick Airport and a sand exclusion system for the Suez Canal Tunnel. Brian Bailey has managed the company for 35 years.
WB Simpson fitted the station’s 30,000 sq m of terrazzo floor tiles from Turkey. Paul Valler manages the company that was founded by artist William Butler Simpson in 1833. William was interested in wallpapers, but his two sons expanded the tile business when they won a London Underground contract at the end of the 19th century.
The Dutch Navy, Qatar Airport, Hong Kong and New Delhi’s train stations, and several London tube stations have one thing in common: Penton speakers. Some 2,500 bespoke speakers have been fitted at St Pancras International. Penton had to follow the station’s original colour scheme: the ones on the ceiling are Mid Blue.
Carillion’s track will help cut the travel time between London and Paris by 20 minutes to two hours and 15 minutes. In 2006, after its revenues fell, Carillion Rail axed 250 employees. Also that year, Network Rail, the rail infrastructure owner, banned the company because of its poor safety record (the ban was lifted in February 2007).
Anglo-French firm Alstom is the maker of Eurostar’s 27 high-speed trains. Nearly 400m long, they were made in the mid-1990s and can reach speeds up to 300km an hour. Alstom’s V150, built in 2007 (not used by Eurostar), can go up to 574.8km an hour. The parent company employs 65,000 people, and its sales reached over €14bn in 2006.
In 1902, the Orient Express overshot the end of the train track at Frankfurt am Main, crashing into a restaurant. Franz Rawie, who founded railway repair company Rawie in Osnabrück 20 years earlier, set about developing secure track ends. By the 1960s, Rawie buffers equipped the entire German rail network. It is now moving into Russia.
Looking at St Pancras’s ceiling, the structure melts into the sky because of the light blue colour – the idea of Midland Railway’s first stationmaster in 1868. Leighs has recreated the original blue, naming it Mid Blue. Today, Dick Frost is MD of the company, which has manufacturing plants in the UK, Kuwait, Malaysia and the UAE.
Lansley has restored a modernised Victorian elegance to St Pancras – and given it Europe’s longest champagne bar. Lansley, who is London & Continental Railways’ chief architect, also designed the Olympic Park station in Stratford, which can be reached from St Pancras International in seven minutes.