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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Dear Old Pink Pancras

Whether he would have approved of the over-supply of retail “opportunities” packed into the station and its undercroft, John Betjeman, whose statue stands at the western side of Barlow’s great trainshed at St Pancras, would be mightily relieved that the station has survived.

Moreover, with the cleaning of the roof, we can see what the structure would have looked like back in 1868, before decades of steam traction left its mark. The glazed panels let the light flood in: it’s only a pity that our border controls forbid anyone bar Eurostar passengers from getting past the security screens.

The recently expanded station is worth a visit. It shows that we can do impressive and worthwhile civil engineering – and it’s a sight better organised than, for instance, Madrid’s Puerta de Atocha terminus, which is a bit of a warren, despite the palm house.

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