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St Pancras International Station. London. UK

Union Railways
Building Construction Engineering ExpertiseInfrastructure Construction
Project partners
Costain, Bachy Soletanche, Emcor Rail

St Pancras International Station. London. UK

St Pancras International Station. London. UK

St Pancras International Station. London. UK

St Pancras International Station. London. UK

St Pancras International Station. London. UK

Full project details

All change: resurrecting the ‘cathedral of the railways’ at the centre of a £9bn regeneration scheme.

St Pancras International operates as one of Europe’s most important rail interchanges, providing passengers with links to some of the continent’s foremost business and lifestyle destinations. 

The rebirth of an icon

The station had fallen into severe disrepair and in 2002, Union Railways decided it was time for change. Laing O'Rourke were awarded the major redevelopment contract as leaders of the integrated CORBER JV. This was an incredibly complex project with the objective of completing essential renovation works to increase the station’s national and international capacity. This involved making extensive changes to the platform configurations, extending and refurbishing the current station and constructing a brand new Thameslink ‘box' underground station. 

Within this remit, we were required to merge the original features of the Grade I listed building with technology from the 21st century. This demanded a sympathetic fusion that struck a balance between the strict English Heritage guidelines and the requirements of the most discerning of modern rail travellers.

Accommodating giants

The construction involved sophisticated sequencing over two phases. The first phase involved finishing the East Deck extension by 2004, which acted as an interim station of up to six platforms. Once the interim station was operational, work proceeded for the second phase: to excavate and build the box for the new Thameslink underground station, complete the West Deck extension and refurbish the Barlow Shed.

The platform reconfiguration required key structural alterations. The exceptional 400m length of the international trains meant that they could only be accommodated by positioning their stop blocks at the south end of the original Barlow Shed. We then extended and strengthened the existing Victorian platforms to the north by 185m, which facilitated the construction of 13 new platforms and installation of their associated systems including the integration of field devices, communication, security, passenger help and life-safety subsystems.

60 million bricks

A major component of the work was the restoration of the structure in strict accordance with the Heritage deeds, keeping as much of the original material as possible. Repairs had to be carried out using approved materials and in a manner that could be reversed if more appropriate methods were identified in the future. Samples of all materials were taken from the original fabric and tested. The original stone used came from extinct quarries, therefore a worldwide search was undertaken by the British Geological Survey to find the closest petrological match to the original.

Restoration also required 60 million bricks, millions of which had to be made from the same clay as the originals (the only area where the clay is found in the UK is Leicestershire). For those bricks that were retained, 150 years of dirt had to be painstakingly removed.

Fit-out for purpose

Throughout the station, passengers are able to enjoy the juxtaposition of restored Victorian architecture with award-winning restaurants, lounges, cafes, Europe's largest champagne bar and a street level with a mixture of primary retail stores and boutiques.

One of the crucial installation requirements was for security, given the station's new international status. The client required state-of-the-art access control, intruder detection and CCTV systems that could be effectively integrated across the whole site to ensure maximum security is upheld at all times. 

When 2,500 became one

Critical project statistics included:

  • 2,500 operatives working on site in unison
  • 2.7 million hours worked without any reportable accidents

This could not have been achieved without a ‘one team’ approach. Openness, trust and transparency were key themes of the CORBER JV approach. These values were underpinned by continuing rigour and control across the project.


  • Quality in Construction  Supreme Awards
  • Project of the Year at the RICS Awards
  • Annual RoSPA Gold Award
  • Three Considerate Constructors Scheme Awards
  • Certificate of Achievement at the Behavioural Safety Good Practice Awards
  • Brick Development Association Supreme Award

Project facts

One of the most sophisticated infrastructure developments in the world

International hub – 13 new platforms have increased passenger capacity to over 50 million a year

‘One team’ approach – 2,500 individuals worked on site at the peak of redevelopment

Innovation – constructed Thameslink station in only 35 weeks

To avoid closures, we relocated the interim station three times to suit the work sequences

This project says a good deal about how we can take a 21st century approach whilst at the same time having due consideration for our heritage.

Her Majesty the QueenHead of State

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