Patisserie Valerie was one of C’s favourite places for coffee, although she didn’t usually have one of their cakes.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a cup of tea in their cafe at Kings Cross station with a friend.
As it is in a generous-sized china cup and I was in the station again getting tickets for a trip tomorrow, I decided to have another tea today. On asked if I’d like anything else, I said that I was gluten-free and that I didn’t think they had anything, But I was wrong, as the picture shows.
Although it was plastic wrapped, it was one of the best brownies I’ve ever tasted. Plastic wrapping is acceptable to preserve gluten-free status, when the cake is of this level of quality.
The large cup of tea and the brownie was reasonably priced at £4.60.
Kings Cross station and its neighbour St. Pancras are getting to be very far removed from the tired memories of British Rail’s curled sandwiches and dreadful coffee of the past.
i know it is the policy of Network Rail to take this good food route and they are to be congratulated on their approach.
I didn’t get to the match at Ipswich on Saturday, as although the Eurostar was on time in London, by the time I got home, it was too late to get a train to the start of the match.
The delays hadn’t been serious, but I wasted ten or fifteen minutes because of a broken Cashpoint, queues at WH Smith for my paper and then no taxis at Kings Cross. I then had to take the Victoria line to Highbury and Islington station and I waited another ten minutes for a bus to get home.
Of course, if they had left luggage lockers, at any of the stations, like St. Pancras, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street or Ipswich, I could have quickly dumped my case and got to the match on time.
But as Ipswich Town lost, I wasn’t too bothered by the evening.
Carluccio’s in St. Pancras Station has started issuing customers with blankets.
I’m not sure, but I’ve used that restaurant for some years now and I’ve never seen the blankets before. A few customers outside had the blankets wrapped snuggly over their laps and around their legs.
Has this winter been that bad? Or are we all getting soft and feel the cold more?
I did find the blankets mentioned in Trip Advisor for March 20th this year.
I took this photograph at St. Pancras station this morning.
It would appear it’s a street piano and that the music and the musicians are well liked.
On Monday, I met a friend, who was travelling from Edinburgh to her daughter’s in Buckinghamshire. A few years ago, this would have been difficult, but now we met and walked into St. Pancras for supper before taking a taxi to Marylebone.
The pictures show the new ticket hall.
We could have ate in any number of places in King’s Cross, including the excellent Leon, whereas a few years ago, it would have just been sandwiches.
The one problem with meeting someone is that as the arrivals area is not finished yet, there is no obvious place to wait. But that will hopefully be sorted when the 1960s extension has been consigned to the dustbin.
London has two of the finest stations in the world sitting side-by-side on Euston Road. It all makes Euston, which is just up the road even more of a dump.
One of the ironies of all of this rebuilding, is that in ten years time, I suspect I’ll think that King’s Cross will be the better station, as it is growing into a superb fusion of the old and the modern. But then I always have a soft spot for Kings Cross as I can remember the A4 Gresley Pacifics in the station. These must be the most iconic steam engines ever produced in the UK.
As I sat in Carluccio’s having my coffee yesterday, I could only see the clock behind me, with a bit of difficulty.
So I got to thinking, that St. Pancras station might need a clock at the other end.
In the September 2012 edition of Modern Railways, there is a small article about the reburying of 300 people from old burial grounds discovered during the building of a new rail flyover that carries the trains for Charing Cross over the top of Borough Market.
Apparently, the novelist Thomas Hardy was involved in the removal of bodies, when St. Pancras station was built in the 19th Century.
I think in this day and age, it was good to see that Network Rail ensured that the new burials in a special plot at the new Kemnal Park cemetery were respectful and echoed how funerals were conducted at the time of the original burials. There is a series of photos here.
St. Pancras and Kings Cross stations sit above one of the biggest Underground stations in London; Kings Cross St. Pancras. Over the last few years, the moles have been burrowing deep under and between the stations to make the access between all three stations, accessible for those in wheel-chairs and with heavy cases. It’s not perfect, especially, if you want to make a quick transfer to an Underground line, but it’s a lot better than it was.
Edinburgh Waverley has always been difficult for passengers, unless you arrive and leave in a taxi, as walking up the famous Waverley Steps has not been easy for anybody with a mobility problem. Network Rail are improving the station, by glazing the enormous roof properly with clear glass to get more light into the station and installing lifts to improve disabled access. You’d think the installation of lifts would be welcomed, but I was surprised to read this article in the Edinburgh Guide. Here’s an extract.
Two 16-person lifts now descend to Waverley from the roof of the Princes Mall. Also, as part of the “Waverley Steps Improvement Project” a new covered step and escalator access has been put in between Princes Street and the north entrance to Waverley station.
“The ‘Windy Steps’ have been given a vital upgrade and are now accessible and convenient for all passengers,” said David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, of the “stylish and bright” new entrance.
Personally, I liked it the way things were. Trudging up and down the broad staircase of the well-worn stone slabs of Waverley Steps, there was a sense of walking in the footsteps of millions of travellers before me.
Lifts and escalators leave me cold. The building materials have little of the traditional quality or aesthetic of Edinburgh’s New Town and Old Town architecture. The machinery usually requires large amounts of energy (more CO2 emissions), seeing as they are running all day.
They are, frankly, utilitarian and ugly.
That gives me the impression, that they think things should have been left the way they are.
I travel extensively by train and if you look at Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Newcastle, Sheffield and London Paddington and Waterloo, all have been or are being upgraded to improve the passenger experience.
I suppose the writer would perhaps prefer Edinburgh Waverley to revert to diesel or even steam power for the trains, as they are more in keeping with the history of Edinburgh.
When I took the Javelin to the Olympic Park, I noticed this big hole between the two stations.
Looking at this map, it would appear it’s just more offices, with retail underneath.
Could this be deemed boring? A nice public piazza or even some more platforms for the two stations might have been better! But then that wouldn’t have been so profitable.
It is being reported this morning, that the Midlands Main Line from St. Pancras station to Sheffield is going to be electrified. At present it only goes as far as Bedford, which must be one of the most stupid planning decisions by Railtrack and its predecessors.
But then there are several cases, where electrification stopped in the UK, rather than continue to its logical conclusion. I remember as a teenager, that the original plans for electrification in East Anglia included the branch line to Felixstowe. It should probably have included Ely to Norwich and Norwich to Yarmouth as well. Now there is a strong case to electrify Ipswich to Peterborough to haul all that freight from Felixstowe. Although the last bit would be difficult due to the number of bridges on the line, but hopefully when the line was upgraded for larger containers, they did it to allow for electric wires as well. But knowing the muppets in the Department of Transport, that like to think it’s their railway, deliberately didn’t, so that electrification would stay in the sidings.
This is what surprises me about Midland Main Line electrification being announced. Logically, it should be done before the Great Western, as it is a smaller scheme, doesn’t have a difficult tunnel like the Severn Tunnel and many of the current trains can be converted to electric operation, as I posted here. I think it is mostly three track too, which helps with the engineering.
But when do governments do things logically?
Have they seen sense or does Justine Greening read the railway press?
It will be interesting what is said on Monday.
Thinking about this more, we have to take into account the fact that a spur into Heathrow from the west has also been announced. Putting my old project management hat back on, I can’t help feeling that underneath all this is some very good project management. Three electrification projects on the go at the same time, all relatively close together mean that the expensive electreification train that Railtrack has bought can be fully utilised.