So Network Rail has almost finished the refurbishment of the station and is merrily PR-ing it. I was pleased that Tom Edwards at the BBC picked up on our long term work here exposing the cost over runs and the divisive nature of a project that cut a community in half. Tom’s blog picks up more details. It was good a to get a bit of balance into what has otherwise been hagiographic coverage across the media.
As I said in a recent article, I won’t stint in my praise of the trades that built the extension but you have to question the management. I’ve been back through my videos and I have Ian Fry a Director of Network Rail in questioning by Sophie Talbot at a public meeting in July 2008 confirming that the budget was £400 million then – it is now expected to turn out at £514 million according to the regulator – 25% over budget a mere £100 million.
It’s also worth taking an historical perspective – in 1852 The Morning Chronicle reported the northern railway Director being jeered by shareholders as he reported
‘the extravagant sums that were laid out in Kings-cross’
Of course, it remains to be seen if the new design works. One thing worth watching on Monday, or more so on the evening of Friday week is the footbridge. To get on the long distance trains everyone has to go over a footbridge. When several trains all leave at once or with very short notice of platform allocation will the access footbridge over the tracks and the down escalators be big enough to cope with thousands of people and their wheelie luggage as they stampede to get from the West to platforms 1-4. Indeed it’s worth working out whether the new bridge is substantially bigger or not than the old Handyside bridge of Harry Potter fame that was removed.