King's Cross station was the terminus of the Great Northern Railway and was opened in 1852. Designed by Lewis Cubitt, it replaced a temporary station at Maiden Lane. It established itself as the London terminus of what is now known as the East Coast Main Line to Edinburgh. From 1862, at 10 a.m. every weekday, the Flying Scotsman left King's Cross for the north, initially taking over ten hours to complete the journey but now taking only four hours from Edinburgh to London. Some of Britain's most famous locomotives, from the Ivatt Atlantics to the A3 and A4 Pacifics, Deltics and HSTs, have sped north from King's Cross.The underground station below the main line station encompasses six lines and was the scene of the disastrous King's Cross fire in 1987, following which it was rebuilt. King's Cross itself has been redeveloped many times over the years, and a fictional platform (93/4) made famous in the Harry Potter novels. Its Grade 1 listed facade has been revamped and the station improved to increase capacity.
John Christopher has written and edited a number of books on Engineering, Military History and Railway and Road Transport, specializing in the life and works of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and being the series editor for Amberley's Bradshaw's Guides series. He has also appeared in Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys television series. In between writing books, he is a balloon pilot and Land Rover fan. He lives in Gloucestershire.
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