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Photos: High-tech London St Pancras on track

Full steam ahead for "most technologically advanced train station in the world"...
By Tim Ferguson, Contributor on
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1 of 12 Tim Ferguson/ZDNET

Full steam ahead for "most technologically advanced train station in the world"...

This is the impressive 1868 façade of St Pancras train station in London. The station is nearing completion after a 10 year renovation project making it into London's Eurostar terminal, which will take over from Waterloo on 14 November.

The station is the final element in the High Speed 1 rail link project which was initiated by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act in 1996.

silicon.com went along to the station a month before its official opening to take a look at what will - according to its developers, London and Continental Railways (LCR) - make it the most technologically advanced railway station in the world.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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The station will have 13 platforms when it fully reopens on 14 November, with six Eurostar platforms (pictured).

There will also be three domestic operators running out of the station: First Capital Connect, Midland Mainline and Govia - which will run the high speed bullet trains from 2009.

Since the project started in 1997, domestic services into the station have remained operational but have been pushed back beyond the original Barlow train shed.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This is the internet lounge in the Eurostar departure area located below platform level as it currently looks.

Travellers will be able to access the free wi-fi network - which also covers the rest of the station - with space to sit and work.

An LCR spokesman told silicon.com: "It'll be the most technologically advanced station in the world. In terms of adapting the station, we've gone to the nth degree."

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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When the station opens in just over a month's time, this is how the same internet lounge should look.

The area is floored with cedar, which the renovation team found is the quietest surface for wheeling luggage trolleys over.

Photo credit: LCR

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This is one of the departure boards at the station.

LCR is attempting a different model from the one in which passengers congregate around a single departures board.

There will be a number of innovative customer information points around the station as well as small departures board like this one, which will scroll train information.

The LCR spokesman explained the company felt the previous application of technology in railway stations hasn't been imaginative enough.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This shows how the departure boards will fit into the station space.

LCR is also working on a system whereby passengers will receive information about their train departure time and platform number via SMS.

Photo credit: LCR

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This shows the southern end of the St Pancras Barlow train shed and its famous clock.

The clock in place at the moment is actually a temporary copy but is due to be replaced by a full size replica of the original before the official opening.

The new clock will be electrically operated and will be wirelessly linked to the national atomic clock at Anthorn in Cumbria as well as the other clocks in the stations.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This shows the work currently being done on the shopping space located below platform level.

When complete, there will be 67 retail units in the station.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This is how the same space should look once work has been completed.

An LCR spokesman told silicon.com: "We want to invite people and to make London St Pancras an inviting place whether you're getting on a train or not."

Photo credit: LCR

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Security has been a big concern for LCR in developing the new station so the CCTV infrastructure has been upgraded to meet these needs.

This is one of more than 100 CCTV cameras that operate on the station's IP network.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This shows the information desk in the Eurostar business lounge where passengers will wait for their departures.

There are digital glass screens behind the service desks where information and digital content will be displayed.

Photo credit: LCR

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Arriving passengers walk into the original Barlow train shed from the new part of the station where domestic trains have been continuing to operate.

The six Eurostar platforms are to the left.

The original train shed was the largest enclosed space in the world at the time of its construction in 1868 and it seems that it will once again become one of the major gateways into London.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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