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Thursday, June 13, 2024

London’s changing stations

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A series of aerial photographs have been released today showing how major redevelopments are changing the face of London’s railway stations.

Views include the new concourse roof at King’s Cross, the development of Farringdon where Thameslink and Crossrail services will meet the Tube, and the changes at Stratford in the shadow of the Olympic stadium.

The newly completed Shard can also be seen in images of the London Bridge and Borough viaduct which is being redeveloped as part of the Thameslink project.

London Bridge: When completed, the redeveloped station will see more than 90 million passengers each year.

The images were taken last month by the Network Rail helicopter which flies daily to monitor the network checking for faults or potential issues.

Simon Kirby, managing director for infrastructure projects for Network Rail, said: “London’s stations are changing massively both on the ground and from the sky, and there’s more to come.

“King’s Cross is a great example of retaining the grandeur of original Victorian architecture but bringing new and modern facilities for the 21st century passenger and Stratford has changed remarkably ahead of the Games.

“As well as providing some spectacular images which we are happy to share, aerial photography is extremely useful to us to see these complex developments from a bird’s eye view.”


  1. Re your headline picture caption:
    Why tell me that the new concourse is the size of three swimming pools? Are we talking volume or area or length?
    I do understand normal metric or imperial measures. What does your house style guide recommend?

    • You raise an interesting question about units of measurement. As railway engineers, we naturally work, not in feet or metres, but in chains. A chain is equivalent to 22 yards or 66 feet, and is broken down into 100 links or 4 rods.
      A swimming pool, if it is of Olympic size, is 2 chains and 48 links long by 1 chain 24 links wide. As you can immediately see, it is therefore almost exactly 10 rods long by 5 rods wide – Olympic pool designers must have originally used the rod system before being forced to go metric by foreign influences. The pool therefore has an area of 50 perches (square rods).
      The new concourse therefore must occupy 150 perches. If you use the metric system, this is equivalent to just about 38 ares, as one are is slightly more than 3.95 perches.
      However, I quite agree that this could be confusing.  The writer should simply have stated it was just over a third the size of an international rugby pitch.  That would have been much simpler!

      • As we are English and the unit of choice is a chain then we really should use wickets as the ratio is easy to understand.

      • An Olympic pool is 25 m x 50 m.  Three of them is 3750 m², or 37.5 a, if you prefer.  Your length is about 0.55 link off, and the whole problem is more easily solved by using the chains to anchor a boat and using the metric dimensions of a metric pool.

  2. Why no link to the other pix in this set? They are spectacular.

    Britain is a sea-faring nation. The units should be fathoms. Especially for swimming pools.

  3. Looking at the picture of the roof over St.Pancras brought back some memory’s from the late 70’s. As a young Train Driver a couple of us climbed up on to the top of the roof, great views, not something that we would be allowed to do today I suspect. 


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