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On the Right Track

2 minute read
Paige Reddinger

London’s latest hot spot is neither a three-star restaurant nor a private club. It’s the St. Pancras International Station—with its $1.6 billion renovation—whose Victorian towers have loomed over Kings Cross for more than a century. The buzz is all about the new Eurostar trains, which will stop at the completely revamped St. Pancras, in the center of London, en route to and from Paris and Brussels and cut transit time by approximately 20 to 25 minutes The trains will service other British cities as well. More important, the station, which was nearly destroyed in the 1960s when British Rail wanted to develop the surrounding property (poet laureate Sir John Betjeman made it his mission to save the building from demolition), will revive the surrounding neighborhood. Also being restored is what will be the nearby five-star Marriott Renaissance Hotel in the old St. Pancras Chambers building, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, who was also responsible for the Houses of Parliament. In addition to hotel rooms, the Marriott Renaissance will contain multimillion-dollar condos—the last of which just sold for $24 million.

The new station promises to revolutionize travel throughout the United Kingdom. “It’s going to be a huge boost to the southeast of England, and we hope it will act as a catalyst to high-speed travel throughout the U.K.,” says Shirin Homawala of London & Continental Railways. Travelers waiting for their trains (the station allows more than 40 trains to depart an hour) can sip bubbly at Europe’s longest champagne bar or peruse the abundance of shops, including an organic market.

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