After 40 years of not being used, the third tunnel at London King’s Cross has reopened, with the first LNER Azuma passenger train arriving into Platform 0 at 07:01 this morning, after departing York at 04:40.
The reopening of the Eastern Gasworks Tunnel is part of the East Coast Upgrade which provides two additional tracks to reduce congestion in the station area.
Video footage of the arrival can be watched below, thanks to LNER:
Warrick Dent, LNER Safety and Operations Director, said: “Today marks a major milestone in the transformation of LNER services that are being made possible by the East Coast Upgrade. While work continues until June, seeing our first Azuma passenger service arrive through the reopened tunnel means we’re even closer to being able to offer our customers even faster, more frequent and smoother journeys.”
Dr David Turner, a railway historian with the University of York, said: “The eastern bore of the King’s Cross Gasworks Tunnel was originally opened in the late-19th century to improve the capacity of the approaches to King’s Cross Station. Over the years everything from suburban services ferrying people between home and work, to elite trains taking people away for leisure has passed through its portals. The late-1970s saw the tunnel mothballed as tracks were rationalised at King’s Cross. The preservation of the tunnel has ensured that this piece of Victorian railway engineering could be brought back into use, to improve the services of the railway, a purpose its original engineers would have recognised.”
Train drivers are in training to learn the new layout ahead of the first passenger services.
LNER driver, Melvyn Lake was a secondman when the tunnel closed in the 1970s. He said: “It has been fantastic to experience the transformation first-hand. Before it closed more than 40 years ago, I remember heading through the tunnel while working as a 17-year-old Secondman, and only inbound services used it then. I didn’t imagine then that decades later it would reopen and that I would be driving customers through it.”
LNER is operating a temporary timetable until early June, when engineering work at Kings Cross is due to be completed. Passengers are being asked to check before travelling.
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