Network Rail declares £550m five-year programe finished and ready to open

King’s Cross Station’s £550m western concourse is complete and will open to the public next week, Network Rail said today.

It said the five-year project represented the biggest transformation in the station’s 160-year history and would see some 45m passengers a year benefit from a trebling of the concourse size, better lighting, larger destination boards, clearer announcements, and a wider range of shops and restaurants.

The work has involved more than 1,000 tonnes of steel, 1 million specially-made heritage bricks, 5 million ceramic tires and 5 million metres of cabling.

Network Rail chief executive David Higgins said the improvements represented “a symbol of what can be achieved with the right vision, partnerships and a sustained commitment to investing in [the] country’s infrastructure”.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said the station improvements were “stunning” and would play a vital role in the wider regeneration of the capital.

“Together with the architectural marvel of St Pancras and an improved tube station, we have created a truly stunning world class travel hub ensuring a splendid gateway for the millions of people using these stations every year,” he said.

Network Rail said a further phase of development to a different area of King’s Cross station will complete in autumn 2013.

As well as the restoration of the station’s double-barrel roof and famous clock tower, engineers will remove the eyesore 1970s green canopy on Euston Road to reveal Lewis Cubitt’s original façade and create a new public space the size of Leicester Square.