We boarded at Lille Europe and flew a cross northern France on the ground. Breakfast was served to us by the staff. There was a minor delay at Calais and then we plunged into the darkness of the Channel Tunnel.
Twenty Five minutes later we emerged again and were soon sailing across southern England toward London. My dad’s phone calculated our speed at 181 mph.
Soon the buildings began to look familiar. I recognized the M25 bridge.
And before we knew it we’d arrived at St. Pancras, London’s most elegant 19th century railway terminal. Last time I’d taken the Eurostar I’d come into Waterloo, and that wasn’t yesterday!
This is a selection of Lumix LX7 photos from the recent trip.
During my wanders around London in April 2013, I visited a variety of London’s stations. For me, London’s stations are far more interesting than the trains. Where the trains tend to be fleets of modern multiple-units, the stations range from Victorian gems to austere examples of Lego-block architecture.
My favorite station is St Pancras. This is a classic railway cathedral. A few years ago it was transformed in to a modern multimodal center. Today, it serves as an international station as well as both a long distance and commuter railway station. It features a shopping mall and luxury hotel. Most impressive is the original architecture, including the pioneer example of a balloon-style arched train-shed, which has been successful integrated into a modern facility.
Kings Cross is adjacent to St Pancras. This has also been recently transformed, and blends historic and contemporary architecture. Interestingly, Kings Cross may be most famous for its mention in the Harry Potter stories. Today, there’s both a Harry Potter shop and a light-hearted platform 9 ¾ for visitors.
On this trip, I passed through London Bridge station and was shocked to see that the old train shed has been demolished! All I saw was a few vestiges of the old iron columns. Fifteen years ago, I made some memorable images inside the shed, and now that it’s gone, I’ll need to dredge these photos from the archives. Another change at London Bridge was nearby construction of a monumental skyscraper, colloquially known as ‘The Shard’.
Clapham Junction is famous as Britain’s busiest station. Still images cannot convey the power of place. Watching trains at Clapham Junction is akin to watching the tide flow in. At rush hours an unceasing parade of trains passes Clapham Junction, with trains flowing in waves. Most impressive is standing at the north end of the station when as many as six trains approach simultaneously.