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around the complex, some of which are best accessed by using the subways intended for users of the Underground station. The access route for the Underground is split, with two connections from the St Pancras side and one from Kings Cross.

Cost of time

Passengers value time and the time they spent on different parts of a journey can be aggregated by calculating the ‘generalised cost’ of the journey, usually not in money terms but in total minutes – a reflection of the fact that people’s wallets may be unlim- ited, but not their lifespans. Different parts of the journey are weighted according to how they are perceived by the passenger so that, for example, time spent on the train is weighted at one, while time spent wait- ing for a train is multiplied by a factor of two. In a station, the activity of changing between trains can have a generalised cost of up to 30 minutes, e.g., when people are forced to climb stairs. In reality, the time taken may be much shorter. It just depends on how efficient and convenient it is and how the situation is perceived by passen- gers.

Facilities at stations

Passenger and other users’ facilities must be an integral part of station design, aligned with the size and importance of the hub as a whole. Apart from pedestrian routes de- signed to separate incoming and outgoing flows and areas for general circulation and waiting, there must be a structured ap- proach to establishing the correct location of station facilities and the routes leading to these. Aside from the ticketing facilities mentioned above, there is normally a need for information enquiry points, toilets and waiting rooms – or at least decently shel- tered open areas – for departing passen- gers awaiting trains.

Nowadays the tendency is to limit well- provided waiting lounges to premium pas- sengers paying first class fares, while other passengers are expected to remain in the general circulating areas or to use the cof- fee shops scattered around larger stations.

Retail outlets

Station owners and architects are always looking for ways to develop the commer- cial possibilities of the station and its en- virons. Good retail outlets of the right type can add a useful source of income for the station owners or operators and they help to provide a sense of community and inter- est within the station and its surroundings. They also provide an extra presence within

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the station that reduces the opportunities for crime and vandalism and instils in pas- sengers a better sense of security.

Care must be taken to choose the right kinds of shops and to ensure that the sales and services are appropriate for the sta- tion context. Thus, on a railway that suffers from alcohol-related excesses, it may not be sensible to allow alcohol to be sold and it might be unwise, from a security stand- point, to accept a lease offer from a retailer selling military memorabilia in a gift shop. Fast food shops may also not be desirable because they create the potential for vast quantities of litter.

The usual outlets seen on stations are cafes, sandwich shops, newspaper stalls, book- shops, florists and gift shops. Dry cleaners and shoe repairers are also popular. Larger stations often have room for fashion out- lets. In almost all cases, it is important that the shop fronts are obvious to custom- ers but, at the same time, they must not restrict walkways through the station or obstruct exits, escalators and lifts. Leases must also include a requirement for re- tailers to meet the railway’s fire and safety protection requirements and that staff are properly trained for alarms, evacuation and emergencies. It is essential that station managers regularly inspect retail premises to ensure that they comply with their lease obligations.

The location of retail premises and their proportion in relation to the station size and shape must be designed in at the very earliest stages of the station planning pro- cess. They must not be allowed to fill space that is needed for passenger movement or waiting. Until very recently, Waterloo sta- tion in London had some large retail units spread along the main concourse area. These provided a very good utility for the shoppers, but they prevented passengers moving around freely, obstructed the view

of the large train describer systems and caused serious overcrowding problems whenever services were disrupted. As a consequence of ever-increasing passen- ger numbers, the retail units had to be re- moved to recreate the necessary circulating space. Happily, the visual impact and sta- tion sightlines of the whole concourse area have been hugely improved as a result.

Lifts and escalators

Escalators are essential in areas of stations where large volumes of passengers need to change levels and their location and orien- tation must be carefully thought through. Sufficient space must be allowed at the en- try point to allow a queue to form for peo- ple waiting to use the escalator and more space is needed at the exit point to make al- lowance for those who insist on stopping as soon as they get off. Information signs and customer facilities must not be positioned directly at the escalator exit so that passen- gers are not tempted to crowd the area. A new or rebuilt station will usually provide lifts for disabled passengers but the most common use of these expensive features is by passengers encumbered with luggage who do not want to use stairs or escalators.


We must not forget that a large station involves a wide and complex communica- tions network, including telephone, radio, CCTV, public address, train arrival and departure displays, news media, WiFi and both fixed and variable direction signs. In performance terms, reliable communica- tions are an essential feature of a station, under both normal and emergency condi- tions.

Large steel structures, such as station roofs, can form a considerable obstruc- tion to a communications network if the propagation of electromagnetic waves has

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