• Cathedrals of the Iron Horse

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by Gilbert B Norman
An interesting essay appearing in Sunday's New York Times:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/01/18/tr ... adsup.html

Brief passage:

  • WHEN railroad passengers from Europe reach London these days, and emerge from the tunnels blinking into the sunlight, they may be forgiven for thinking they have arrived not at a train station, but in the chancel of a vast Victorian cathedral.

    It is a holy-looking place with a holy-sounding name: St. Pancras. After 50 years of neglect, decay and the threat of demolition only a decade ago, this north London terminal has become once more a consecration of the railway art, a place of soaring ceilings, intricate inlaid stonework, scores of gargoyles, acres of stained glass, fluted iron columns, corbels, crocketed finials — all the components of ecclesiastic glory on splendid view, and yet for nothing more mundane than the arrival and departure of railway trains.

    More than a billion dollars was spent on the refurbishment, and a year on from its opening, few are the Britons, fewer still the Europeans, who complain. St. Pancras International Station’s combination of imperturbable solidity, high church magnificence, much-loved statuary (including one of the poet, John Betjeman, who helped to save it) and the constant and very visible rush and rumble of its trains, has managed to bring flash and glamour and style back to the world of British railways.

    Not for nothing was the terminal named for a patron saint of children: parents now bring hundreds of youngsters there each day to see and experience a monument to mechanized movement like few others in existence.