Blog/20131213 Cambridge to Kings Cross and taking the tube

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Cambridge to Kings Cross and taking the tube

There's been a lot of work at King's Cross station, and gradually it seems to be completed. I travel from Cambridge to King's Cross and back ever so often. On my way back, from the south coast or central London, I'll then be trying to catch a particular train at King's Cross to Cambridge. Turns out, that if you follow the signs to get from the tube to the rail, it's not the shortest way. It took me a little while to figure that out. I am sure that if I travelled on a daily basis, I would have figured this out much faster, but only travelling ever so often, it took a little while.

Here's the rule:

When coming from the south (on the Picadilly,

Victoria, or Northern line) to King's Cross, then be at the back of the tube. As you get out, take the exit at the end of the platform (and do not follow the signs to the exit at the middle of the platform).

Here's the background: Basically the south-bound ends of the platforms for those three tube lines are closest to the "old" tube ticket hall. So if you get straight onto the tube as you are coming down from the old ticket hall, on a southbound train, you'll be at the front of the train. If you are coming from the south, you'll be closest to the old ticket hall at the back of the train. You can convince yourself of this by looking at a "3D" plan of the station (links below), and the usual tube map. On the tube map, you'll see that the Northern line goes eastwards at this point, and then turns south. The Victoria line runs westwards at this point, but then also turns south. And the Picadilly line just runs southwards. Look at the "3D" plan: Those three southbound ends of the platform, are quite close together, and lead straight up to the old ticket hall.

The other way of coming up is from the middle of the platforms (for those three lines). However, it means walking along the long corridor into the new ticket hall. Ccertainly when trying to reach platforms 0-8, invariably takes longer. Particularly for the Victoria line, you are walking back and forth quite a bit if you come up on the other exit. I suppose these other exits have got greater capacity, so might be more comfortable at rush hour.

If you are coming in or going from platforms 9-11 (or 9 3/4), particularly for the Northern line, it may be possible that going via the new ticket hall, then the other tube exits (i.e. in the middle of the tube platforms) could be just as fast, but I don't think they would be faster. They are definitely slower when you are trying to reach 0-8.

Not convinced? Try this. Take the Northern line from the south, heading for King's Cross. Be at the back of the train. As you step off the train, turn right and walk the remaining distance along the platform (noticing that the signs to other tube lines and main railway lines point the other way). As you reach the end of the platform, you are turning left. As you come into the short corridor, the escalator is to your right. However, don't take the escalator, but turn left instead, and walk to the lift just round the corner. You are now two floors directly underneath the old ticket hall (see 3D maps below). Of course, you could also have take the escalator. However, the lift goes straight up to the old ticket hall, and you come out right by the barriers. You can't exit the barriers right there, but need to walk along a few of the barriers, and then exit. As you exit the barrier, turn right, go up the short set of steps, and keep bearing right. As you walk along the corridor, you'll see a departure board on your right, and a set of stairs to your right. Go up the stairs to the street level, walk along a little, and turn left (into Kings Cross, through an entrance marked "exit only"), and you come out right by platforms 0-8. Without rushing, it took me less than four minutes to get from the tube to platform 0.

If you're still not convinced, have a look at the maps below!

You can have a look at the 3D map on this site, with an overview available here (not the long walk way into the new ticket hall when you exit the platforms in the middle), and see a close up of the southbound parts of the platforms here (not the elevator, that goes straight from the Northern line platform up into the old ticket hall.


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