Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book

Subscribe

John Betjeman's the only passenger at St Pancras Station now

Blog | By Harry Mount | Apr 03, 2020

The statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras (Credit: Harry Mount)

This was the scene at St Pancras Station today, on a Friday afternoon.

This is just the moment when, normally, the station is gearing up for the rush hour, the crush exacerbated by the crowds going home early for the weekend.

Not today. I walked round St Pancras and King's Cross for 20 minutes this afternoon and, apart from a few policemen, cleaners and station workers, I saw only two commuters. And this statue of John Betjeman, the sainted poet who did so much to save St Pancras and its neighbouring hotel from crazy destruction.

The more crowded bits of London used to be, the odder they are today. The stations are still open but there are so few trains that I didn't hear a single one leave while I was there. One lone Eurostar train sits stationary in the tracks - you can see it to the right of the picture above.

St Pancras wasn't quite quiet. There was the long, steady hum of a heater or ventilator in the background. How I longed for the noise of the crowds I used to hate at train stations.