‘Experience design’ agency Active Thinking – which has worked on projects including Heathrow’s Terminal 5, the 2012 Olympics and Gatwick Station - will conduct a study on expansion at St. Pancras with results due this autumn

HS1 Ltd has appointed specialist design consultancy Active Thinking to carry out an in-depth study into expanding capacity at St. Pancras International Station as demand for international rail travel continues to grow.

The study will include assessing the most efficient means of running increased services from St. Pancras International.

In recent months, several companies have expressed interest in operating international train services on the high-speed line and Eurostar has announced ambitious plans to grow from 19 million passengers to 30 million by 2030.  

A three-step approach will assess how to optimise the current station infrastructure, cater for continued growth of international passengers and examine the impact and cost of expansion.  

The team of design specialists will investigate how modern approaches and technological solutions could be used to increase passenger flows through the station whilst ensuring customers continue to enjoy an efficient and seamless experience at the historic St. Pancras station. Active Thinking will deliver their report in Autumn 2024.

The new study comes as international passenger numbers have continued to bounce back since the pandemic, with Eurostar reporting a record 22% year-on-year jump in passenger numbers across its five-country network, including routes from London to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.

Active Thinking was selected following a competitive tender process and brings together a specialised, senior team with experience on projects including Heathrow’s Terminal 5, the 2012 Olympics and Gatwick Station.

Richard Thorp, Engineering Director at HS1, said: "To cater for the growing number of people wanting to travel by train, HS1 has ambitious plans to boost capacity at St. Pancras Station.

“We look forward to working closely with the team at Active Thinking to establish the best way to optimise capacity and the climate benefit of travelling by train whilst protecting the unique heritage of London’s historic Grade 1-listed building.”

Charles Brindley, Experience and Spatial Designer at Active Thinking, said: "For this important study into expanding capacity at one of London’s iconic architectural landmarks, we have brought together an experienced and multi-faceted team.

“Our team of experts understand how to adapt transport infrastructure to enable sustainable growth in the built environment, and we are really looking forward to working with HS1 and its partners to help prepare St. Pancras International for the growing demand in train travel to Europe.

Simon LeJeune, Eurostar’s Chief Safety and Stations Officer, said: “Eurostar has bold ambitions to invest in up to 50 new trains and grow to 30 million passengers by 2030. Ensuring there is room to provide a fantastic customer experience at St. Pancras long into the future is key to these plans, so we look forward to seeing how capacity can be expanded at this iconic station.”