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King's Cross Railway Lands

While negotiations for purchase of the land for King's Cross passenger station were stalled, William Cubitt, the Consulting Engineer, persuaded the GNR board to construct a temporary station at Maiden Lane in 1850. When the passenger station opened in 1852, the facade featured a clock tower with four faces of Dent's award winning clock from the Great Exhibition to show railway time.
On the other side of the Regent's Canal, King's Cross Goods Depot played an important role in provisioning the metropolis, primarily from the eastern parts of the country that the East Coast Main Line and its branch lines served.
The East Coast Main Line was in direct competition with the West Coast Main Line for passenger services to Scotland, and the race to the north had several phases over the 40 years from the late 1880s, culminating in the Flying Scotsman, probably the most famous train of all.
The most coveted job for most railwaymen was that of driver of the long distance passenger express locomotives, a self-contained aristocracy of the working class. To reach this exalted position, they had to climb a ladder with many rungs, starting as cleaners of steam locomotives, a dirty and dangerous job. After the First World War, as economic decline took its toll of the workforce, loyalty to the railway company was weakened and a group of union men of high intellectual calibre took on management. 
The Beeching Report of 1963 hastened the end of wagonload traffic and recommended a national network of terminals served by express freightliner trains. The first, at king's Cross, was also the first to be withdrawn. King's Cross Railway Lands fell into decline as the combustion engine increasingly took on the duties of collection, transport and distribution. The industrial ruins thus created attracted a wealth of private initiatives, which colonised the vacant spaces. 

Maiden Lane terminus
GNR passenger station
The station clock
Provisioning the Metropolis
Flying Scotsman: the race to the North
Working with steam - a dirty and dangerous job
The aristocracy of the working class
The Freightliner initiative
Private initiatives amid industrial ruins