Eurostar St Pancras Terminal

Eurostar, St Pancras Terminal

The Challenge

AiQ Consulting was asked by the high-speed railway service, Eurostar to apply our extensive terminal knowledge from the aviation industry to carry out a capacity and feasibility assessment for St Pancras terminal.

The terminal’s business lane is an immensely busy 50 metre stretch. The process for business passengers compromises priority check in, screening, UK emigration and passport control under French immigration before business passengers travel on either to their business lounges or the general departure waiting area.

Passenger security, check in and immigration is highly compressed into a very small space due to terminal constraints. At busy times this makes processing passenger movements very difficult and can cause large queues.

The main constraint was French immigration. We were required to look at new technology like immigration gates to relieve the congestion in this point of the process.

This was the critical area of capacity. Would electronic gates improve flow, reduce overall time and reduce queuing areas as required?

The Solution

Alongside Gebler Tooth Architects , AiQ Consulting were asked to look at how to:

  • Speed up the process of the business lane,
  • Improve the use of the business lane area,
  • Improve access to business lounges,
  • Validate whether electronic gates for French immigration would speed up and improve the process.

Our team carried out a feasibility study with detailed customer surveys and architectural studies, simulated business passenger flow and presented a number of options to Eurostar. These considered the impact of online check–in and/or an e-ticket barrier, as well as improvements to security screening machines, searches, exit checks for UK border authorities and more.

The Benefit

The six options were presented to Eurostar were very well received. The client was very pleased with how well we worked their operations team and their London-based development team and they were extremely satisfied with the outcome. As capacity planning specialists and skilled operational consultants, we were able to engage confidently with the stakeholders in the railway industry.

As a result of these options, which Eurostar are still considering, we were then asked to provide input into a second project. This was a seating capacity assessment within their departure area. This job will take AiQ onto the next stage, the Scheme phase from Eurostar’s chosen option.

  • Improved passenger customer service and airport experience
  • Optimised capacity within existing structures
  • Efficient communications and decisive management
  • Use of data and simulation to provide effective capacity planning
  • Prevented unnecessary investment costs.
  • Efficient stakeholder management

Image Source: By Ed Webster – London St Pancras International, CC BY 2.0, (, via Wikimedia Commons