A train station costs twice as much as the Scottish Parliament

Remember the brouhaha and fuss when the Scottish Parliament costs soared to £550 million?

I was never one of the complainants who felt we should have had a flat pack seat of power at a cost of buttons ha’penny.

I still shut down whenever I hear parliamentary observers droning on about the cost of the building. And I suspect there aren’t many people -includingme – who really catch the subtleties of Enrico Miralles’ design.

It’s been described as “Disneyland for pigeons ” and although it is a bit concrete grey for me to truly love it, the building is quirky, in an amazing setting and once inside, is quite suberb.

In a city where the average one bedroom flat costs £125,000, I don’t think £500 million is a lot to spend on our most important symbol of nationhood. In fact, I’ve always thought it was money reasonably well spent.

So today I found myself spluttering with the kind of indignant outrage normally reserved for middle Englanders when I heard radio a reports about the Queen opening the new St Pancras Station in London.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to that particular station, so my only real sense of it comes from it being one of the bargain buys on the Monopoly board. So how come it cost £800 million to refurbish. Yes. £800. Million. For a poxy railway station. Or at that, price, for a palatial railway station.

Don’t know about you, but until today, I haven’t heard a peep about this project. Not a whimper.

After the national contortions in Scotland, the endless finger pointing, agonising, blame spreading public inquiries and general toxic fallout over the parliament, it all comes down to this: In London the public is prepared to spend the cost of almost two Scottish parliaments to tart up a train station – with no recriminations at all.



5 thoughts on “A train station costs twice as much as the Scottish Parliament

  1. That’s cos the price of St Pancras didn’t double overnight. Smoke and mirrors have been used to keep the job “on budget”

  2. Jonnyboy – since posting originally I’ve read a lot more on this and also been to visit the station. I will be posting further on this and would love to hear more of your thoughts on the background?

  3. Thanks for the comment, Nic,

    As it happens, I think I did the trains station a disservice with my first post.

    And rather than just rant from the sidelines I actually went and visited.

    Which led to a second, more reasoned post, which you can see at


    The St Pancras project, as you point out, is a number of projects all rolled into one. I still think the cost was glossed over – while the cost of the new Scottish parliament was the source of endless debate.

    Ultimately, one is a very costly-if-practical piece of commercial business. The other is the most potent symbol of nationhood we Scots now have. I know which I think is the better value for money.

  4. The scottish parliament was a big waste of money, £550 million, how can you call that a good deal? The building looks like a bunker out of a cold war horror story. Is it the tallest building in the UK? NO, is it the most environmentally efficient building in the world? NO,does it symbolise Scotland in any shape or form? NO. What will it be remembered for is that it looks ugly and that it is named the Scottish Parliament, even Wales has a better Parliament building. Iam not against a brand new expensive parliament, but what has been designed is ugly and doesn’t stand for anything. Why can’t the government spend money on a Maglev link from Edinburgh to Glasgow, it’s only 2 billion and would benefit the entire country considering Scotland has really only two major economic cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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