London's historic St. Pancras train station has reopened to serve high-speed trains after a seven-year, $1.6 billion refurbishment. Eurostar trains traveled from...

London’s historic St. Pancras train station has reopened to serve high-speed trains after a seven-year, $1.6 billion refurbishment.

Eurostar trains traveled from St. Pancras to Paris in 2 hours and 15 minutes and Brussels in 1 hour and 51 minutes — at least 20 minutes faster than previous trips — after the station and new high-speed tracks reopened Wednesday. Eurostar trains formerly used London’s Waterloo station.

Intended as a landmark to rival New York’s Grand Central Terminal, St. Pancras is also meant to be an international hub with classy restaurants and upscale shops.

It’s part of the transformation of a central London neighborhood long known for poverty and seediness.

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The station opened in 1868, but a century later it was grubby and unloved. The Victorian Gothic turretted building was threatened with demolition.