Published on : Saturday, July 1, 2017
From 5-28 August, platforms 1-10 will close while engineers extend platforms at the UK’s busiest railway station. This will enable longer trains to run, providing more space and more comfortable journeys for passengers, but passengers are being warned to expect disruption to their journeys.
Becky Lumlock, Network Rail route managing director, said: “This £800m Waterloo and South West Upgrade is the largest investment for decades and will increase peak time capacity into Waterloo by 30%. That’s room for an extra 45,000 people each morning and afternoon – equivalent to more than the capacity of the O2 arena and Oval Cricket ground combined. It will mean longer trains, more seats, more comfortable journeys for passengers and less traffic on Britain’s congested roads.
“Doing major improvement work is always very disruptive. We know we couldn’t completely close Waterloo – a station which has more passengers than Heathrow airport – to complete the work. But we do need to close platforms 1-10 for most of August – that’s half the station. There will be a much-reduced timetable and there will be changes to services throughout the day.”
While Network Rail and South West Trains have worked hard to provide as many services for passengers as possible, stations will be busier than normal and passengers may have to wait longer for their trains as fewer services are able to run.
Research carried out by Transport Focus, the independent transport watchdog, shows that 84% of passengers are already aware of the Waterloo upgrade, and around half are planning to work from home, use another office or take annual leave during the part-closure.
Ms Lumlock continued: “August is a quieter time on the railway but passengers should still expect severe disruption and delays as well as long queues at stations and heavy crowding. We have developed plans with South West Trains to reduce the impact on passengers as much as possible but people should consider changing their normal journeys, working from home, or taking their summer holidays if they can.
“We are closing as few platforms as possible and are doing this work as quickly as we can, but these works will be highly disruptive and will make it uncomfortable for passengers. I want to thank them in advance for their patience. This three week upgrade will transform journeys for millions of people in the years ahead.”