Posted 15th August 2013 | 11 Comments

Waterloo International platforms set to reopen

Waterlloo International

The international platforms at Waterloo were last used in 2007

THE ALLIANCE of South West Trains and Network Rail has announced plans to bring all the former international platforms at Waterloo back into use. The SWT fleet is also to be enlarged to allow more ten-car trains to be run.

The Alliance had already said that one of the five international platforms would be used from next spring, but the new plans would cater for almost 10,000 more peak-time passengers at Waterloo by 2019, and could involve a staged programme of additional, longer trains, platform extensions and re-openings, as well as signalling, track and power supply improvements.

The details have been worked out by the management team at the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, working in response to the Department for Transport’s rail investment strategy. The Alliance said the intention was to 'future-proof one of the country’s key commuter networks'.

Although Platform 20 is due to be used again from the spring, Platforms 21 to 24 could also be brought back into passenger service. Platforms 1 to 4 are also likely to be extended.

The first phase of the plan will see the procurement of more than 135 additional vehicles for the SWT fleet, which will run in 10-car formation on suburban routes. This procurement has started, and depending on the proposal selected, the first additional trains could be delivered in 2016.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Britain needs a strong economy if it wants to compete globally and effective transport links are absolutely key to that.  This is why the Government has embarked on one of the biggest programmes of rail modernisation ever.

“It’s also vital to cost effectively create additional capacity at Waterloo - the capital’s busiest railway station - making the proposals from South West Trains and Network Rail doubly important.”

Tim Shoveller, managing director of the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, added: “Our network is currently one of the busiest in Europe carrying almost 210 million passengers a year.

“We already have confirmed plans are in place to deliver improvements in capacity over the next two years.  However, the huge success of the railway in the UK means it will get significantly busier in the next two decades and beyond. There is also a need to invest in the infrastructure to improve the daily reliability for today's customers.

"The Alliance between South West Trains and Network Rail means we are working more closely together, thinking big and creating plans for the long-term to deliver significant improvements for passengers.

“The blueprint we are developing in partnership with the Department for Transport is a massive programme of work and requires significant investment. These plans will greatly improve what is a key part of the country's transport infrastructure and ensure our rail network continues to support economic growth."

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • luis, crawley

    [This comment has been deleted because it broke our Guidance Rule 6.]

  • RicP, London

    This comment was not published because it was sent after the window for this story had closed (see Guidelines for details).

  • jbzoom, Guildford

    This is an overdue development. The reasons it has taken so long include the difficulty of "pathing" trains from this "Staines" side of the station to any SW destination that can accommodate long trains and the difficulty of getting any more trains at all through the station throat in the peak. Presumably the plan is to shorten the International platforms from 16 carriage to 10 or 12 carriage length and use the extra space to reconfigure the throat tracks, starting at platform 1, and working across, allowing several old platforms to be lengthened and, eventually, more trains in total. Since this capacity is needed now but will arrive in stages up to about 2020, it will be filled as it arrives and Crossrail 2 will be desperately required long before its estimated 2032 arrival date.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    Apparently the Waterloo platforms have laid moribund since 14th November 2007. A complete waste of space and money for nearly 6 years and counting. Its future should have been ready for action the minute the last Eurostar departed.

  • John Gilbert, Cradley, Herefordshire

    By 2019? As soon as that? Why that is practically tomorrow in British terms!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (In reality what an interminable time to get this particular show on the road. No drive you see!! Typical England! So sad!!)

  • Jon, Hertfordshire

    Would aiming for a reopening of the link to South Eastern lines at Waterloo East be the way tp be thinking?
    2 - bi-dir tracks over bridge
    4 - bi-dir platforms in Waterloo main

    Removing turn-around time, short dwell time (*), reduce my regular delay when approaching Waterloo platforms from West.

    Benefits to South East customers? - not a route I use.
    Would reduced services at Charing Cross improve efficiency?

    I thought, but cannot find it, one of the justifications for the original Thameslink program was improved stock and staff utilisation - I suspect the same case could be made here.

    Pathing would be a problem but diverting some trains to Cannon St may allow the Waterloo and City to be dispensed with (ah there's another idea enlarge the tunnels and link to Great Northern...).

    The trouble would be getting the different franchises talking to each other or even getting a 'this is where we want to be by 2200' plan together...

    * Thameslink are aiming for 12 coach trains remember!

  • Ken Strachan, Nuneaton

    Good, about time too!

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    This news will hopefully mean the lift from Waterloo concourse down to the former Eurostar area will be brought back into use thus improving access to the Underground - its a pity a way of keeping it open was not arranged when the terminal closed!

    Given the major redevelopment planned around this area planned and the plans for the former Shell Centre opposite this terminal could become as successful as St Pancras International as a venue to eat and shop .

    What is also needed is step free access to Bakerloo and Northern Lines something CWG are excellent at on their home estate iin docklands!

    Longer term this brings forward a London Bridge style upgrade of Waterloo with rebuilding from West to Eaśt with new platforms and expansion of this terminal accross the full width of Waterloo with maybe a similar roof opening as at St Pancras to bring light to the under croft !

  • Tim, Devon

    At last! I don't care if they are only used for 1TPH, they should be used and available for overflow if a train breaks down on another platform!

  • Chris Neville-Smith, Durham, England

    Anyone know the details of this? I understood the problem with bringing then back into service is that the rails from all five platforms pile on to the same track. That was okay when it was just the occasional Eurostar, but it looks like you'd have a problem doing that with more frequent commuter services.

    At the very least, I guess you'd be looking at some complex points re-engineering.

  • Lutz, London

    At last; there have been conversations and planning around capacity enhancements along these lines at Waterloo since at least 2007.

    The announcement provides no details,but I am guessing the international platforms are to be opened as part of a phased plan to extend the existing platforms in the old train shed. It is my understanding that since there are no available paths into the station for additional services, this alone will not provide additional capacity.

    In terms of signalling, this is due to be replaced on the inner SWML in the 2020-2027 period form what I recall,so it sounds like the signalling work is specific to the station approaches at this stage.

    Extra carriages: I am guessing this is to extend the existing class 450s to five-car operation, with perhaps a few spare to provide 2 or 3 car units for branch lines.

    The timing is interesting also; it comes after the announcements about Crossrail 2 so I am interested to see how those proposals have impacted the plan of work for Waterloo;after all, if Crossrail 2 goes ahead, there will be a reduced requirement for capacity at Waterloo.