Posted 18th March 2015 | 1 Comment

Major plans on the way for Waterloo lines upgrade

THE BIGGEST investment for decades on one of the busiest main line railways in Britain has moved a step closer with the appointment of a team of contractors who will be responsible for planning and carrying out major improvement works at London Waterloo.

An agreement between the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, Skanska, Colas Rail, AECOM and Mott MacDonald has now been concluded following a 'detailed and stringent' procurement process. The consortium will now work with the Alliance on plans to boost capacity at Waterloo and other inner London stations. The details will then be submitted to the Office of Rail Regulation and Department for Transport.

The railway from Waterloo carries more than half a million passengers every day and more than 222 million every year, an increase of more than 100 per cent in just the last 20 years. Waterloo is also the UK’s busiest station, with 98 million passengers in 2013/14 and a train arriving or departing virtually every minute during peak times.

In order to boost capacity and prepare for the continued growth in the coming years, the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance is planning to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in the next four years to provide a ‘step change’ increase in capacity. The agreement aims to develop detailed plans which include the full reopening of the former Waterloo International Terminal for commuter services. These platforms were closed in 2007 when Eurostar services moved to St Pancras International, although one has now come back into use. In addition, Platforms 1 to 4 will be lengthened to accommodate 10-car trains.

Christian Roth, fleet director of the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: “This is an important step forward in our commitment to boost peak time capacity by 30 per cent by 2018. Waterloo is the country’s busiest station, with 98m people using it every year and South West Trains has seen passenger numbers double in 20 years.

“A huge amount of work has already been carried out to improve services and increase capacity but we know we need do to much more. The unique alliance between South West Trains and Network Rail allows a project of this size to be delivered efficiently and it will have a real impact on passengers’ journeys.”

James Richardson, speaking on behalf of the consortium of contractors, added: “An investment of this size is excellent news for rail passengers in the region and, of course, an exciting opportunity for our alliance team. Working through a unique collaboration model, we will be able to combine and integrate the skills and expertise of a strong supply chain to deliver this challenging programme.”

South West Trains and Network Rail said they will now work 'closely' with Skanska, Mott Macdonald, AECOM and Colas Rail to plan the work and then present the results to the ORR and DfT.

Reader Comments:

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  • David Cook, Broadstone, Dorset

    Whilst rebuilding the Eurostar platforms to take longer trains into Waterloo seems like progress, it doesn't seem long ago to me that following the end of steam, we had 12 coach electric trains from Bournemouth into Waterloo, until the quite smart Wessex Electrics (2x5 coach sets) that were taken from our line for the Gatwick service, to be replaced by the unbelievably grim things that seat 5 across for nearly 3 hours between Weymouth and Waterloo. The person who removed the 442's and organised class 450's on the route should be sentenced to sit in them for the whole cramped journey surrounded by other seething passengers.