New platforms open at Britain’s busiest railway station as part of £800 million investment for passengers

The former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo station reopened permanently this morning (10 December) for the first time since international services moved to St Pancras in 2007, as part of the £800 million project to increase capacity on the South Western Railway network.

Passengers will benefit from more space at Britain’s busiest railway station, with platforms 20 to 22 now in use for regular services to Reading, Windsor and south west London.

This follows work to extend platforms at Waterloo, and nine other stations along the route, making room for longer trains, with more than 15,000 more seats provided for passengers over the last year.

Platforms 23 and 24 are set to come into use in May next year as part of the next timetable change. By December 2020, South Western Railway will have provided a total of 52,000 extra peak time seats into and out of Waterloo.

Andy Thomas, route managing director for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said:

“We are putting passengers at the heart of our approach to running the railway, and this incredible piece of engineering is all about giving better journeys to the many millions of people who travel on this route every year.

“Thousands of our engineers and track staff have worked tirelessly over the last three years, rebuilding this iconic terminal from the top to bottom.

“It has been an enormous job and I’m delighted to be reopening on time, helping us support economic growth by better connecting businesses and communities.”

Andy Mellors, managing director for South Western Railway, said:

“The reopening of platforms at the former Waterloo International Terminal means more flexibility for our train services and will help to improve punctuality, especially during peak times.

“Between now and May next year, we will be providing over 6,000 extra seats into our fleet to deliver more capacity for customers. This is in addition to the 15,000 extra seats already provided into and from Waterloo since the franchise began last summer.”

The new terminal provides more concourse waiting space, moving people away from the main station, extra ticket barriers to reduce queueing elsewhere and new customer information screens, helping people find the train they need faster. There will also be direct access to London Underground for quicker connections in early 2019.

The developer LCR will begin work next year to fit a new retail, leisure and cultural destination underneath platforms 20 to 24. Set to open in 2021, the scheme will offer a progressive mix of independent, high street and national stores, complemented with exciting new food and drink outlets.

The Waterloo International station was the home of Eurostar journeys to mainland Europe from 1994 until November 2007.

In numbers

  • 3,477 m³ concrete used – almost one and a half Olympic swimming pools.
  • 82 miles of cable laid – almost three times the length of the Channel Tunnel.
  • 162,996 days worked.
  • 43 screens installed.
  • 9 escalators installed.
  • 589m2 of glass installed.
  • 640 m³ of spoil excavated.