Work on Waterloo upgrade could start in October as planning goes in

Mothballed Eurostar terminal to be brought back into use as Network Rail and South West trains look to add five new platforms.

Waterloo station London, with the former Eurostar terminal on the left

The planning application for works to enable more trains to run in and out of Waterloo the station submitted with works expected to start as early as October.

London Waterloo is Britain’s busiest station, with almost 100M passengers a year and a train arriving and departing every minute at the busiest times of day. With numbers forecast to grow by 40% over the next 30 years, Network Rail and South West Trains are working together to bring the platforms in the former Waterloo International Terminal back into use so more trains can run.

Contractors for the £400M construction project is a Skanska led joint venture that includes Colas Rail, AECOM and Mott MacDonald. Client is Network Rail.

"The work to expand London Waterloo is absolutely vital to make sure we can provide much needed extra space, both for our customers now and in the future"  - Tim Shoveller, South West Trains

These will be the first major changes to Waterloo since the 1930s, providing five new platforms for London commuter services and involving the complete redesign of the concourse and platforms.

First part of the project involves strengthening three bridges on the approach to platforms 20-24 as well as changing the layout of the track and platforms. If the planning application is approved, work on the bridges is expected to start in October and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. Strengthening the bridges will allow platforms 20-24, currently part of the former Waterloo International Terminal, to be used for domestic services.

“The project to improve the railway and strengthen the bridges on the approach to Waterloo is an absolutely vital part of our plans to improve capacity at Britain’s busiest station,” said route infrastructure director for Network Rail John Halsall.

“The submission of the planning application to carry out this work is an important step forward and, if approved, we expect to start work before the end of the year.”

South West Trains managing director Tim Shoveller stressed the importance of the project for the region’s rail network.  “We operate one of the busiest railways in Europe, with over half a million passenger journeys every day. The biggest investment for decades on our network is well underway but the work to expand London Waterloo is absolutely vital to make sure we can provide much needed extra space, both for our customers now and in the future," he said.

The planning application for the proposed work has been submitted to the London Borough of Lambeth. If permission is granted preparation work would be expected to start in October 2015, with construction taking place between November 2015 and the end of 2016.  Associated track and signalling work will then continue until mid-2017.

Where possible, work will take place during normal working hours, Monday to Friday (8am-6pm). However, there will be some cases where work will need to take place on Saturday mornings and overnight.

The proposed works are a vital part of the overall programme to increase capacity at London Waterloo and ensure it can continue to provide for the growing number of passengers using the station. 

Plans are also being developed to extend platforms 1-4, to allow 10-car trains to run on the Suburban network for the first time. Meanwhile, more than 250 additional train carriages are being introduced on to the network. Combined, this will provide a 30% increase in capacity across the network, the biggest increase in capacity for decades on one of Britain’s busiest commuter stations.

A comprehensive public awareness programme is now underway, with letters and leaflets being sent to local homes and businesses to explain the proposals. There is also further information online at

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