Waterloo commuters asked to work at home this August

Waterloo upgrade

Network Rail is warning passengers to be ready for major disruption at Waterloo this summer – even going as far as urging them to consider working at home while major alterations are carried out at the station.

Platforms 1-10 will be out of action for rail services over a three week period from 5 August to 28 August, for contractors to extend platforms and reconfigure track as part of the £800m Waterloo and South West Upgrade. The project is being delivered by an alliance arrangement between Network Rail and a consortium of Skanska, AECOM, Mott MacDonald and Colas Rail, all of whom will share the potential risks and rewards.

Work at the station represents roughly one half of the £800m scheme which also involves platform alterations and improvements at seven other stations on the South West Trains network, plus introduction of a new fleet of longer trains. The alterations at Waterloo will add five new platforms, partly by bringing the former Eurostar platforms back into use, as well as reconfiguring track and signalling technology and the main concourse area at London's busiest station. About 30% more capacity will be added – equivalent to an additional 45,000 passengers during peak times, Network Rail says.

According to the passenger watchdog Transport Focus, 84% of people surveyed at the station are aware of the Waterloo upgrade works and are planning to avoid the station during August, either by working from home or taking annual leave.

Network Rail's Wessex route managing director, Becky Lumlock, said: "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."