Update: Waterloo and South West Upgrade

The following update is from Becky Lumlock, Route Managing Director, Wessex:

“I am writing to update you on the Waterloo and South West Upgrade ahead of the partial closure of London Waterloo station from 5 to 28 August, which will mean changes to services on the south west railway network, and to invite you to a site visit at the former Waterloo International Terminal.

The Waterloo and South West Upgrade is the largest investment on the Wessex rail route for decades. The improvements we are delivering for passengers, to be completed by the end of 2018, will increase peak time capacity into Waterloo by 30%. This will allow an extra 45,000 passengers each morning and afternoon. In total we are investing £800 million through our Railway Upgrade Plan in partnership with the Department for Transport and the current, and next, franchisee of the south west network.

We will be carrying out work at Waterloo from 5 to 28 August to extend platforms 1-4 to accommodate longer trains, and will need to close platforms 1-10 temporarily to carry out this work. This is because we also need to straighten platforms 5-8, and replace track, to allow for longer platforms 1-4. Unfortunately, closing these platforms will mean significantly fewer services can run on the network during this period. When completed, the upgrade will enable longer trains with 10 carriages to run into Waterloo for the first time.

The partial closure of Waterloo will inevitably mean some services and stations will be much busier than usual during this period, some journeys may take longer and a small number of stations will be closed. Lengthy queuing at some of the busier stations is highly likely during rush hours.

It is worth noting that closing 10 platforms and the tracks into them will reduce the operational flexibility on the whole south west rail network. As a result, any incident anywhere on the south west railway is also likely to result in lengthy delays to services or increased passenger waiting time at stations.

We have developed plans with South West Trains to reduce the impact on passengers as much as possible but we have encouraged passengers to consider changing their normal journeys, working from home, or taking their summer holidays if they can.

Although there is never an ideal time to undertake such significant work, we have chosen this period to do the work as August is much quieter for the rail network and stations.

Together with South West Trains, we have widely publicised the planned work and the reduction in services. Further posters and leaflets will be appearing across the South West Trains area shortly. South West Trains’ website will have up to date travel information throughout and information on specific stations (https://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/plan-your-journey/planned-improvements/wswupgrade/).

The Network Rail and South West Trains communications campaign, which started in March 2016, has already reached millions of people and public awareness of the partial closure is above 84%.

We are also continuing to carry out work to bring the former Waterloo International Terminal back into use for domestic services by the end of 2018 to provide a bigger, better station.

The extensive work we have already done at the terminal, which started in 2016, means that services and passengers will be able to use the five platforms in the terminal temporarily during the work in August.”