Britain’s busiest rail station, Waterloo in Central London’s South Bank area will have platforms one to ten shut for the £800m refurbishment work until August 28 causing commuters from south-west London difficulty in travelling.
The closure at Waterloo comes amid the plans to revamp the station to extend platforms for longer trains, making room for more seats and creating extra space for passengers.
Platforms 21 – 24 which were previously used to serve the Eurostar trains until its shift to St Pancras, will be temporarily open for use with limited services operating for some additional support.
Network Rail Chief Executive Mark Carne previously admitted he is “worried there will be challenging days” and said: “It’s a big job because we’ve got to remodel the whole of the throat of Waterloo and do it in three weeks.”
Passengers have been warned about longer journeys and the possible queuing outside stations during peak travel hours.
This phase will cause considerable disruption to South West Trains services from popular commuter areas such as Guildford, Woking, Surbiton and will also affect major London stations such as Clapham Junction, Wimbledon, Earlsfield, Richmond and Vauxhall.
Network Rail, who is undertaking the project are planing to have major changes to services out of London Bridge, Euston, Liverpool Street and Paddington, as well as Waterloo before Christmas.
“It is one of the most complex pieces of engineering we’ve done at Waterloo in really a century, and there are risks in that, but that’s all been built into the contingency planning,” said Becky Lumlock, Network Rail Route Managing Director for its Wessex region, which includes Waterloo.
The project to extend the platforms at Waterloo will allow longer trains to operate on suburban routes from December next year.
Due to the disruptions to be caused, rail bosses are urging commuters to consider other options such as working from home, changing their travel times or take holiday while the work is being completed.