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Investment of over £800m to improve Britain’s busiest railway station

22 March 2016

Network Rail, with partners including the Department for Transport and South West Trains, have today (Wednesday 23 March) launched a programme of investment at London Waterloo worth more than £800m.


The package of improvements will increase capacity and improve over half-a-million daily journeys through the station, which is both Britain’s busiest – with over 99 million passengers passing through last year – and the main transport hub for one of the busiest railways in Britain.

It is the biggest investment in London Waterloo for decades and will deliver a 30 per cent increase in peak-time capacity by 2019 through a bigger, better station, longer platforms – both at Waterloo and at 10 stations on the line – for longer trains to Reading, a new fleet of Siemens Class 707 trains, as well as new technology to make trains more efficient and help improve punctuality.

We are delighted to be part of the continued investment in Britain’s rail network and to be introducing a new fleet of 30, five-car Siemens Desiro City Class 707 trains.

The new trains are lighter, more energy-efficient and will significantly increase the amount of available seats for passengers.

The Class 707 will also improve the overall passenger experience offering free Wi-Fi, air conditioned coaches, full-width gangways and wider doors to make it easier and quicker to get on and off the trains.

Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of Siemens Rail Systems

Improvements to depots and sidings will also help with the maintenance of the network’s biggest ever fleet of trains.

The majority of the station and infrastructure improvements are funded by the Department for Transport and as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade. Investment is also being made in 150 new train carriages to create extra capacity for South West Trains passengers between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside.

We are investing £40 billion in our nation’s railway infrastructure – the biggest upgrade since the Victorian times.

From 2017, passengers will benefit from a bigger and better London Waterloo station and 150 new train carriages providing more space for passengers arriving at London Waterloo over the three-hour morning peak – this is in addition to the 108 extra carriages that have already been added since 2013.

These improvements will make journeys better for hard-working commuters, in the capital and across Britain.

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport

Work starts this month to rebuild the former Waterloo International Terminal to allow platforms 20–24 back into use with modern facilities, new track and signalling and a spacious, accessible concourse suitable for thousands of passengers.

Platforms 1–4 will be extended – with significant changes to the usual passenger timetable required during the work, which starts in August 2017 – to allow longer, 10-car trains to run to London suburban stations.

The improvements at London Waterloo will be complemented by enhancements at Vauxhall and Surbiton stations to increase capacity and improve passenger journeys.

This is the biggest package of improvements for passengers travelling to and from Waterloo for decades. It will provide passengers with a better station, extra seats and new trains.

And let’s face it, this is not before time. Since 1996, the numbers of passengers on routes into Waterloo have more than doubled - rising from 108 million passenger journeys a year to over 230 million. And this increase is showing no sign of slowing down.

As part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail is investing £40 billion to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers across Britain. The plans announced today will create a bigger, better Waterloo and improve passengers’ journeys on our most congested part of Britain's railway. They are a long way from being the complete answer to the peak-time congestion on this packed commuter route, but they will make a big difference.

Sir Peter Hendy, chairman, Network Rail

The programme of works is expected to be completed in December 2018 with all 24 platforms in use and a new timetable introduced.

Find out more about the Waterloo improvement programme