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South West Trains unveils £800m improvement programme at Waterloo

An £800m improvement programme for South West Trains was unveiled at Waterloo Station today, which includes plans to significantly expand one of Britain’s busiest stations.

The improvements, to take place over the next three years, will include expanding Waterloo station, introducing the new fleet of Siemens-built Class 707 trains, longer platforms at 10 stations for longer trains on the Reading line, and improvements to depots and maintenance facilities.

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

Plans for the station include rebuilding the former Waterloo International Terminal, allowing platforms 20-24 to be brought back into use with modern facilities, new track and signalling and a layout suitable for thousands of domestic passengers.

Additionally, the project will extend platforms 1-4 to allow longer 10-car trains to run to London suburban stations. This work will take place during August 2017. There are also plans to create a spacious concourse near platforms 20-24.


RTM reported last year that a planning application to enable more trains to run in and out of London Waterloo was submitted in July, with London TravelWatch shortly afterwards calling the upgrades ‘vital’ with the number of passengers travelling to London Waterloo  increasing from 108 million in 1996 to 234 million and due to grow by 40% by 2043.

Tim Shoveller, the newly appointed managing director at Stagecoach Rail, said: “We are proud to run one of the country’s busiest railways - providing half a million journeys every day - helping to support businesses, communities, families and friends travel across the south west of England.

“Since 1996 we have added more than 100 extra train services and 500 extra and vastly improved carriages for journeys to and from Britain’s busiest station, London Waterloo, but we know we need to do even more to provide more capacity and better facilities for our passengers.

“That's why we're so pleased to be working with our partners to introduce this package of investments and improvements. This is the biggest programme of improvements for decades and will boost capacity by 30% during the busiest times of the day by 2019.”

The majority of the improvements will be funded by the Department of Transport as part of Network Rail’s £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan, which will lead to travel disruptions this weekend to allow for over 450 improvement projects during the Easter break.


Back in September 2014, South West Trains revealed its intention to award the contract for the 150 new train carriages to manufacturer Siemens and leasing company Angel Trains.

In October 2015, Siemens finished manufacturing and assembling the bodyshell of the first Class 707 Desiro City train, as part of the £210m order for South West Trains.

The first of the new trains will enter service in mid-2017. These will operate between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside. The Full introduction is expected by the middle of 2018 which will allow a ‘cascade’ of trains to other routes, increasing capacity across the network.

Steve Scrimshaw, MD of Siemens Rail Systems, said: “We are delighted to be part of the continued investment in the UK’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.”

Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail, added that 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.”

Images c. Stagecoach Group. Middle image L-R: John Halsall (Route Managing Director, Network Rail Wessex), Sir Peter Hendy (Chair, Network Rail), Claire Perry (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Transport), Tim Shoveller (Managing Director Stagecoach Rail), Christian Roth (Managing Director, South West Trains). Bottom image L-R: Tim Shoveller, Sir Peter Hendy, Christian Roth.


Simon   23/03/2016 at 13:53

Most of this is old news platform extensions opening the former international platforms and the new class 707s, we have heard this all before, so it is hardly new when it has previously been announced!

Lutz   24/03/2016 at 02:49

@Simon What's new in the announcement are the prosed schedule and the outline to impact on services. Also new are the items that were previously suggested as being part of the program but now apparently dropped out of scope. A big concern is the 23 day closure of platforms 1 to 8 inclusive, with the video suggesting that there will be only 2 platforms available for suburban services on the east side of the station instead of the current 5 or 6. When they say there will be major changes to the service during that period, they are not joking. Interesting that they have not gone with the approach discussed in a previous document dating from about 2007. I wonder also if councils and travel groups representing the stations on the suburban network have seen the details yet. Bus substitution is not going to work very well, so I am already planning to take a break from work/work from home during that period.

Rich   27/03/2016 at 13:35

Is there any news whether the cascade will permit the withdrawal of the 30+ year old Class 455 Outer Suburban units running to Guildford (approx. 1 hour), Dorking (approx. 50 minutes). In the 21st century, running these old uncomfortable trains, lacking air conditioning, noise insulation, toilets and full disabled facilities let alone wifi is not acceptable . This is exacerbated by the declaration of services on these lines to allow for the expansion to Haslemere, Farnborough, Fleet and WInchester.

Andrew G   28/03/2016 at 00:48

Platforms 1-4 will be extended for 10-car Suburban metro trains whilst Platforms 21-24 will be used for 10-car Class 707 trains once platforms 23 & 24 are reopened along with platforms 21 & 22 that are already reopened with new links to the former Eurostar terminal to connect to the London Underground, Waterloo East and the 20 platforms at Waterloo. About time that the former Eurostar international terminal that was unused since Eurostar moved to St. Pancras International in 2007.

Daniel Wall   15/04/2017 at 16:11

Hopefully these trains from Windsor will speed up the journey to Waterloo as it is appallingly SLOW! Perhaps you could have faster trains only stopping at main stations on that route? A 30 minute journey would be acceptable but the current 55 minutes is a BAD JOKE.

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