Major railway upgrades will mean weekend changes for passengers: Track renewal work will take place at Waterloo during two weekends in March 2017 (1)

Tuesday 28 Feb 2017

Major railway upgrades will mean weekend changes for passengers


Network Rail and South West Trains are advising passengers to Check Before You Travel as major track upgrades at Waterloo as part of the Waterloo & South West Upgrade, and improvement works elsewhere on the network, will significantly reduce the number of trains running during two weekends in March.

Network Rail’s £600,000 investment to replace key sections of track at Waterloo, taking place over the weekends of 4 & 5 March and 18 & 19 March, is part of the enormous £800 million Waterloo & South West Upgrade that will boost capacity by 30% and improve reliability on the railway in and out of Waterloo.

Becky Lumlock, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “As part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, we’re carrying out essential work to make the railway more resilient and more reliable during two weekends in March.

“The improvements we are making now will provide a better railway for the growing number of passengers that use the network, but there will be some significant changes to services over these two weekends so I’d like to ask passengers to check their journeys in advance.”

Christian Roth, managing director for South West Trains, added: “These works are part of the major investment to increase capacity on this railway but they will mean changes to journeys for passengers. We would urge passengers to check ahead and plan their journey before leaving as many services will be affected while this improvement work is carried out.”

The railway at Waterloo includes one of the most heavily used sections of track in the country, and the switches and crossings – which allow trains to move between tracks and to access the correct platforms – are essential to the smooth running of the railway.

During both weekends, Network Rail’s orange army will be digging up and replacing five sets of switches and crossings, as part of work to make this crucial part of the railway more reliable. Some of the switches and crossings being replaced during the work will ensure that trains can access the former International Terminal, which Network Rail is currently rebuilding to provide an extra five platforms at Waterloo.

On Saturday 4 and 5 March, engineering works will be taking place in the following areas:

  • Between London Waterloo and Clapham Junction
  • Between Wimbledon and Surbiton (Saturday only)
  • Between Woking and Basingstoke
  • Between Feltham and Virginia Water (Sunday only)

Fewer services will operate between Waterloo and Clapham and buses will replace trains in the other areas while work is taking place. There will also be changes to planned services elsewhere on the network. As a result, passengers are advised to check their journeys at



This is the biggest investment in Waterloo for decades. It will provide a bigger and better London Waterloo and 30% more space for passengers during the morning and evenings. This will also allow us to provide more space for longer distance passengers in the near future.

At London Waterloo we are working to:

  • Create a spacious, modern and accessible station concourse by rebuilding the former Waterloo International Terminal.
  • Increase services by bringing platforms 20-24 back into permanent use and introducing modern facilities along with new track and signalling.
  • Allow longer 10-carriage trains to run to London suburban stations by extending platforms 1-4.

Across the network, the Waterloo & South West Upgrade will bring:

  • Longer platforms for longer trains, at a number of stations on the Reading line.
  • 30 brand new trains, providing 150 extra carriages. The trains will run between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside, including the Hounslow Loop and Weybridge via Brentford, calling at many of the network’s busiest stations such as Clapham Junction, Vauxhall, Brentford and Twickenham.
  • New technology to make trains more efficient and improve punctuality.
  • Improvements to depots and maintenance facilities to look after the network’s biggest ever fleet of trains.

August 2017

During August, work will start to extend platforms 1-4, to allow longer 10-carriage trains to run on Suburban routes. Platforms have already been extended at more than 60 stations but London Waterloo is the final, and most complex, station which needs upgrading. Due to the layout of the track and the curve of the neighbouring platforms, to extend platforms 1-4, we also need to carry out the following works, which requires platforms 1-9 to be closed:

  • Install new track on the approaches to platforms 1-8.
  • Realign and rebuild the far ends of platforms 5-8.
  • Provide access for the required machinery to carry out the works.

There will still be some further work to carry out after August 2017, but this will be restricted to weekends. When completed, longer 10-carriage trains will be able to serve suburban routes when the new timetable is introduced from December 2017.

Passengers can check how they will be affected by visiting or by searching online for ‘Waterloo Upgrade’.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Owen Johns
Media relations manager (Wessex route)
07710 959476

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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