Passengers warned to expect severe disruption during major Waterloo upgrade in August: Waterloo International Terminal  (Artist's impression)

Friday 30 Jun 2017

Passengers warned to expect severe disruption during major Waterloo upgrade in August


Network Rail is today urging passengers to consider travelling at different times of day or to consider working from home during a major upgrade at London Waterloo station in August.

From 5-28 August, platforms 1-10 will close while engineers extend platforms at the UK’s busiest railway station. This will enable longer trains to run, providing more space and more comfortable journeys for passengers, but passengers are being warned to expect disruption to their journeys.

Becky Lumlock, Network Rail route managing director, said: “This £800m Waterloo and South West Upgrade is the largest investment for decades and will increase peak time capacity into Waterloo by 30%. That’s room for an extra 45,000 people each morning and afternoon – equivalent to more than the capacity of the O2 arena and Oval Cricket ground combined. It will mean longer trains, more seats, more comfortable journeys for passengers and less traffic on Britain's congested roads.

“Doing major improvement work is always very disruptive. We know we couldn’t completely close Waterloo - a station which has more passengers than Heathrow airport - to complete the work. But we do need to close platforms 1-10 for most of August – that’s half the station.  There will be a much-reduced timetable and there will be changes to services throughout the day." 

While Network Rail and South West Trains have worked hard to provide as many services for passengers as possible, stations will be busier than normal and passengers may have to wait longer for their trains as fewer services are able to run.

Research carried out by Transport Focus, the independent transport watchdog, shows that 84% of passengers are already aware of the Waterloo upgrade, and around half are planning to work from home, use another office or take annual leave during the part-closure.

Ms Lumlock continued: “August is a quieter time on the railway but passengers should still expect severe disruption and delays as well as long queues at stations and heavy crowding. We have developed plans with South West Trains to reduce the impact on passengers as much as possible but people should consider changing their normal journeys, working from home, or taking their summer holidays if they can.

“We are closing as few platforms as possible and are doing this work as quickly as we can, but these works will be highly disruptive and will make it uncomfortable for passengers. I want to thank them in advance for their patience. This three week upgrade will transform journeys for millions of people in the years ahead.”

Passengers can find detailed information on how their journeys are impacted at, or by searching Waterloo Upgrade.



This is the biggest investment in the railway into Waterloo for decades. It will provide a bigger and better London Waterloo and 30% more space for passengers during the morning and evenings by December 2018. That’s room for an extra 45,000 people each morning and afternoon – equivalent to more than the capacity of the O2 arena and Oval Cricket ground combined. The upgrade will also allow us to provide more space for longer distance passengers in the near future.

Across the network, the Waterloo & South West Upgrade will bring the following by December 2018:

  • Five more platforms at Waterloo, through the rebuilding of the former Waterloo International Terminal
  • 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 at Waterloo, to allow longer 10-carriage trains to run on Suburban routes. Platforms have already been extended at more than 60 stations on the suburban network but 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 work, which requires 10 platforms to be closed at Waterloo:

  • 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 work.

To accommodate these changes, Network Rail will provide five extra platforms at London Waterloo by temporarily re-opening platforms 20-24 in the International Terminal.

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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