Thursday 26 Jan 2017
Significant temporary changes to South West Trains services: six months to go
Network Rail and South West Trains have today (26 January) published detailed train service information to help passengers plan their journeys during the major upgrades taking place at London Waterloo this August as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.
Between 5 and 28 August, platforms 1-9 at London Waterloo, the UK’s busiest station, will close. While platforms 20-24 will temporarily re-open, significantly fewer trains will run right across the network.
During this time, work will start to extend platforms 1-4 for longer trains on suburban routes. This is a crucial part of the £800million Waterloo & South West Upgrade, which will provide 30% more space for passengers during the busiest times of the day on one of Europe’s busiest railways.
The majority of stations will have fewer services while a small number will be closed and this will have an impact on passengers and their journeys. To help, Network Rail and South West Trains launched a campaign in August 2016 to raise awareness and help passengers understand the impact on their journey.
The new information is available online and includes more detailed travel advice for each station, draft service information and a special ‘at a glance’ train service map. This has been published early to help passengers plan ahead.
In addition, Network Rail and South West Trains are also today starting a large passenger roadshow, with 61 events in stations and on trains until 15 February.
For more details and to plan your journey, please pick up an updated leaflet or visit: www.southwesttrains.co.uk/wswupgrade or search ‘Waterloo Upgrade’ online.
Becky Lumlock, route managing director of Network Rail, said: “Right now we’re in the midst of the largest upgrade at Waterloo for decades and this is a significant part of Network Rail’s national Railway Upgrade Plan. Currently the vast majority of our engineering work is happening behind the scenes. However, during August we have a number of critical pieces of the programme to complete which will mean we need to close some platforms, while also keeping hundreds of thousands of passengers moving.
“This means big changes for passengers and we want them to be well-equipped to plan ahead. Fewer trains will be arriving and departing at Waterloo, and some stations will close entirely. This is why we’re asking passengers to check how they will be affected now so that they can plan ahead, either by planning to travel at different times of day or working from home on some days during the works.
“Waterloo is already the busiest railway station in Britain by a significant margin and passenger numbers are continuing to grow. We therefore need to make these upgrades to increase capacity now.”
Christian Roth, managing director, South West Trains, added: “This is the biggest investment in this railway for decades and it will provide a significant increase in capacity for the thousands of passengers who use this railway every day.
“There will be some short term changes and disruption for passengers, particularly during August. That is why we are doing everything we can to inform passengers and businesses well in advance so they can plan their journey and understand the possible impacts.
"I’m pleased we are able to publish draft timetable and train service information more than six months ahead of the works taking place and I would urge passengers, whether they are regular commuters or infrequent travellers, to look at the information and consider their journeys during this time.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “During significant works on the railway passengers have a simple message: ‘provide me with clear information about how my journey will be affected, how it will impact on me and what alternative arrangements are in place’.
“It is reassuring to see Network Rail and South West Trains are committed to understanding more about their passengers’ needs during this period of change and will monitor passengers’ concerns through our research.
“Staff at Britain’s busiest railway station now need to be on hand to provide passengers with the necessary help and information to minimise the disruption.”
In addition to the works in August, there will be works at London Waterloo on some weekends from Easter through to October. More detailed information for these weekends will be published closer to the time but passengers are reminded to continue to check ahead.
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 southwesttrains.co.uk/wswupgrade or by searching online for ‘Waterloo Upgrade’.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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.
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 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.