NETWORK Rail is investing more than £800m to provide the biggest package of improvements for passengers travelling on the railway to and from London Waterloo for decades.
The number of passenger journeys on this line has more than doubled in the last 20 years to 234 million and is expected to increase by a further 40 per cent by 2043.
At London Waterloo, the aim is 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 use and introducing modern facilities along with new track and signalling; and
* Allow longer 10-carriage trains to run on suburban routes by extending platforms 1-4.
Across the network, the Waterloo and South West upgrade will bring:
* Longer platforms for longer trains, at a number of stations on the Reading line;
* Thirty new trains, providing 150 extra carriages between London Waterloo and Windsor;
* New technology to make trains more efficient and improve punctuality; and
* Improvements to depots and maintenance facilities to look after the network’s biggest ever fleet of trains.
This is the biggest investment to this railway for decades. It will provide a bigger and better London Waterloo, with improved facilities, and also provide space for 30 per cent more passengers during the busiest times of the day. This investment will also pave the way for providing more space and journeys for longer distance passengers in the near future.
With just six months to go before these major upgrades take place in August as part of Network Rail’s railway upgrade plan, Network Rail and South West Trains have now published detailed train service information to help passengers plan their journeys.
Between August 5 and August 28, platforms 1-9 at London Waterloo will close while platforms 20-24 will temporarily re-open, with significantly fewer trains running across the network.
During this time, work will start to extend platforms 1-4 for longer trains on suburban routes.
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.
Locally, Alton, Bentley and Farnham stations will remain open although the line is likely to be busier, particularly during the rush-hour period, as passengers who usually travel from alternative stations may temporarily travel from here.
Those travelling from Liphook, Liss and Petersfield stations will see a cut in evening peak-time services. This will amount to a reduction from two to one train per hour for Liphook and Liss, while Petersfield will see a reduction from four to three trains per hour.
Trains will run with the maximum number of carriages wherever possible and work at Waterloo will continue around the clock in a bid to finish as quickly as possible.
The advice is to travel earlier or later than normal. The busiest trains arrive into London between 8am and 9am and leave London between 5.30pm and 6.30pm. To help those travelling outside of these times, South West Trains will provide longer trains for extended periods.
Alternatively, passengers are being asked to consider not travelling but to consider working from home or planning a summer holiday for all or some of this time.
Those who do have to travel should bear in mind that:
* The majority of stations will have fewer train services
* Services and stations will be busier than usual, especially at peak times;
* Some journeys will take longer;
* There will be queuing systems outside some stations;
* A small number of stations will be closed; and
* Other operators’ services will also be busier while passengers take alternative routes, including London Underground.
This 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 starting a large passenger roadshow, with 61 events in stations and on trains until February 15.
For more details and to plan your journey, pick up an updated leaflet, currently being distributed on trains and at Waterloo Station, visit southwesttrains.co.uk/wswupgrade.