Your intrepid reporter visits Waterloo Station to experience the predicted chaos

You, dear readers, will know of my occasional reports on the progress of changes at Waterloo Station. You can read them HERE, in descending date order.

The predicted chaos was nowhere to be seen when I journeyed there last Friday 11th August. Everything was running smoothly. The new platforms in the old International Station were accessed by a new gently rising wide ramp from the main station concourse. You can see the entrance to the ramp to the right of photo 2 in the group below. Comparison with the photos in my May 18th report shows the amount of construction work completed between then and now.

In my previous report of May 18th this year, I said that the deadline for opening the new platforms would be tight. That’s how it turned out. I spoke with a station manager, whom I saw dispensing free bottles of water next to the new platforms [see photo], and asked him about their meeting the deadline date. I asked, “how close, in days?”. He replied “close”. I pressed, “a matter of hours?”, he replied, “close”, and smiled not wanting to be drawn any further. Here are my photos,

 

How is the Waterloo station upgrade progressing?

When I travelled to Waterloo Station this week and viewed the ongoing work to create 5 new temporary platforms in the former Waterloo International Terminal, I wondered whether they’ll meet their target to have the new platforms ready for August 5th.

That’s only 11 weeks way, and there appears to be lots of work still to do. It’s only through the photos I’ve taken since last September that I’ve come to this conclusion – an erroneous view it may well be. I don’t like being negative, but can’t help thinking it a tight target. Here are a couple of my photos, on the left, from March 21st this year, and the second from May 15th. [click on photos to expand – also my February article this year has the links to Network Rail information on the upgrade]

 

Infrastructure Upgrades #4: Reading Station improvement and rail electrification

On Sunday we travelled to Reading by train from Ascot. It was a weekend of engineering works. Trains stopped at Ascot, going towards London and a replacement bus service was in operation. It didn’t affect us as we were Reading bound.

The improvements at Reading station are mightily impressive, as hopefully my brief photo montage shows. There’s still work going on to improve Reading station, which you can see HERE. The Great Western mainline’s electrification is visible at Reading Station on the line from London – Paddington to Cardiff, while the power lines are not yet installed. The good news is that electrification means new trains. Completion is promised by 2019.

Infrastructure Upgrades #3: Extra platforms at Waterloo station for suburban trains

4-waterloo-station-upgradeThe are two side to upgrades to our national infrastructure. The good side results from improvements, efficiency, and increased capacity, while the bad side is the necessary dislocation and delay, although temporary.

This is certainly the case with the upgrade to Waterloo railway station. Bringing into use the Eurostar platforms increases capacity – a good thing. Extending some of the platforms to cater for 10 coach trains is also a good thing. All this is not without dislocation. The video by Network Rail explains the project works, and THIS website explains the changes to train timetables in August this year.

Infrastructure Upgrades #2: Woking town centre utility improvements

Woking Borough Council’s website carries details of major road closures and diversions, which the say are,

To continue to support the economic growth of Woking Town Centre, it is necessary to carry out essential utilities works, such as installing additional gas and water supplies, to Victoria Way. By carrying out these works now, we hope to minimise future disruption to the highway network.

Here are the details,

woking-raod-closures_1 woking-road-closures_2

Infrastructure Upgrades #1: Replacement of Albrighton Station Footbridge

What’s coming next is a little flurry of blog posts about upgrades to our national and local infrastructure.

Guess it won’t surprise readers that I’m beginning with a slightly offbeat start. In my teens and early twenties I lived in Albrighton in southern Shropshire. My bother and I caught an early train from Albrighton, me to go variously to Birmingham or Wolverhampton, and my brother to Smethwick. We lived 5 minutes or so from the railway station – and yes, we always left it late to catch the train, often having to make a dash over the footbridge.

On the lovely cast iron footbridge it said it was erected in 1883. It’s a pleasure to see that the station is being renovated and getting a new footbridge, courtesy of Network Rail, while retaining some of the original ironwork.

A bit more history before a couple of photos of the work, courtesy of  Wikipedia and © Copyright Jaggery for photo 2. The local train from Albrighton  to Wolverhampton was a diesel multiple unit where you could sit behind the driver, with only a glass partition between passenger and driver. Made journeys fun.