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 #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.

 

Photos of the progress in Waterloo Station platform upgrade

Travelling to London from this part of the world means arriving at Waterloo Station. The station is undergoing a significant upgrade, as announced in March 2016 by Network Rail, all part of the Wessex Capacity Improvement project. In the Network Rail announcement they stated that,

Work starts [in March 2016] to rebuild the former Waterloo International Terminal to allow platforms 20–24 back into use with modern facilities, new track and signalling and a spacious, accessible concourse suitable for thousands of passengers.

Platforms 1–4 will be extended – with significant changes to the usual passenger timetable required during the work, which starts in August 2017 – to allow longer, 10-car trains to run to London suburban stations.

I’ve previously mentioned my pleasure at peering into holes on building sites, especially the one adjacent to Waterloo Station. Well, now I’ve another building development at Waterloo to observe, and that’s the conversion of the former Eurostar platforms back into use. Here are three photos taken in September, November and December, plus an artist’s drawing of the the finished platforms.

Conversion of Eurostar platforms at Waterloo proceeding

In London yesterday we walked past the old Eurostar platforms at Waterloo Station.

waterloo-station-platform-rebuildWe saw, and heard, the construction to convert the four platforms into use. You can learn more about this change at Wessex Capacity Improvement Programme. I wrote about this, and the change to Camberley Station’s platform length in July this year – see HERE.

Good to see the work progressing, just a shame that that so much of the reasonably recent station platforms have to be demolished. Progress I think it’s called. Here’s my photo of the work – click to expand.

Upgrade to local rail facilities to begin soon

The Camberley News & Mail report on work to increase the length of Camberley Railway Station, to accommodate 10 carriage trains, is to begin on August 22nd 2016.

The News & Mail reporter asked for comments from The Camberley Societydrawing the comment that they’ve seen no evidence of a planned increase in the frequency of rail services at Camberley. In the Society’s document, 50 Minute Rail Campaign News Update 22nd July 2016, the chairman, David Powell describes discussions with Department of Transport officials regarding the South Western Rail Franchise invitation to tender.

Meanwhile, the £800 million Wessex Capacity Improvement Programme, in which Camberley Station’s platform length increase is included is underway. Network Rail’s video, below, describes the timetable and the planned changes of the work at Waterloo Station.