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]


A narrow gauge railway with ambitious plans

Gosh, wasn’t it a lovely sunny weekend. So, so lucky, considering yesterday’s temperature was a good 12 degrees lower. A reminder, if ever one was needed, that while most of the rest of the world has a climate, we have weather.

Enough about the weather. During our Sunday visit to the Kempton Engine House, we noticed families visiting the close-by Hampton and Kempton Waterworks Railway. The sound of a steam engine, and it’s whistle drew us towards the entrance, and to the railway ticket office to find out more about it.

We’d seen the beginnings of the little narrow-gauge railway on our first visit to the Kempton Engine House a few years ago. The enthusiasm and commitment of the railway’s volunteers is to be much admired, for there’s been considerable progress in developing the railway. The Railway is open from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm every Sunday in 2017,  from March 18th to November 20th and some Saturdays. Click on the map to expand. In their brochure they describe their future plans as,

We will start the second phase of the railway where we finished the first, and work towards Upper Sunbury Road, about three miles away.

Thought you might like to see the short video I took of our visit.

Yet more infrastructure proceeding slowly

I noted, recently,  the slow pace of Virgin Media’s contractors installing ultrafast broadband in Lightwater.

Last week while in London, as is my wont, I photograph the progress of construction work at Waterloo railway station.  I must say the changes since my earlier visit in December 2016 are hardly discernible. Spotting a man in high-viz clothing I enquired, among other things, as to the progress of the project. Came back the reply that things weren’t going as fast as hoped for the opening in August 2017 of temporary use of platforms 20-24 of the old Waterloo International Station.

Below are my photos – click on image to expand.

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.

The diesel locomotives at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway Diesel Gala

The audience for this article I know will be limited. It’s solely about the four diesel engines operating on the Diesel Gala at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

The railway strives, and succeeds, in being an entertaining and fun tourist experience. The Diesel Gala was to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first diesel locomotive on the Isle of Wight. The Railway had four diesel locomotives working on the day, including a guest loco from the mainland especially for the gala. My brief video precedes a short description of locos, taken from the railway’s website appearing in the video


  • British Railways Class 05 No D2554 – Initially allocated to Parkeston Quay in 1956, this locomotive remained on the Eastern Region of British Railways until 1966 when transfer to the Southern Region. Arriving at Ryde Shed on 7 June 1966 she was intended to power engineering trains in connection with the electrification of the Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin line and for maintenance trains thereafter. Christened ‘Nuclear Fred’ by the Islands railway staff, it is in full working order although lack of train air brake equipment confines it to works train and demonstration goods train duties.
  • British Railways Class 03 No D2059 – D2059 was constructed at Doncaster in 1959. The locomotive was purchased by the Isle of Wight Steam Railway in 1988 to be used as a standby engine in the event of the breakdown of a passenger service steam locomotive.
  • Barclay 0-4-0 Shunter No 235 – Built in 1945 by Andrew Barclay, this small locomotive was placed on loan to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway from the National Army Museum under the same agreement as ‘Austerity’ steam locomotive WD198. She forms a useful addition to the works fleet and rejoices in the unofficial name of ‘Mavis’.