UK: A £800m package of works intended to provide a 30% increase in peak capacity on the routes into London Waterloo station by 2019 was officially launched on March 23.

This encompasses a number of previously-announced projects, including:

  • Rebuilding the former Waterloo International terminal to provide an extra five platforms;
  • Extending platforms 1-4 to accommodate 10-car suburban trains;
  • Increasing capacity and improving passenger facilities at Surbiton and Vauxhall;
  • Delivery of 30 five-car Siemens Desiro City Class 707 EMUs for use on Waterloo – Windsor & Eton Riverside services from mid-2017, enabling a cascade of trains to other routes from mid-2018;
  • Replacing DC traction equipment on the existing Class 455 EMUs with three-phase AC equipment and solid state inverters, reducing maintenance downtime and enabling regenerative braking;
  • Extending platforms at Ascot, Bracknell, Camberley, Chertsey, Egham, Feltham, Martins Heron, Sunningdale, Virginia Water and Wokingham;
  • Strengthening power supplies;
  • Upgrading maintenance facilities, with a ‘new workforce concept’ bringing together the operator and train supplier;
  • Introducing a GreenSpeed Driver Advisory System which uses real-time data to calculate the optimal train speed for punctuality.

‘This is the biggest package of improvements for passengers travelling to and from Waterloo for decades’, said Network Rail Chairman Sir Peter Hendy at the launch event. ‘It will provide passengers with a better station, extra seats and new trains. And let's face it, this is not before time. Since 1996, the numbers of passengers on routes into Waterloo have more than doubled, rising from 108 million passenger-journeys a year to over 230 million. And this increase is showing no sign of slowing down.’

The plans would ‘create a bigger, better Waterloo and improve passengers' journeys on our most congested part of Britain's railway’, he added. ‘They are a long way from being the complete answer to the peak time congestion on this packed commuter route, but they will make a big difference.’