Waterloo Platforms To Re-Open

More radical rail strategies also needed

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A long-term rail strategy for London and the south-east, including longer platforms at Waterloo has been unveiled.

With the number of passengers travelling into London, especially at peak times, set to grow significantly by 2031, Network Rail's London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy identifies ways to boost capacity, improve journeys and increase connectivity across the region.

The plans include re-opening the disused platforms at Waterloo and lengthening some trains going into Waterloo, as part of an on-going project to lengthen suburban train platforms.

But the report, which also includes extra commuter services between the Thames Valley and Paddington, extra services on the Great Eastern Main Line into Liverpool Street, additional trains on the Lea Valley line into Stratford, more trains on the Windsor lines into Waterloo, says a "more radical approach" is needed to meet future forecast demand on the South West Main Line - the main train line from Wimbledon into London.

Paul Plummer, Network Rail group strategy director, said: "London relies on rail to get more than two million people to and from work each day. It's clear that further investment is essential if rail is to continue to play its part in supporting the economy and this strategy provides a clear vision of how rail can continue to cater for the passengers and businesses of tomorrow.

"To make this happen, Network Rail and the rest of the industry need to focus on ways of improving efficiency and value for money."

Long-term options for the South West Main Line outlined in the report are:

    • A long term scheme for further consideration would include building a new track within the existing railway boundary from near Surbiton to Clapham Junction, in addition to infrastructure enhancements at Woking and between Clapham Junction and Waterloo. Protection of the land to allow such a scheme to be implemented is recommended.
    • As an interim measure it is possible that new signalling technology might allow a small increase in service levels, though this is currently unproven.
    • A further option would be a variant on the Crossrail line 2 scheme, running via Clapham Junction and Wimbledon. This would enable some new services to run, avoiding the constraints at Waterloo.

Richard Tracey, AM for Wandsworth and Merton, said: "After much lobbying of Ministers and Network Rail by myself and Conservative MP colleagues from Wandsworth and Merton, we seem to see some possible 'light at the end of the tunnel'.

"Longer trains, longer platforms, and the final re-use of the mothballed Waterloo International platforms plus possible new track and signalling could make so much difference to commuters' lives. That and more rail development in SW London must be our objective."

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August 1, 2011