Waterloo Station in London should be decked over to solve its capacity problem in the long term, a Network Rail boss has said.
Speaking at a conference in London on UK station development, Network Rail stations director Norrie Courts said the current works to expand Waterloo would only solve its capacity problems for 15 to 20 years and more work would need to be done to extend its life.
“Waterloo, right in the heart of London, 100M passengers a year use it, but we’ve got to keep it operational,” he said. “We’ve extended Waterloo by incorporating five new platforms in Waterloo International Terminal. That’ll keep us going for another 15 to 20 years but we need to sort out Waterloo.
“We need to make sure that station is fit for purpose in 2045 or 2050 so what are we doing now to make sure that happens?”
Courts said the solution to increase capacity in the short term was to bring the five mothballed platforms in the Waterloo International terminal back into use.
But in the long term, although the plan was in its infancy, he said he wanted to see a massive deck built over the station to increase the development opportunities, and the station below “cleaned out”.
“I think it’s a deck over and a clean out down below,” he said. “Do a London Bridge type scheme and clear out all the arches and create an at grade concourse so you can walk all the way through to the Thames to the north through to Lower Marsh on the south east side.”
Coming up with an engineering solution which “allows us to go in and work our way across the station” while also allowing for the placing of the structure to support the deck above would be a challenge, he said. Work on developing a masterplan for the long term vision is due to start soon.
To redevelop the station, the only part he stressed must stay was the war memorial on the Victory Arch, however he said the rest of the building was not listed.
Issues such as the density of a future development above the station would be another challenge, he said.
In the medium term he said it was now looking at the pinch point created in the area around exit two at the bottom of the escalators which opens onto Waterloo Road.
“We’re doing it in stages,” he said. “We now want to look at exit two, which is the one down the escalators next to McDonalds, that’s a pinch point there with people coming out of the Jubilee line and up the escalators. We’ve talked to London Underground station teams (about) what can we do there that’s a bit different.”
Waterloo Station is currently undergoing a major £800M redevelopment to increase capacity.