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'Extremely tight' deadline for Waterloo upgrade

Waterloo station 2013 3to2

The reopening of the old Eurostar platforms at Waterloo station will open on time despite the schedule being “extremely tight”.

Speaking at the New Civil Engineer UK Transport conference, Skanska commercial director Tim Ryall said the Wessex Capacity Alliance team had hit all milestone deadlines.

“We are still on target, it’s tight, really tight, but we are still on target,” he said. “The bit that’s tight is Waterloo International Terminal. We have achieved the all suburban 10 car train milestone [extending existing platforms to accommodate longer trains], Vauxhall is completed, Waterloo congestion relief is completed. The bit we are concerned about is the infill roof.

“That was always going to be tight.”

The team is working to install a new roof linking the existing roof on the Waterloo side and the roof designed by architect Grimshaw which covers the mothballed Eurostar terminal.

“That was always going to be difficult,” he said. “The design took a long time to push through. We had the Twentieth Century group concerned with what we were doing and there was a lot of planning to go through.”

Ryall said currently the alliance was working to a programme to have the work finished on 23 December. But he added that it had a contingency plan if works overran.

“We have a plan B, as you always need a plan B,” he said. “It will open, but like London Bridge, there might be some back of house stuff which we need to put finishes on. The main thing is it will take the rolling stock.”

The work to reinstate the four Eurostar platforms is the last part of an £800M investment by Network Rail to increase capacity at the station and on the south-west network.

A major part of the work to convert Eurostar platforms was carried out in a three-week blockade in August last year during which around £32M worth of work was carried out.

A document containing the lessons learnt from the project will be published by the alliance and be available to all to download. 

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