The Anonymous Widower

What Is Happening At Waterloo In August?

There have been various alarming headlines promising chaos at Waterloo sation for the whole of August.

This article in Rail Engineer, which is entitled Waterloo and South West Route Upgrade, gives a factual view of what should happen.

An Outline Of The Work To Be Done

This is a list from the article, which lays out the work being done.

  1. Redevelopment of the previous International terminal and platforms;
  2. Extension of Platforms 1-4 to accommodate 10-car trains in place of the present eight-car units;
  3. Platform extension at 10 outlying stations – Feltham, Chertsey, Camberley, Egham, Virginia Water, Sunningdale, Ascot, Martins Heron, Bracknell and Wokingham;
  4. Track and signalling alterations on the approaches to Waterloo to create longitudinal space for the platform alterations;
  5. Thirty new five-car Desiro class trains;
  6. Improvements in access to the Bakerloo, Northern and Jubilee tube lines from platforms 1/2 and 3/4 and from the former International terminal.

This Google Map shows the platform ends at Waterloo station.


  1. The curved roof of the International station at the left
  2. The square roof of the main station, at the top right.
  3. Platforms are numbered from 1 to 24 from right-to-left.
  4. The five platforms in the International station are numbered 20-24.
  5. Platforms 1/2 and 3/4 are the shortest platforms to the right and will be lengthened to ten-cars.
  6. Platforms 5/6 and 7/8 are the medium length platforms. .
  7. Trains are visible in Platforms 8, 9 and 10.
  8. Platforms 11/12, 13/14, 15/16, 17/18 are all longer platforms.
  9. A train is visible in Platform 19, which lies alongside the International station.

This Google Map shows Platforms 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6.


  1. The complicated track layout, linking the tracks out of Platforms 1 to 4 together.
  2. The nose of an eight-car train in Platform 4.
  3. Platforms 1-4 will probably need to be lengthened by something like forty metres.
  4. The black cabs and a white one alongside the station, which are 4.6 metres long.

It certainly isn’t a small and simple project.

The Work Schedule For August

This is a shortened extract from the article describing how the work will be done.

The overall programme commenced in 2016 with the initial redevelopment stages of the International platforms. They have been shortened at their far ends to take 12-car trains.

When these platforms are ready for use by Windsor line services on 5 August this year, Platforms 1 to 10 will be closed between then and 28 August. This closure will allow Platforms 1 to 4 to be extended to accommodate 10-car trains and Platforms 5 to 8 will be modified. 

An even more severe closure, of Platforms 1-14, between 25 and 28 August, over the Bank Holiday weekend, is needed in order to complete the track and signalling alterations.

Extension of the platforms at the outlying stations is now complete apart from the work at Feltham, which is complicated by the proximity of a level crossing.

The end result of this, the largest investment for decades, will be an increase in peak time capacity into Waterloo of 30 per cent.

There is a lot more information in the full article.

What’s Wrong With The Class 707 Trains?

As I wrote earlier under point 5 in An Outline Of The Work To Be Done, thirty Desiro City Class 707 trains were to be bought for this capacity upgrade .

But the new operator; South Western Railway has decided that these trains are not wanted.


I’ve ridden both the Class 700 trains, which are the Thameslink version of the Class 707 train and Crossrail’s Class 345 train, which is a version of Bombardier’s new Aventra, which South Western Railway have ordered to replace their suburban fleet.

  • In my view in terms of noise, vibration and harshness, the Bombardier product is better.
  • The Class 345 train also gives a strong impression of space with its seating layout and large windows with slim pillars.
  • The Class 345 train is a bit more spartan, but then it is effectively a large Underground train, rather than a long-distance commuter train.
  • The Class 345 train has wi-fi and 4G connectivity, whereas the Class 700 trains have none.

Some of the trains being replaced by South Western Railway are refurbished Class 455 trains. They may be thirty-five years old, but after a high-class refurbishment, they do a good job and set a very high standard, that any new train must exceed.

If I was on a route across London , where I had a choice of one of these Class 455s or a new Class 700 train, I’d choose the older British Rail product, if there was no difference in time.

But it can’t just me passenger reaction to the two new trains, that have made South Western Railway ditch the trains. Although it is very important.

Bombardier have not disclosed all of the technical details of the Aventra and I think that these technical details are the key to the decision.

I have been suspicious for some time that Aventras are fitted with batteries to handle the regenerative braking and other issues.

In Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?, I describe the electrical systems of Hitachi’s new trains and come to this conclusion.

I will be very surprised if Class 800/801/802 trains don’t have batteries.

Will the Class 385 trains for ScotRail have similar traction system?

So if Hitachi are using batteries, why shouldn’t Bombardier? In Is The Battery Electric Multiple Unit (BEMU) A Big Innovation In Train Design?, I write about my trip in Bombardier’s prototype battery train in February 2015.

So does an Aventra have  a sophisticated battery system to handle the regenerative braking?

As an Electrical Engineer, I believe that using a battery to handle regenerative braking energy is much more efficient than returning the energy through the third rail or overhead wire, as another train needs to be close to use the energy.

Regenerative braking is quoted as saving up to twenty percent of the energy, but how much could be saved by an integrated train-track electrical system? Bombardier are understandably keeping their mouths shut.

But every Watt saved is less operating cost for the train operator!

Trains with onboard energy storage could give Health and Safety advantages, in places like stations and level crossings. If all trains using a level crossing were had onboard storage or were diesel, could the third rail be cut back to reduce the daanger to tresspassers?

There is also the facility for joining two five-car trains into a ten-car train automatically, which I’m sure is available on Aventras, just as it is with the Hitachi trains.

Splitting and joining at an intermediate station, as Sputheastern do at Ashford International, Great Northern do at Cambridge and Southern do at Gatwick, gives the following advantages.

  • Only one train path is needed between London and the intermediate station.
  • Between London and the intermediate station, capacity is maximised.
  • The two split services have more appropriate capacity to their routes.
  • Train companies probably spend less on track access charge and electricity.
  • Train companies might even need less trains.

The only disadvantage is that passengers must get in the right portion of a train.

Is the major problem with the Class 707 train, that they don’t have the ability to couple and uncouple automatically?




August 4, 2017 - Posted by | Transport | ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Waterloo station is getting a massive upgrade in August 2017, which I describe in detail in What Is Happening At Waterloo In August?. […]

    Pingback by An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2 « The Anonymous Widower | August 9, 2017 | Reply

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