Waterloo station

The facade of Waterloo Station.
The facade of Waterloo Station.

Waterloo is a major railway station and transport interchange complex in the London Borough of Lambeth.

It is located in the Waterloo district of London, which was itself named after the Battle of Waterloo in which Napoleon was defeated near Brussels. Somewhat ironically, it is now London's gateway for train passengers from France and Belgium. (In 1998, French politician Florent Longuepée wrote to Tony Blair, demanding unsuccessfully that the station be renamed on the grounds that the name is insensitive to French visitors.)

The complex comprises four linked railway stations and a bus station. The whole complex is within Travelcard Zone 1.


Waterloo mainline station

The original mainline Waterloo Station was opened on 11 July 1848 by the London and South Western Railway. It was first laid out as a through station with the original (unrealised) intention being to run direct mainline trains to the City. The station became increasingly ramshackle and cluttered as the 19th century went on, until the decision was finally taken to tear the whole thing down and begin again. Construction began on the new station in 1900 and continued until 1922, with the new station boasting 21 platforms and a concourse nearly 800 feet (244 m) long. However, it was badly damaged during World War II and required considerable reconstruction thereafter.

Following the privatisation of British Rail in the 1990s, ownership and management of Waterloo was transferred to Railtrack, and subsequently to Network Rail. Trains run to the south-west of England and are mostly operated by South West Trains.

The station is linked to the South Bank by an elevated walkway. It was once possible to walk directly by elevated walkways and footbridges all the way from the concourse of Waterloo to that of Charing Cross railway station on the north side of the Thames, but the demolition of part of the Waterloo walkway and the reconstruction of the Hungerford Footbridge means that that is no longer possible.

One now-vanished curiosity of Waterloo is that it was originally the terminus for London's daily funeral express to Brookwood Cemetery. Funerary trains bearing coffins (at 2/6 each - singles, naturally) left from the 'Necropolis Station' just outside the main station. The Necropolis Station was totally destroyed during the war.

Waterloo International

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Waterloo International concourse

Waterloo International station adjoins Waterloo mainline station; this has its own two-level concourse and train shed for Eurostar trains to Belgium and France. It was built in the early 1990s at a cost of £400 million to a design by the architects Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners. The station was widely praised for its architecture, and won a variety of awards on its opening in 1994. Its most impressive feature is a 400 m-long glass canopy consisting of 37 prismatic, three-pinned bow string arches of varying spans, designed by Anthony Hunt Associates.

From 2007 after the Channel Tunnel Rail Link is completed, Eurostar trains will terminate at St Pancras station thus making Waterloo International redundant. It will then revert to the ownership of the Department of Transport who will determine how it is to be used in the future.

Waterloo East

Waterloo East station is connected to the main station by an elevated footbridge across Waterloo Road. It was originally opened as Waterloo Junction in January 1869 by the South Eastern Railway (later the Southern Railway) and was renamed as Waterloo Eastern in July 1935; it was given its present name in May 1977. It is a stop on the main line from Charing Cross railway station through London Bridge Station to south London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent. In an departure from normal practice, the platforms at Waterloo East are identified by letters rather than numbers, so that passengers and staff do not confuse them with those of the main station.

There is no longer a ticket office at Waterloo East. If you do not have the change required to use the ticket machines (which don't always work) you will have to buy a ticket from the mainline ticket office. Given that the walk between the two takes several minutes, this can result in missed trains. Waterloo East is managed by franchise holder South Eastern Trains.

Waterloo East also has a connection to Southwark tube station on the Jubilee Line, opened in November 1999.

Originally Waterloo East had a rail connection to the main station, which crossed the concourse of that station. This saw little service in real life, although H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds contains a passage describing its use to convey troop trains en-route to the Martian landing site. The rail connection has long since been removed, but the remnants can still be seen from the link footbridge.

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Waterloo Underground station

Travelator at Waterloo tube station
Travelator at Waterloo tube station
Waterloo tube station is a London Underground station. It is on the Bakerloo Line between Lambeth North and Embankment, the Jubilee Line between Westminster and Southwark, the Northern Line between Kennington and Embankment, and the Waterloo & City Line leading to Bank.

The Waterloo & City Line, nicknamed 'The Drain', was the first underground railway line at Waterloo, opening on 8 August 1898. The Bakerloo Line started serving Waterloo on 10 March, 1906, followed by the Northern Line on 13 September 1926. The Jubilee Line station opened on 20 November 1999 as part of the Jubilee Line Extension project. The Jubilee platforms are at the opposite end of the site from those of the Bakerloo and Northern lines, but the two ends are connected by a 140 m (460-ft) travelator link - only the second on the Underground (the other is at the Waterloo & City Line at Bank).

Waterloo station and the Waterloo Underground station are the setting for the classic Kinks song 'Waterloo Sunset'.

External links

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