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Capacity crisis at Waterloo

An extension to the concourse is one of the radical proposals being considered by Network Rail to solve the capacity crisis at Waterloo Station

Speaking at last week's South Bank Forum meeting at County Hall, John Fellows from Network Rail gave a presentation detailing plans on the future and redevelopment of Waterloo Station. The station is facing a major congestion crisis with up to 10,000 people waiting and passing through the main concourse during peak hours. The station is close to its maximum capacity during this time and the rise in numbers is expected to continue.

Network Rail believes that radical change at Waterloo is vital and a number of ideas to combat this problem were explained to the Forum. Possible short-term solutions which are likely to be implemented between 2005 and 2007 include a joint-station control room and improved station management plans. Platform access is currently being reviewed. Medium-term solutions include the installation of automatic ticket gates which would alleviate long queues, and to increase the capacity of interchange links between London Underground and London Buses.

Passenger congestion pressures mean that these solutions are likely to effective for up to 15 years, but will allow for long-term strategies to be developed and funding to be secured. Ideas that could provide a long-term strategy for up to 30-40 years include building an extension to the concourse at street level that would stretch out to Mepham Street. This may also include the redevelopment of the Cab Road and general office buildings close to Mepham Street. The costs are likely to be very high, although no estimate was given.

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