First look: Waterloo station is set to be transformed by a vast refurb

Waterloo might’ve just lost its crown as the UK’s busiest train station (a record it held for a whopping 16 years) but now there’s some positive news for the south London rail mega-hub. Today (March 11) plans have been unveiled that could entirely transform the station and its surrounding area. 

The ‘masterplan’ for Waterloo sets out a number of long-term goals designed to make the station less complicated to use and generally a more pleasant place to be. Designed by Grimshaw Architects and backed by both Network Rail and Lambeth Council, it’ll involve not just revamping Waterloo station but also its surrounding areas.

So, what exactly could Waterloo be getting? Well, at the centre of the masterplan are designs for a redesigned northern concourse and entirely new southern concourse. The former will get a remodelled entrance while the latter will apparently improve passenger flow and reduce congestion. 

But that isn’t all. Oh no. That’s just scratching the surface of Waterloo’s masterplan. The station could also get 11 new or enhanced entrances, 40 percent more station on the platform concourse and get some of its bus and taxi interchange relocated. 

Around the station, the masterplan includes 1,900 square metres of new green space (plus hundreds of trees) and aims to convert currently unused underground arches into shops and restaurants. If approved, the plan would also improve links between the station and cultural attractions on the South Bank. 

Waterloo revamp designs
Image: Network Rail

All this is on top of another project currently taking place which will take two years and see Waterloo’s roof replaced. Previously Network Rail chair Lord Hendy vowed not to build over Waterloo’s roof – it looks like this masterplan will instead see some reasonably tall structures built around the station.

Lord Hendy said about the plans: ‘We are delighted to be working with Lambeth Council on an exciting long-term plan to transform London Waterloo station. 

‘London Waterloo is iconic, and one of the busiest stations in the country, and it is imperative this station continues to evolve to ensure it is a world class transport hub and meets the needs of the millions of passengers that use the station each year, today and into the future.’

You can find out more about the Waterloo masterplan on the Lambeth Council website here.

London’s rail hubs on Time Out  

Waterloo isn’t the only major London rail hub to have recently announced a glow-up. St Pancras last week revealed plans to expand, while Liverpool Street’s refurb plans have proven controversial and £40 million is being spent on Peckham Rye

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