COMMUTERS are facing delays and disruption as major rail engineering works draw to a close.
City rail passengers using routes towards the now-reopened London Waterloo station can expect disruption this morning after critical safety work overran.
Network Rail has now fully reopened the station following three-and-a-half weeks of non-stop engineering work.
Dubbed ‘one of the largest and most complex’ upgrades in the station’s history, more than 1,000 engineers and trackside staff worked to extend platforms one to four.
The work – which is part of a wider £800m Waterloo and South Western Railway upgrade – will contribute to efforts to boost the station’s capacity by 30 per cent by December, 2018.
Network Rail have offered their thanks to passengers who were affected during the operation.
In a statement issued today, Becky Lumlock, route managing director at Network Rail, said: ‘The work we have completed in three-and-a-half weeks this August will benefit passengers for decades to come. The longer platforms will create space for longer trains, making journeys more comfortable for passengers, particularly at the busiest times of day.
‘Over the next 16 months we’ll turn our attention to the final stages of the redevelopment of the former International Terminal. We’ll be working behind the scenes so that we can, by the end of next year, permanently bring the five extra platforms back into use for what will become a modern, high frequency commuter terminal fit for the 21st century.
‘I’d like to personally thank passengers for their patience over the last few weeks, and apologise to disruption to their journeys this morning. I’d also like to pay tribute to our 1,000-strong army of engineers and track workers who have delivered such an enormous project.’
Rail passengers travelling to and from London Waterloo, including those from Portsmouth, faced a reduced service as work was completed.
Andy Mellors, managing director for South Western Railway, said: ‘I’d like to thank our passengers for their patience over the past few weeks. It’s clearly been a challenging time but these improvement works will help us deliver the increased capacity needed for the future.
‘As well as Network Rail’s orange army who completed the works, I’d also like to thank South Western Railway colleagues and those working for other industry partners for their hard work over many weeks in preparing for this incredibly complex infrastructure upgrade, as well as providing assistance to our passengers during the works.’
Statistics show that over the period there have been:
• 180,000 hours worked
• 1,270 metres of track laid
• 230 metres of pre-cast concrete installed
• 160 meters of new platform built
• Seven miles of cable laid