New platforms fail to improve Waterloo resilience

 

Passengers using the UK’s busiest railway station suffered disruption on Friday, despite the opening of three new platforms last month as track problems saw a single platform taken out of use.

However, the incident could result in a windfall for operator South Western Railway (SWR), which took part in the decision to cut services.

SWR said on Friday morning that as a result of a problem with a set of points in the London Waterloo area which meant that trains are unable to access platform 1, ‘we have had to cancel a number of trains in the morning peak period.’

”Local

SWR announced on Twitter at around 11am that the problem had cleared.

Last month, Network Rail, which manages the station, announced that it had re-opened three platforms (pictured) at the former Eurostar terminal, which closed in 2007, with two more platforms to open this year.

Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan states that the improvements at Waterloo, including the new platforms, will provide ‘reduced risk of delays and cancellations’.

Network Rail told Transport Network that the decision to cancel services despite the additional capacity was taken jointly by it and SWR.

A spokesperson said: 'Following a points failure, which closed platform one at Waterloo station ahead of the morning peak on 4 January, our control centre made the decision to spread the service across other platforms at the station.

'This allowed us to restore normal service by 10.30am that day. Our engineers then worked overnight to replace the points and bring the platform back into use for the start of service on 5 January.

'Moving the entire service from platform one into the Waterloo International Terminal would have cut across all other lines and caused more disruption for our passengers.'

Network Rail acknowledged that the incident fell under the Schedule 8 compensation scheme, under which it compensates train operators for unplanned service disruption that it has caused. Research has shown that Schedule 8 payments can often greatly exceed compensation payments to passengers, leading to accusations that rail firms make a profit from disruption.

Last month regulator the Office of Rail and Road announced that Waterloo was the busiest station in Britain for the 15th consecutive year, despite the total number of passenger entries and exits falling by five million to 94.4 million.

 

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