One of Waterloo’s four disused Eurostar platforms is to be returned to service in 2014.
Longer trains are to serve the terminus as the DfT announced plans to add extra carriages and upgrade the SWT commuter fleet. The carriages, which will allow around 8,000 extra peak-time passengers into Waterloo every morning, will begin arriving from May 2013, with all new services in place by July 2014.
Government funding means lease company, Porterbrook, will be able to create a fleet of 36 five-car suburban trains to run on South West Trains routes. This new fleet will enable around 8,000 extra peak-time passengers to travel into London’s Waterloo station every morning, as 8-car trains will be lengthened to run in 10-car formation on certain routes.
Alstom is masterminding the project. Known as Class 458/5, the improved fleet will be made up by converting two existing Alstom-built fleets, the Class 458s, used by SWT and Class 460s, formerly used by the Gatwick Express.
Modifications will include cabs, couplers, gangways, as well as conversion of baggage areas into passenger saloon areas. Up to 92% of the material content of the project will be sourced from the UK supply chain. Doncaster-based Wabtec will carry out the work.
Alstom is recruiting around twelve engineers in order to provide a team of twenty five dedicated to supporting the conversion project.
Says Transport Minister Justine Greening, ‘These extra carriages will help ease those conditions, while opening an extra platform will provide space for additional trains to run. But our plans do not stop here. We are now embarked on one of the largest programmes of rail investment since the Victorian era and we expect to introduce further carriages on Waterloo routes and bring more platforms into use in the future.’
Waterloo’s former Eurostar platforms have been out of use since 2007 when services switched to St Pancras. Since then the only rail activity the platforms have seen is a steam locomotive being propelled into the station as part of the Railway Children theatre production.