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Waterloo

London's Waterloo Station - the former spacious headquarters of the London and South Western Railway, the Southern Railway, and British Railways Southern Region - London's southern (railway) gateway to the South West and the stockbroker belt - and in terms of area the biggest station in Britain.

The original Waterloo station opened on 11th July 1848 as a modest 4 platform 6 track through station (it was hoped to extend the tracks to London Bridge) on the south bank of the Thames after the LSWR extended from its original terminus at Nine Elms. In 1860 platforms serving the Windsor lines were added and then in 1864 a link to London Bridge was achieved by the expedient of extending a single track across the concourse and by a bridge across Waterloo Road to join the now open SER line from Charing Cross. The bridge across Waterloo Road still exists and for many years provided a footpath link for passengers between Waterloo and Waterloo East stations, however this was use superseded by a new high level bridge built directly above the original bridge in 1992. Development of the overall station continued in a hotchpotch fashion by adding two additional small stations either side of the original leading to supplementary names of Windsor, North, Central and South being applied at various times. Workings of services from the three stations was often chaotic leading to much confusion of passengers, and it was this that was parodied by Jerome K. Jerome in a chapter in his book "Three Men in a Boat" by describing a journey from Waterloo to Kingston. The LSWR commenced the rebuilding in stages into a single spacious attractive terminus between 1909 and 1918, with the new 21 platform station being officially commissioned on 21st March 1922.

 
Waterloo A view of the end of Waterloo's platforms in 1963 - two Bulleid Pacific locos and a 4 Cor EMU can be seen clearly.

photograph by Terry Tracey

 
A photograph of the station throat taken in 1970 where the signal box - demolished in the early 1990s to make way for the International Station - can be seen on the right.

photograph by Michael Taylor

Waterloo
 
Waterloo The Portland Stone Victory Arch, the main street entrance to Waterloo, is a memorial to the 585 LSWR staff who died in WW1. Seen here on 30 January 2000.

photograph by Colin Duff

 
Waterloo Road on a busy 17 May 2000. The red bridge immediately above the red bus is the original bridge which carried a linking track across to the SER line. It was subsequently used as a pedestrian link between the two stations until replaced by the newer "tube" bridge seen above it, construction of which began in March 1992.

photograph by Colin Duff

Waterloo
 
Development within the station has continued ever since. The elegant ornamental iron fence and gates separating the wide concourse from the platforms has been replaced by a barrier line of retail units, the wonderful wooden indicator boards replaced by a modern Solari type indicator boards, the three separate ticket offices replaced by one, Terrazzo paving added to the concourse and of course a proliferation of retail and catering units. However many original and much loved features, such as the 6ft wide four faced clock suspended over the centre of the concourse, have been retained.
 
Waterloo The concourse as seen on 30th January 2000 looking west towards the new International station, the main indicator board on the left and the famed "meet me under the clock" clock suspended above.

photograph by Colin Duff

 
The concourse looking east. Just beyond the "i" information sign on the left is the booking office. 30 January 2000

photograph by Colin Duff

Waterloo

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This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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