Friday, 25 July 2008

Network Rail: "Waterloo sucks!"

Network Rail have a long term plan (after 2014 at least) to extend Waterloo's platforms across the current concourse (which is elevated), and move all the stations facilities downstairs to street level. English Heritage have retaliated by trying to get the whole station listed, as "largest and finest British terminus of the early 20th century”.

Network Rail obviously object, and the only way to do that is to rubbish the station. Some choice quotes:

“a late and rather weak expression”
"The station was a major engineering project of its period, but the results, in spatial and architectural terms, are far from dramatic or memorable"
"The architecture... is a late expression of Edwardian baroque styling, rather thinly applied."
“Waterloo is not especially innovative in terms of planning and in structural terms is unadventurous, lacking the excitement of the great 19th century stations"
Thanks to reader Bob for sending this in.


Rob said...

I think English Heritage have to understand that Waterloo Station is primarily a railway terminus whose job it is to ferry people to and from trains into the central London transport system.

Fair enough commenting on the design (I like it myself) but I am of the understanding that they need to do this work to lengthen the suburban line trains to 12 coaches. Travelling through Waterloo every day, I'd much prefer them to make changes to the 'largest and finest Britsh terminus' than keep it as it is and make it a pain for people to use.

Anyway, they refurbished St. P tastefully so I'm sure that the same could be done for Waterloo.

Paul Prentice said...

English Heritage have a very fair point - Waterloo is a fine structure of it time. It is a shame they've taken so long to say what they really think about it.

I can see how the St Pancras treatment would work at Waterloo - the way it is elevated above street level is awkward, and you wouldn't have to compromise the most important historical fabric. Let's hope that NR and EH can work together well like they did with St Pancras International to revitalise this station.

Mark Boulton said...

Well, I don't like what was done to St. Pancras. It's a railway station third, and a shopping centre first. I don't know what it is second.

All I know is, it is an absolute pain to get around, to or from, and too many fine original features have been lost forever.

I fear this decade is the new late 60's/early 70's - a second breath for the same sort of cavalier developer attitudes that resulted in the decimation of Euston station and the original King's Cross frontage in that period.

I'm hoping that in the late 2010s and early 2020s, people will start looking back at the 2000s with the same 'elevated thinking' that we had in the late 80's and early 90's, in which people would say "back in the 60s and 70s, commercial development was seen as more important than the retention of architectural and civil engineering history. Thankfully however we have learned from those times and now approach these things with more care and sympathy."

Jon said...

I think St Pancras mobility might improve when the tube's northern ticket hall opens. That way not as many domestic train service users (incl. FCC) will clog up the concourse on their way to the tube.

Anonymous said...

Two press releases from Network Rail who were gushing about it when they finished refurbishing the roof.


Friday 17 October 2003 17:20

Passengers using Waterloo Station are benefiting from a lighter, airy and more modern platform environment, which is all down to a brand new station roof, Network Rail revealed today.

The new roof, delivered in partnership with international engineering company AMEC, was marked by an opening ceremony attended by John Armitt, Chief Executive, Network Rail, Richard Bowker, Chairman and Chief Executive, SRA, Deborah Richards, Director Railway Estates, Network Rail and Sir Peter Mason, Chief Executive, AMEC.

Waterloo Station is owned and managed by Network Rail and has one of the largest train shed roofs in Europe, measuring 28,000 sq m, which is the equivalent to over seven football pitches. The mammoth engineering project took two years to complete and during that time over 24,000 panes of glass and 19km of guttering were fitted and 675 tonnes of trusses were cleaned and repainted.

Delivering the new roof without causing disruption to the 200,000 or more passengers who pass through Waterloo daily was of paramount importance. This was achieved by constructing a deck underneath the roof to enable work to be carried out safely, whilst trains continued to operate below as normal.

In addition to the provision of a much brighter and drier environment, passengers are also benefiting from the refurbishment of the end of platform canopies and the addition of new lighting along the platforms.

The project was mindful of environmental considerations and used environmentally friendly low-solvent-based paints and timber from sustainable sources. The new platform lighting is energy efficient and waste from the project was recycled where possible.

Deborah Richards, Director Railway Estates, Network Rail said: “Regenerating the roof at Waterloo has resulted in much improved platforms and travelling environment for passengers. Network Rail is continuing its task of rebuilding the railway and has quite literally raised the standard of the roof at Waterloo for the millions who use the station each year.”

Sir Peter Mason, AMEC chief executive, said: “AMEC is committed to working with Network Rail to maintain and improve the UK’s rail infrastructure. This contract highlights how a successful partnership style approach can deliver real value on such a challenging and complex project.”


Monday 13 December 2004 10:46

Network Rail’s £41m refurbishment of Waterloo station’s roof has won a prestigious National Railway Heritage Award.

The project to refurbish the 28,000 square metre train shed roof – the largest in Europe – won ‘The First Engineering Craft Skills Award.’

Simon Kirby, Network Rail Director, said: “We are delighted to have won this award. It recognises the enormity of the project and the importance of our heritage work.

“The station and its roof are historic London landmarks, steeped in railway history. We wanted to ensure that the roof was not overtly altered, while bringing it up to date and securing its future.”

The work involved a like-for-like replacement of the 100-year-old roof coverings and refurbishment of the existing structure, which covers all 19 platforms at Waterloo station.

The project was completed, in partnership with AMEC Capital Project Limited, without disruption for the 150 million passengers who travelled through the station during the project.

The project also won an award at the ‘Historic Bridge and Infrastructure Awards’ in recognition of exceptional skill and care which were applied to the project’s design and execution.

Alan Ji said...

Is there any way of terminating longer trains at Waterloo without extending the tracks into the present concourse? Surely there isn't?