Waterloo engineering works to cause disruption on rail network

Commuters face severe rail disruption after almost half of the platforms at the UK's busiest train station closed for a major overhaul.

Workers heading for London have been told to expect reduced services on the first working day since platforms one to nine at Waterloo were closed on Saturday until August 28 to enable engineering works to take place.

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South West Trains have warned passengers stations such as Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Woking and Guildford will be "exceptionally busy" as they will have fewer services running and customers could be forced to queue to get in.

Seven stations in south west London will be closed during the works, according to Network Rail's website.

An average of 270,000 journeys are normally made to or from Waterloo every day.

The project to extend the station's platforms will allow longer trains to operate on suburban routes from December and provide space for 30% more passengers at peak times, Network Rail said.

To ease some of the impact of the work the old Eurostar platforms are being used at Waterloo for the first time since the cross-Channel train service relocated to London St Pancras in 2007.

Rail chiefs urged passengers to consider taking a holiday, working from home or travelling earlier or later than normal while the project is under way.

But businesses leaders said this was not always possible, and the Federation of Small Businesses warned traders will suffer lost income they will be unable to recover even once the work is completed.

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne has previously admitted he is "worried there will be challenging days" and accepted that "there are going to be days when the service is very difficult for people".

First Group and Hong Kong-based MTR will take over the South West Trains franchise from Stagecoach on August 20.

The Waterloo work will culminate over the August bank holiday weekend, when it will be one of a number of large projects being carried out.

Passengers hoping to take a leisure trip on the final public holiday before Christmas will find major changes to services out of London Bridge, London Euston, London Liverpool Street and London Paddington, as well as Waterloo.

The work at Euston will be one of the first major physical projects in preparation for the HS2 high-speed railway, as a new power supply is installed at the station.

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The UK's worst train stations
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The UK's worst train stations
This Edwardian station was built in the early 1900s and is operated by East Midlands Trains. 59 per cent of people surveyed said they were satisfied with the station - a low score which ranked it bottom for both cleanliness and facilities in the Passenger Focus National Passenger survey.

Birmingham New Street railway station is the largest and busiest serving Birmingham. Despite the regular flow of people, only 64% of passengers surveyed in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) are satisfied with the sation. 

London Bridge railway station is a central London railway station and a London Underground complex in the London Borough of Southwark. The station is the oldest railway station in central London and one of the oldest in the world. 67% of passengers surveyed were satisfied with this station, the fourth busiest station in London. 

Peterborough railway station is a major interchange serving both the north-south ECML, as well as East-West long-distance and local services. The station is managed by East Coast. Just 67% of passengers surveyed were satisfied with this station.

Crewe station was completed in 1837 and is one of the most historic railway stations in the world. Like London Bridge and Peterborough, only 67% of passengeres surveyed were happy with this station.

Gatwick Airport station provides a direct rail connection to London. The station platforms are located about 70 metres away from the airport's South Terminal. 69% of passengers surveyed were satisfied with this station.

Stockport railway station was identified as one of the ten worst category B interchange stations by a mystery shopper assessment in 2009. Despite improvements being made to the station since, it is still one of the ten worst stations with only 70% of passengers satisfied with the station.

Clapham Junction station is one of the busiest in Europe by number of trains using it with many routes from London's two busiest termini, London Waterloo and London Victoria. Only 71% of passengers surveyed were satisfied with this busy station.

Maidenhead railway station serves the town of Maidenhead, Berkshire, England. It is served by local services operated by First Great Western from London Paddington to Reading, and is also the junction for the Marlow Branch Line. The survey showed 71 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the overall quality of the station, giving it the ninth lowest satisfaction rating. 

Coventry station has the PlusBus scheme where train and bus tickets can be bought together at a saving. Despite this convenient feature, only 72% of passengers surveyed were satisfied with the station. 

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