NR con­sid­ers deck­ing op­tion at Water­loo sta­tion

Rail (UK) - - Network News - Daniel Pud­di­combe Con­tribut­ing Writer rail@bauer­me­dia.co.uk

NET­WORK Rail is con­sid­er­ing in­stalling deck­ing over Water­loo sta­tion, to ac­com­mo­date grow­ing pas­sen­ger num­bers and to give devel­op­ers the op­por­tu­nity to build new homes and of­fices above the sta­tion.

Nor­rie Courts, Sta­tions Di­rec­tor at Net­work Rail, told RAIL the or­gan­i­sa­tion is at the early stages of com­ing up with a plan to trans­form the UK’s busiest rail­way sta­tion.

He ex­plained the de­sire is to im­prove the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence first and fore­most, with the com­mer­cial ben­e­fits af­forded by the project act­ing as a bonus.

“We need to make sure that the

sta­tion is fit for pur­pose in 2045 or 2050, so what are we do­ing now to make sure that hap­pens?” he told RAIL.

“We’ve ex­tended Water­loo by in­cor­po­rat­ing five new plat­forms at the Water­loo In­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal, which will keep us go­ing for another 15 to 20 years. But we need to sort out Water­loo - I think it’s a ‘deck over and a clean-out down be­low’ job. We should do a Lon­don Bridge-type scheme and clear out all the arches, so you can walk from the Thames through to Lower Marsh.”

Courts cau­tioned there are a num­ber of hur­dles Net­work Rail will need to over­come.

“It’s go­ing to be ex­pen­sive, and we need to get Lam­beth Coun­cil on board,” he said.

“We need an engi­neer­ing so­lu­tion which al­lows us to go in and work our way across the sta­tion, and at the same time think from an engi­neer­ing struc­tures per­spec­tive how we would put in sup­ports to build a deck above the sta­tion. If that is the case, what den­sity could we put above the sta­tion?”

The only sec­tion of Water­loo that must re­main is the war memo­rial on the Vic­tory Arch, but the re­main­der of the build­ing is not listed.

Courts told RAIL he also wants to see Vic­to­ria decked over, although he ex­plained there are more lo­gis­ti­cal hur­dles to over­come owing to more of this sta­tion be­ing listed and be­cause Buck­ing­ham Palace is nearby. How­ever, he ex­plained that it may be dif­fi­cult to fi­nance such work due to com­pli­cated Gov­ern­ment pol­icy.

“Fund­ing is easy to bring into Net­work Rail, fi­nanc­ing is dif­fi­cult. Gov­ern­ment ac­count­ing mea­sures stop us from bring­ing in third-party fi­nanc­ing mea­sures at the mo­ment. There is lots of pen­sion money and lots of for­eign com­pa­nies out there who want to in­vest, but be­cause we can’t trans­fer the risk prop­erly we ap­pear un­der the Gov­ern­ment bal­ance sheet,” he said.

“There’s no point in bor­row­ing at 10% from some­one else when we can bor­row from the Gov­ern­ment at 2% and not af­fect the bal­ance sheet.

“We need to work with the Trea­sury and solve that prob­lem, be­cause un­til we do there will be a re­stric­tion on the money go­ing into sta­tions.”

ALAMY.

Net­work Rail is con­sid­er­ing op­tions to in­stall deck­ing over Water­loo sta­tion, to cre­ate the op­por­tu­nity for homes and of­fices to be built. The only part of the sta­tion that must re­main in­tact is the war memo­rial on Vic­tory Arch (pic­tured) as it is listed.

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