Survey uncovers mental impact of Waterloo works
A NEW survey has revealed that the London Waterloo upgrade had an impact on the mental health of almost 40% of Surrey residents.
During the works, which began on August 5, thousands of commuters from across the county experienced ‘extremely’ busy trains, queues outside stations and cancelled services.
The survey conducted by Get Surrey, in which 128 people took part, found that a number of passengers from Surrey faced ‘increased stress levels’, fatigue and even anxiety attacks during the three weeks of disruption. A survey participant wrote:
often found myself “I dreading in the hours beforehand going to the station in fear of what I would find.
“Even in the build up to the works, I found myself obsessing over train times and whether I could make appointments and work on time.”
Another said: “I have anxiety anyway but the excessive crowding triggered attacks of anxiety and panic.”
In addition, 60% of respondents felt that the works at UK’s busiest train station had an impact on their family life.
A participant told us: “I have a baby and I missed his bath and bedtime every night for three weeks.”
Another passenger added: “My fiancé and I both commute to Waterloo every day.
“We went from a couple to ‘room mates’ as we only ever saw each other for an hour before needing to go to bed to get up earlier than usual.”
According to participants, journeys to and from Waterloo station were particularly stressful during morning and evening rush hour.
More than 40% of respondents said that the worst aspect of travelling during the upgrade was ‘unreliability’, with 66% of passengers confessing that they were late for work at least once.
A participant said: “I was late every single day that I took the train to work.”
“I was constantly late getting to work and even more delayed getting home in the evening,” another passenger mentioned.
Additionally, a respondent said that access for disabled passengers was ‘difficult’.
The survey participant explained: “Staff at Waterloo did not know what type of wheelchair ramp to bring out to the train because they did not know in advance what type of train would be coming in next.”
Even though most respondents (77%) said they were “happy” about the reopening of the station on August 29, they believe further disruption is expected.
A passenger commented: “The train service has been appalling since the works have been completed.
“Trains are even more overcrowded, constantly late and crawling into Waterloo.”
A Network Rail spokesman commented on the survey: “Closing ten platforms at the country’s busiest station was always going to be disruptive and we sincerely thank our passengers for their patience during that time.
“To help support them we started warning people more than a year before the work began so they could plan ahead, deployed more than a thousands extra staff across our route to help people on their journeys, gave away free water and ice cream and chose August as it traditionally quieter on the railway.
“The former rail operator, South West Trains, also offered compensation for season ticket holders.”
South Western Railway (SWR), which has replaced South West Trains, began operating in London and the south of England on August 20.
Since then, SWR customers have been affected by a string delays and cancellations.