Waterloo International railway station

Coordinates: 51°30′11″N 0°06′53″W / 51.502973°N 0.114809°W / 51.502973; -0.114809 (London Waterloo Railway Station)

Waterloo International National Rail

Four Eurostar Class 373 at Waterloo International
Location South Bank
Local authority London Borough of Lambeth
Number of platforms 5 (3 in use)
Key dates
1994 Station opened
2007 Station closed
Early 2014 Reopened
Late 2014 Partly merged into main station
Early 2016 Closed for refurbishments
Replaced by St Pancras International
Other information
Lists of stations
London Transport portal

Waterloo International station is a railway station in London, located next to Waterloo Mainline. It is served by South West Trains, on regional services in the suburbs of London but it does not receive a very frequent service as most services use the mainline station. It was the London terminus of the Eurostar international rail service from its opening on 14 November 1994 until 13 November 2007. It stands on the western side of Waterloo railway station, London. It was managed and branded separately from the main-line station. Its 5 platforms were numbered from 20 to 24 and, unlike the platforms at the main station, are long enough to accommodate trains of up to 20 coaches (total length 394 metres).

After the Class 458 and Class 460 fleet were merged by South West Trains and Porterbrook to form a new fleet of Class 458/5 trains, platform 20 came into use as part of the main station.


Designed by the architectural firm Grimshaw Architects with Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners (consultant Engineers) and Bovis Construction (as the main contractors).[1] It cost £120 million and was completed in May 1993, in time for the scheduled completion of the Channel Tunnel. Construction of the Tunnel was delayed however, and the station did not open until November 1994, when it won the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture as well as the Royal Institute of British Architects' Building of the Year award.[2]

Waterloo International has five platforms, numbered 20 to 24, one (20) taken from the main-line station, and four new ones, all covered by a 400 m long [1] glass and steel vault of 37 arches forming a prismatic structure, conceived by Anthony Hunt Associates. The five vaults are supported by a grid of cylindrical concrete columns that rise up from the carpark level, through the circulation levels to the platforms. A structural glass wall separates old Waterloo Station from the new.[1] A two-level reception area fronts the main station concourse. The curvature of the roof is steeper on the western side and here the trains pass close to the structure. The roof arches are made up of two dissimilar curved trusses, triangular in section, with compression booms of tubular steel (CFS) and tension booms of solid steel. Both compression and tension members are curved — structural engineer Anthony Hunt described the trusses as "banana shaped". Curved, tapering trusses were later used to great effect at Galpharm Stadium in Huddersfield.[1]

The first Eurostar departure, on 14 November 1994, was formed of Eurostar units 373004/373003 [3] and the last service left at 18.12 GMT on 13 November 2007 for Brussels. From the next day Eurostar services used their new London terminus of St Pancras International.[4]

Post Eurostar

South West Trains units occupying platforms 21 and 22, Waterloo (ex-International Terminal) station at 15:30 on 23 July 2015.
Mainline railways around the South Bank
Charing Cross London Underground
Hungerford Bridge
over River Thames
Left arrow
South Western Main Line
to Weymouth
Waterloo London Underground London River Services
Waterloo East
Blackfriars Road (1864-1868)
Left arrow
to Sutton, Sevenoaks and Brighton
Elephant & Castle London Underground
Blackfriars London Underground London River Services / City Thameslink
Blackfriars Bridge (1864-1885)
Cannon Street London Underground
London Bridge London Underground London River Services
River Thames
Down arrow
Brighton and South Eastern Main Lines
toward SE London, Kent, Sussex and Surrey

Ownership of Waterloo International station passed to BRB (Residuary) Ltd., with no clear plans for the future use of the Eurostar platforms.[5] Some reports had suggested that they might be used for shops,[6] but a parliamentary written answer of 4 June 2008 stated platform 20 was to be used by some South West Trains services from December 2008.[7] At the time of closure, Network Rail had no immediate plans to use the other four former international platforms for domestic use [8] and they were disused from November 2007.[9]

In 2012 a new proposal for the future use of the station was made, namely that it becomes the London destination of all the UK's sleeper trains. This may become necessary as the phasing out of Mk2 vehicles and their replacement with Mk3 will make the trains too long for the platforms at Euston, and construction of HS2 will make the long sleeper dwell times at Euston untenable. If the Paddington sleepers were also diverted this would concentrate all sleeper services at Waterloo International, thus making use of the former Eurostar lounge facilities for sleeper passengers.[10]

All of the international platforms were brought back into use as part of the refurbishment of the main station starting in Christmas 2013.[11] Platform 20 came back into regular use for timetabled services in May 2014.[12]


Waterloo International arch

British Rail developed a series of concepts during the late 1980s with an initial location at the opposite end of the concourse.

A more appropriate location was subsequently defined as at present but at first incorporating an existing staff building alongside Platform 10 while displacing the Armstrong lift that was on the site and had provided the means of allowing Waterloo City Line stock to be raised up from the tunnels below.

Before long, the existing staff building as well as the lift were abandoned but the new terminal was already then taking the form initially of a cable-stayed, flat-roofed structure and was the basis for the final stage of the Hybrid Parliamentary Bill as it passed through the House of Lords and as featured in a press release at the time.

The in-house design team assisted by Sir Alexander Gibb and Parters as traffic Engineers co-opted the services of Anthony Hunt so as to take the dynamic structure forward. However the BR architects felt that a cable stayed structure, while in vogue at the time might not be so innovative come a planned operational opening then planned for May 1993.

Security issues as well as structural and the above consideration led the designers to review alternative structural forms that might meet the evolving brief. An arch structure had its appeal in that an arch-based tracery was subtly evident at Waterloo over the approach road and was more likely to be fresher than a cable-stayed option by the time the terminal was ready for use in the early to mid 1990s. Arches were not the vogue in the early 1980s.

The form selected was soon to be based on a series of latice arches of decreasing sizes and each connected with a Teflon membrane. Additional transparency was to be provided by glazing over each of the lattice arches.

The five-track configuration implied each arch grounding alongside the track but creating a challenge in avoiding a potential clash between the kinetic envelope of the anticipated new rolling stock and the "shed" structure.

BR's in-house architects however established this wind-sock form as the basis for briefing external architectural practices competing for the detail design stage that followed.

The briefing team (Architect Special Projects, Nigel Wikeley & Architect European Passenger Services, Michael Edwards), led by Design Director Jane Priestman, invited three practices to compete for this responsibility: Ahrends, Burton and Koralek; Foster Associates, and Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners.

The rest is now well known but it was through the continuing relationship between Anthony Hunt Associates and Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners that the lattice arches developed into the now celebrated form that carried through to the terminal's completion in 1993 and its opening in May 1994 (avoiding the passenger train's kinetic envelope!).

Also, along the way, the use of Teflon was abandoned in favour of a stainless steel covering.

The Railway Children

From 4 July 2010[13] to 2 January 2011[14] two of the disused platforms hosted theatrical performances of E. Nesbit's The Railway Children. The audience was seated either side of the actual railway track. The show includes the use of a steam engine, coupled to one of the original carriages from the 1970s film, being shunted in and out of the theatre area as required by a Class 08 shunter.

The performance had moved to London after two sell-out and critically acclaimed summer runs at the National Railway Museum in York.[13]

See also


 Before completion of High Speed 1 
0:00 Waterloo International
0:50 Ashford International
Channel Tunnel
(0:21 transit)
1:15 Calais-Fréthun
1:40 Lille Europe
2:15 Brussels-South

2:35 Paris Gare du Nord
2:53 Marne la Vallée-Chessy
6:00 Avignon-Centre
6:47 Moûtiers-Salins-Brides-les-Bains
7:19 Aime-La Plagne(set down only)
7:37 Bourg-Saint-Maurice

Times shown are fastest timetabled
journey from London Waterloo.


Preceding station National Rail Following station
  Disused Railways  
Terminus   Eurostar   Ashford
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