Waterloo International railway station

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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
Eurostar trains at Waterloo International (232100094).jpg
Four Eurostar Class 373s at Waterloo International in June 2006
LocationSouth Bank
Local authorityLondon Borough of Lambeth
Station codeWAT
Number of platforms5
Key dates
14 November 1994Opened
13 November 2007Closed
5 August 2017Reopened temporarily
5 September 2017Closed for upgrade works
10 December 2018Platforms 20–22 reopened
19 May 2019Platforms 23–24 reopened
Replaced bySt Pancras International
Other information
External links
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transport portal

Waterloo International station was the London terminus of the Eurostar international rail service from its opening on 14 November 1994 until it closed on 13 November 2007 when it was replaced by St Pancras as the terminal for international rail services. It stands on the western side of Waterloo railway station, but was managed and branded separately from the mainline station.

In August 2017, the buildings and platforms were incorporated into the main Waterloo station when the platforms reopened during the works at platforms 1–8. The platforms closed again on 5 September 2017. After a period of redevelopment, they were scheduled to be permanently re-opened in December 2018 as part of the main station.[1] Platforms 20–22 re-opened as part of the main station on 10 December 2018 and platforms 23 and 24 on 20 May 2019.


The station was designed by the architectural firm Grimshaw Architects with Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners (consultant Engineers) and Bovis Construction (as the main contractors).[2] 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.[3]

Waterloo International had five platforms, numbered 20 to 24, one (20) taken from the main-line station, and four new ones. Unlike the platforms at the main station, they were long enough to accommodate trains of up to 20 coaches (total length 394 metres). The platforms were all covered by a 400 m long[2] glass and steel vault of 36 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 separated the existing Waterloo Station from the International station.[2]

A two-level reception area fronted the main station concourse. The curvature of the roof is steeper on the western side and here the trains passed 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 Kirklees Stadium in Huddersfield.[2]

The first Eurostar departure, on 14 November 1994, was formed of Eurostar units 373004/373003[4] 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.[5]


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
London River Services London Underground Waterloo
Charing Cross London Underground
Waterloo East
Blackfriars Road
London Underground Elephant & Castle
Blackfriars London Underground London River Services
Blackfriars Bridge
City Thameslink
London River Services London Underground London Bridge
Cannon Street London Underground
South Eastern main line
to SE London and Kent

Ownership of Waterloo International station passed to BRB (Residuary) Ltd., with no clear plans for the future use of the Eurostar platforms.[6] Some reports had suggested that they might be used for shops,[7] 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.[8] At the time of closure, Network Rail had no immediate plans to use the other four former international platforms for domestic use[9] and they were disused from November 2007.[10]

From 4 July 2010[11] to 2 January 2011[12] 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 1970 film, being shunted in and out of the theatre area as required by a Class 08 shunter.

All the former international platforms were temporarily used for regional services during the refurbishment of the main station starting in Christmas 2013.[13] Platform 20 came back into regular use for timetabled services in May 2014.[14]

In March 2016, it was reported that the platforms and terminal building were to be incorporated into the main station as part of a £800 million refurbishment.[15] In August 2017 the platforms were used temporarily while other platforms were upgraded and then after a further period of closure for redevelopment they were permanently brought back into use in December 2018 (20,21 and 22) and May 2019 (23 and 24).[16][17][1] The terminal building will house a shopping mall.[18]


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 Partners 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 with an 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.[citation needed]

The form selected was soon to be based on a series of lattice 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. Also, along the way, the use of Teflon was abandoned in favour of a stainless steel covering.

See also[edit]


Before completion of High Speed 1
Waterloo International
Ashford International
Channel Tunnel
(0:21 transit)
Lille Europe
Paris Gare du Nord
Marne la Vallée-Chessy
Aime-La Plagne
(set down only)
Times shown are fastest timetabled
journey from London Waterloo.


  1. ^ a b "Wessex improvement programme". Network Rail. Archived from the original on 20 February 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Waterloo International Terminal". engineering-timelines.com. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  3. ^ Bunting, Madeleine (2 December 1994). "Few passengers and trains but Waterloo's tunnel vision wins award for elegance". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 November 2007.
  4. ^ "Waterloo International: 1994-2007". The Guardian. London. 13 November 2007. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  5. ^ "St Pancras Eurostar service opens". BBC News. 14 November 2007. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2007.
  6. ^ Bell, Dan (14 November 2006). "Terminal faces uncertain future". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 January 2007. Retrieved 14 November 2007.
  7. ^ Murray, Dick (6 April 2005). "Shops plan for Waterloo International". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2007.
  8. ^ "Waterloo Station: 4 June 2008: Hansard Written Answers". TheyWorkForYou.
  9. ^ "8-year wait till commuters can use all Waterloo Eurostar platforms". Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  10. ^ "Waterloo International terminal platform reopening delayed". Archived from the original on 3 September 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  11. ^ Gritten, David (29 June 2010). "The Railway Children: weepie that will never run out of steam". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 May 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  12. ^ team, London SE1 website. "Full steam ahead for The Railway Children at Waterloo International". London SE1. Archived from the original on 12 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "First significant step in re-opening Waterloo International". South West Trains. 24 September 2015. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  15. ^ "More platforms and longer trains for Waterloo station". BBC News. 23 March 2016. Archived from the original on 28 February 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Old Eurostar Platforms Reopen at Waterloo Station". Londonist. 10 December 2018. Archived from the original on 8 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  17. ^ Horgan, Rob. "Waterloo opens revamped Eurostar terminal in £800M upgrade". New Civil Engineer. Archived from the original on 8 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall". www.constructionenquirer.com. Archived from the original on 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Terminus   South Western Railway
South Western Main Line
  Disused Railways  
Terminus   Eurostar
London to Paris/Brussels