With talk of improvements to both track layout and platforms as a result of the HLOS 2 statement, it is easy to forget that Waterloo has actually already seen some work recently. It may not be comparable to the extensive works we’ve seen at Blackfriars or Kings Cross, but the new Mezzanine at the station is now open, and the Waterloo East gateline refurbished. Pictures of both can be found below and come courtesy of jodastephens and Fandroid.

Access to the new mezzanine

Access to the new mezzanine

Looking along the balcony, Network Rail's love of retail space is evident

Looking along the mezzanine, Network Rail’s love of retail space is evident

The trend away from low-end food retail at stations seems set to continue

The trend away from low-end food retail at stations seems set to continue

Looking back down the Mezzanine

Looking back down the Mezzanine

The height affords an excellent view across the platforms

The height affords an excellent view across the platforms

The Waterloo East gateline

The Waterloo East gateline

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There are 41 comments on this article
  1. Ricolas says:

    I was there the other day for the first time since the work has been done, and was quite impressed; it does not ruin the station’s looks, and they have removed a lot of retail gubbins from the main concourse, which is about time.

  2. Martin S says:

    I wouldn’t criticise NR for a ‘love of retail space’ here – aside from the rental income side of things, a vast number of retail outlets were swept away to make way for the gateline, and several more large units to clear the concourse circulating space, and that has to be a significant loss to the traveller. At least the mezzanine floor improves the view of the platforms and trainshed at Waterloo – the much earlier and award-winning one at Liverpool Street actively impedes those views.

  3. John Bull says:

    To be fair, you’re probably right. It has improved downstairs a great deal in that regard so is as much about relocating existing retail spaces as creating new ones.

  4. Uzzir Siddiqi says:

    I pass through Waterloo all the time I think the mezzanine is looking quite good. There’s a big new WHSmith’s opening outside the Burger King which will be great. There were 3 before any work started and now there are 2. Not sure what they’ll do with the other 2 once this one opens.

  5. Ricolas says:

    Martin S makes a really good point there about Liverpool Street, that mezzanine is horrible; the Waterloo one is helping the traveller without ruining the station.

  6. Fandroid says:

    The idle traveller can now also get a close-up look at the detail of the top of the central entrance archway. Quite nicely restored. It is also possible to see the stained glass panel in the archway, but it is unfortunately covered over with mesh. The words ‘London and South Western Railway’ are just about readable. I love the extra space at ground level, but going through last Friday evening, it seemed as if the passenger numbers had expanded in a Parkinsonian manner to fill the greater space available!

    Once not long ago you could predict with some certainty what retail outlets there would be at any major station in the land. The old familiar outlets that SSP run seem to be quietly being ousted by fancier and more varied names. However, it’s not always possible to tell who is actually running them, as SSP (of Bite Card fame) operates franchises for many names that are familiar from the high street (such as Burger King & even (I think) WH Smith). However, out in the suburbs and beyond, there seems to be a quiet trend to let independent outlets onto the stations, especially in the Cappucino/Expresso market.

  7. John Bright says:

    Does anyone know what happened to the space formerly occupied by the cartoon / news cinema? It must be behind the facade somewhere.

  8. Twopenny Tube says:

    And what about the space once occupied by the Lost Property Office and store, as featured in one of BTF’s best films, “Terminus”?

  9. Simon says:

    Looks good in part, but could have been done more with more sensitivity. The balcony crashes across the entrance from Station approach opposite platforms 12 & 13 (The former cab road, I think?) creating a very dark space below, and as Fandroid notes above compromises the lovely stained glass crests of towns formerly served by the LSWR. A shame the mezzanine couldn’t have been designed to go inside the concourse buildings above the central entrance arch, and emerged either side.

  10. timbeau says:

    The treatment of the main arch, with a large retail outlet on the concourse immediately to its left as you enter, has the unfortunate effect of funnelling people heading to/from platforms 1-10 closer to the barrier line than heretofore. previously it was in the middle of the concourse, which was (and still is) also obstructed by the entrance to the Underground. Now you have two separate obstacles to work round, and the relatively clear passage by the back wall of the concourse is no longer there.

  11. timbeau says:


    “However, out in the suburbs and beyond, there seems to be a quiet trend to let independent outlets onto the stations, especially in the Cappucino/Expresso market”

    Not at Kingston, where the recent refurbishment has seen an independent newsagent ousted by WH Smith, and coffee shops operated by a local trader on both platforms (and the associated waiting rooms) clsoed in favour of a megachain outlet which occupies what is architecturally very obviously where the main entrance should be – indeed the station now apperars to be called Costa

  12. Paul says:

    Isn’t the Waterloo East gateline (from the main station) newly added with this work?

  13. Mike P says:


    Indeed it is an addition of a gateline, not a “refurbishment” as JB described it.

    Unless you consider replacement of the random presence of hordes of grippers getting in the way of everyone (and seemingly demanding the repeated presentation of your ticket) with a gateline as a “refurbishment”…..

    When I first saw the gateline I thought it on the small side, but then comparing its size serving 4 platforms (and only 2 in the peaks in practice) with those on the mainline side, maybe it is adequate. It may also (rightly) drive more to consider Southwark for a JL interchange.

  14. timbeau says:

    All four platforms at Wloo East are busy in the peaks – lots of people use it to get from the London Bridge area to the South Western lines at Waterloo – especially as it is covered by “London terminals” and doesn’t need a tube extension/travelcard. And, as through platforms, they all have a much greater throughput of trains than the main line station.

  15. Mike P says:

    @timbeau – true. Thinking about it, I already knew that from what I see at LBG every day. I must have been trying to rationalise such a small gateline. It had only just been installed when I went through last, and was non-operational. We shall see…….

  16. Greg Tingey says:

    It will wedge.
    I’m waiting for an AM back-up to the escalators to happen, & then injuries if we are unlucky, or a crowd-crush in the “tunnel” bridge Westbound in the PM peak
    There is, of course the (In my opinion) criminally stupid & dangerous double gate-line between Wat E & Southwark tube stations, with no emergency exit possible if trapped between those two separate, and separately manned ( & therefore expensive) gate-lines.
    But, ORR have told me, in writing, that it is perfectly safe, so I must be wrong, mustn’t I?

    Remember, that if you are inside a gate-line, and there is a crowd-crush or other emergency, there is always the “big red button” to pop the gates to esacpe, but if you are “outside” the line, such as between them at the Southwark end, or backing up towards the stairs/escalators on Waterloo main, there is no such remedy.

  17. Roehamster says:

    John Bright @ 3.45; was there -ever- a cartoon/newsreel cinema at Waterloo?

    I dimly remember that there was one at Victoria, which was done away with during the redevelopment of that station to provide office space and mezzanine retail space, but if there ever was one at Waterloo it must have gone even prior to the development at Victoria.

  18. Kit Green says:

    …and as it has already been mentioned:

    Victoria Station News Theatre

  19. Slugabed says:

    Keeping to the theme if not the thread….I remember as a small child (late 60s?) seeing a building near Victoria or Waterloo,or in the West End which had on its external facade,a sort of enormous dot-matrix display of lightbulbs in the form of a shallow frieze at parapet level,running the length of the building and round a corner.
    On this display appeared news headlines,sports news etc.
    Does anyone else remember this,or where it was?

  20. Kit Green says:


    It may have been the Swiss Centre before the musical clock was fitted. I was very young at the time but have vague memories of it.

  21. Ned says:

    The circulating space at platform level feels a bit more constrained than before, the escalators take up rather more room than I’d anticipated. The information desk needs relocating from outside the new Smiths as it creates a pinch point. I’d also be happier if they could decide definitively which side of the escalator is ‘up’ – it seems to change every night. And while I’m at it, I do doubt whether the Waterloo East gateline is going to be adequate for the volume of passengers.

    Sorry this is a moany post, but I feel this is a worthwhile exercise poorly executed.

  22. evergreenadam says:

    Is the bank of escalators from the concourse up to the Waterloo East footbridge still there?

    How different it is to crossing the cab road at grade in the 1980s and using the old footbridge to Waterloo East!

  23. timbeau says:

    there are new escalators parallel with the back wall, instead of perpendicular to it

    That old footbridge used to carry trains, as it was the link between the LSWR and SER, which disppaered in the rebuilding of Waterloo c 1920

  24. Ig says:

    – Do not complain about upmarket retail. It looks good, classy, and adds to the general experience of the station user. In Brussels where I live, they let anyone open a retail outlet in their stations and do not impose any controls whatsover on their appearence. The result is a whole lot of shabby, cheap, depressing looking places, which detract from the overall experience of one’s train journey.

    – Shouldn’t we ban WHSmith from stations with their annoying offers at the till every time you try to buy something. “Would you like a large Dairy Milk for £1?” “No.” …and their permanent annoying multibuys on drinks. (Most people travel alone, and just want one drink).

    – What was in the space previously occupied by these retail outlets?

  25. Dave says:

    I’ve been building a collection of pics of the work, from the first holes cut to locate the steelwork behind the facade, at:

    They seem to have done a good job of keeping the station open while work progressed, especially in the way the temporary route to Waterloo East from the mezzanine was routed through what is now a retail outlet, while the old escalators were removed and the direct route created.

    The thing which disappointed me the most was the way the glazing by the main entrance doesn’t line up with the stonework:
    (last pic in set above). I think it would have been better if the glazing was wider, and wrapped round, (and protected) the lettered sections. The height doesn’t articullate wekk with anything either

  26. Anonymous says:

    Others may disagree, but I think this shows the positive influence a local authority conservation officer or English Heritage can have on developments. In the case of Waterloo it’s not a listed building, so NR can do as they please. In general you can see from the comments above that it’s not a bad job – but it could have been so much better.

    In the case of King’s Cross, St Pancras, and Paddington the conservation officers and EH appear to have been able to secure changes to original designs to make it more sympathetic to the buildings, you can see this in correspondence which appears on the planning websites. NR’s designers are (understandably) both very retail-focussed and keen on over-engineered solutions but in my view the conservationists are often a force for good in suggesting viable alternatives.

  27. Fandroid says:

    The steps next to the eastern escalators seem to have immediately found a new function as seats for those who want to chill out at the station and get in the way generally!

    The sheer volume of transferees from Waterloo East and vice versa is quite amazing. They do seem to cope with the new gateline OK. I found it puzzling that there is a fairly big flow contra to what I would expect – ie Waterloo Main to East in the evening peak, but I guess you cannot be the busiest station in the UK without even minority flows looking massive by normal standards.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I really like the balcony, and there are some amazingly up-market places up there. Unlike St Pancras or Kings Cross you do come back to earth with a bump when you descend to the scuzz-pit that is the concourse (Smiths, Costa and Wasabi excepted:-)).

    So what’s happening to Burger King? Is it going to continue to be hidden behind that strange new glass affair? Personally I’d rather it disappeared for good considering the stench of the food people bring on to the train sometimes.

  29. Greg Tingey says:

    Having, several time counted passengers both onto & off trains @ Waterloo East – Waterloo main, I’m not in the least bit suprised at the volumes – and apparently this is DOWN since the Jubbly opened! Of course, quite a few now go that way.
    The evening peak flow is mostly people coming from W end offices via Bakelite & Frozen-North lines, up onto the main concourse, and then off to their homes in the wastelands leading to Dartford – or alternatively the leafy urbs of Tunbridge Wells!

  30. evergreenlondon says:

    Really? But why wouldn’t they leave the tube at Charing Cross to catch their train, with more chance of getting a seat and less time spent walking across a crowded concourse?

  31. timbeau says:

    It’s quite a trek from the Bakerloo at CX to the main line station, although I would have expected most passengers to prefer the greater chance of a seat to outweigh that. However it may make little difference for the short distance passengers to e.g Lewisham, for whom the first train out will already be full of longer distance passengers for Sidcup, Bexleyheath, Abbey Wood, Hayes or wherever before any Lewisham passenger would join it.

    In the morning peak, switching at Wloo E might be better, as both Bakerloo and (most) Northern Line trains only start one or two stop sdown the line and only really fill up at Waterloo.

    But I suspect most transfers to Waterloo East in the evening peak are not from the tube at all, but the enormous number of buses arriving there, especially from the Aldwych/Holborn/Fleet Street area via Waterloo Bridge.

  32. Fandroid says:


    You are probably right about buses being a source of Waterloo East transferees. I often use the 59, 68 & 168 from Euston via Holborn & Aldwych, and all three routes drop passengers in Waterloo Road right across from the entrance to the Jubilee Line and main station. And there are at least another three bus routes which drop passengers at the the same stops.

  33. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes, I forgot about the buses …..

  34. Jon says:

    Yes, the interchange between bus and rail at Waterloo is quite significant – I believe it’s something that NR / TfL have given thought to.

    The walking route from Waterloo East to most buses is generally a choice between going through Waterloo (main) station or using the Sandell Street entrance, which with 79 steps isn’t very user-friendly!

    Better access to Waterloo East from Waterloo Road would probably reduce the passenger flow through Waterloo (main) by a noticeable amount. And might help traffic flow on Waterloo Road as the pedestrian crossing would get less use.

    Although I can’t immediately think of an easy way of doing this – something involving the building / site that is the ‘Wellington’ pub is about all I can think of.

  35. timbeau says:

    What would help a bit is making access to Blackfriars Road (via the Southwark station concourse) easier – i.e. free, as this would give much easier access to the City using the Millennium Bridge or the 45, 63 and 100 buses over Blackfriars Bridge – a much more direct route than the slow, circuitous and congested route via Waterloo Bridge and Fleet Street taken by the 4, 26, 76, and 172.

  36. peezedtee says:

    Re better access between Waterloo East and Waterloo Road. Couldn’t the Sandell Street steps be replaced by lifts? Or am I missing something?

  37. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes it could be made MUCH easier.
    Now there is a gateline @ the W end of the W-E W-main bridge, BOTH sets of gates @ the W-E/Soutwark station interface could be done away with, along with the dangerous [Ops, ORR have told me it is “perfectly safe” ] no-escape space between them!
    Since you would have to pass through a gateline at the far end, anyway.
    I suspect that, like the equally insane gateline that used to exist @ Stratford, between the Jubbly & the rest of the planet, it will take several years, and cost tens (if not hundreds) of £k in lawyer’s fees.
    No money to be spent on engineering, of course.

    Probably something to do with property rights and space.
    Here, unless one could purchase more land, escalators would be impossible, and modern lifts would be a good idea.
    However, where do you put them, unless you are prepared to shut the steps whilst bulding the lifts?

  38. Fandroid says:

    The balcony development (below it as well as beside it) has meant that the left luggage facility has moved into the old check-in space of Waterloo International. The daft thing is that the only access down there is via stationary escalators. So those wanting to leave their heavy bags at Waterloo for a while have to manhandle them down (and up again later) one or other of the steep and narrow steps created by this wheeze. The lift that is still there is boarded off!

  39. Anonymous says:

    This is a positve development as long at the concourse remins clear of clutter. However, the good access to the mezzanine highlights the lack of escallators and poor staircases on the York Road side of the station.

  40. Marianne says:

    I love how the eateries don’t ruin the appearance of the brickwork – the mezz floor itself looks good too.

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