Commuters have vented their anger after disruption at London’s Waterloo station and on the South Western network continued – despite the scheduled end to improvement works.
A month-long £800m overhaul to increase capacity at the UK’s busiest station was meant to be complete but travellers reported delays and cancellations in the morning rush hour.
Jasper Johns said his journey from Kingston was delayed by about 40 minutes.
The 35-year-old, who has been commuting to Waterloo while the works have been going on, said: “I’ve actually found going in OK, but coming out is an absolute shambles.”
Another commuter, Dave Vasse, tweeted: “Predictable & embarrassing that Waterloo should be a mess today after 8 months of advertising 28th completion date.”
Image: People faced more delays even though things were meant to be back to normal
A 24-year-old tutor trying to get to New Malden in Surrey said: “My train was delayed – very delayed and then it was cancelled.
“It’s annoying. I was told all the work would be finished by yesterday evening but it’s been delayed again and again. It’s really frustrating.”
South Western train passengers were told by email that services on the operator’s entire network might be cancelled, delayed or changed, with disruption expected until 4pm.
Image: The work at Waterloo extended platforms so they can take longer trains
Stations including Queenstown Road, Earlsfield and Norbiton were closed.
Network Rail boss Mark Carne, speaking in a video message, said Waterloo had reopened “a little later than planned” after a signalling problem closed platforms during the morning rush hour.
He said the project would make a “huge difference” and increase capacity by 30% in the long run – meaning space for an extra 45,000 commuters in the morning and evening peaks.
A statement added: “Network Rail apologises to passengers for any delays to their journey and asks them to check before they travel this morning.”
A team of 1,000 worked 24 hours a day for three and a half weeks to get the work done, according to Network Rail, with platforms 1 to 4 extended by 44m so they can take 10-carriage trains.
Safety and signalling across all platforms also had to be upgraded and tested.
The five former Eurostar platforms at the station will now be redeveloped to bring them permanently back into service by the end of next year.
Network Rail route managing director Becky Lumlock reassured passengers the work would happen “behind the scenes”.
Anthony Smith, head of the watchdog Transport Focus, said it was disappointing that the end to the upgrade works had slipped, despite promises from rail bosses.
Mr Smith said lessons must be “learnt and built into future events”.
“In the meantime, every single passenger affected should claim compensation. Send a clear message to the industry and make sure your voice is heard,” he added.