|Borough:||London Borough of Lambeth|
|Start:||13 July 1848|
London Waterloo (often "Waterloo") is a major railway terminus in London, England owned and operated by Network Rail. It is in the London Borough of Lambeth near the South Bank, in Travelcard Zone 1, and houses a British Transport Police station. In the financial year 2006/07, the most recent with statistics published and the year before Eurostar services ceased using it, the Waterloo complex includingthe Underground and Waterloo East handled some 170 million passengers (not including interchanges on the underground), more than any other station in the United Kingdom and third only to Paris Gare du Nord and Gare Saint-Lazare in Europe . It has the most platforms and greatest floor area (Clapham Junction, further down the line, has more trains). It is the terminus of a network of railway lines in South West England and the suburbs of London.
The London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) opened the station on 11 July 1848 when its main line was extended from Nine Elms. Designed by William Tite, it was raised above marshy ground on a series of arches. The unfulfilled intention was for a through station with services to the City. The name on opening was 'Waterloo Bridge Station', from the nearby Waterloo Bridge across the Thames. In 1886 it officially became 'Waterloo Station', reflecting the long-standing common usage, and that of some L&SWR timetables.
As the station grew it became increasingly ramshackle: a little-used railway line crossed the main concourse on the level and passed through an archway in the station building to connect to the South Eastern Railway's smaller station, now Waterloo East, whose tracks lie perpendicular to those of Waterloo. Passengers were confused by the layout and by the two adjacent stations called 'Waterloo'. This complexity and confusion became the butt of jokes by writers and music hall comics. In Jerome K. Jerome's book Three Men in a Boat no one at Waterloo knows the wanted train's platform, departure time or destination.
Extensive reconstruction between 1900 and 1922 gave 21 platforms and a concourse nearly 800 feet (250 m) long. The main pedestrian entrance, the Victory Arch, is a memorial to company staff who were killed during the two world wars. Damage in World War II required considerable repair but entailed no significant changes to the layout.
A past curiosity of Waterloo was that a spur led to the adjoining dedicated station of the London Necropolis Company from which funerary trains, at one time daily, ran to Brookwood Cemetery bearing coffins at 2/6 each. This station was destroyed during World War II.
On the privatisation of British Rail in the 1990s, ownership and management of Waterloo passed to Railtrack, and subsequently to Network Rail.Platforms 20 and 21 were lost to the Waterloo International railway station site, which from 1994 until 13 November 2007 was the London terminus of Eurostar international trains. Construction necessitated the removal of decorative masonry forming two arches from that side of the station, bearing the legend "Southern Railway". This was re-erected at the private Fawley Hill Museum of Sir William McAlpine, whose company built Waterloo International. Waterloo International closed when all Eurostar services transferred to the new St Pancras railway station with the opening of the second phase of "HS1", High Speed route 1, formerly known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link or CTRL. Platform 20 is being returned to use by domestic services but the substantial track and signal work required at the station neck to bring the other international platforms into domestic use is currently considered incommensurate with the benefit.
In February 2008 a £20 million project to install 170 automatic barriers to all the main line platforms was announced. The barriers came into operation in January 2009. This is the longest line of ticket barriers in the UK.
The major transport interchange at Waterloo comprises London Waterloo, Waterloo East, the Underground station, and an amorphous bus station.
Waterloo station connects to Waterloo East, across Waterloo Road, by a high-level walkway constructed mostly above the bridge of the former little-used connecting curve.
A large four-faced clock hangs in the middle of the main concourse. Meeting "under the clock at Waterloo" is a traditional rendezvous.
Waterloo has 20 terminal platforms, making it the biggest station in the UK in terms of platform numbers. The station is managed by Network Rail, and all trains are operated by South West Trains.
See main article: Waterloo International railway station. Waterloo International was the terminus for Eurostar international trains from 1994 until 2007 when they transferred to new international platforms at St Pancras. Waterloo International's five platforms were numbered 20 to 24.
See main article: Waterloo tube station. Waterloo is the second-busiest station on the Underground network, after Kings Cross St Pancras, served by the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern (Charing Cross branch) and Waterloo & City lines.
In the 1990s, after Waterloo station was chosen as the British terminus for the Eurostar train service, Florent Longuepée, a municipal councillor in Paris, wrote to the British Prime Minister requesting that the station be renamed because he said it was upsetting for the French to be reminded of Napoleon's defeat when they arrived in London by Eurostar. There is a name counterpart in Paris: the Gare d'Austerlitz is named after the Battle of Austerlitz, one of Napolean's greatest victories. However, this station is less important than most other stations in the city and Eurostar trains run to the Gare du Nord.