Waterloo station upgrade: Commuters face huge queues at Surbiton station after engineering works overrun

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Commuters were caught up in huge queues at a south London train station after major upgrade works at Waterloo overran. 

Passengers returning to work after the Bank Holiday weekend were met by huge crowds at Surbiton station in south-west London.

Trains travelling into London Waterloo were delayed or cancelled on Tuesday morning after engineers identified a “safety-critical” issue while testing the signalling system. 

Passengers were left waiting in long lines at Surbiton station with some complaining it had taken them more than an hour to board a train.

Abbie Sampson, director of external affairs at Energy UK, said just two trains had pulled into the station within 60 minutes and both were packed on arrival.  

Disruption: Commuters were forced to queue to get into Surbiton station after trains were cancelled (@annaa18x)

Others took to social media to vent their frustration at the queues and that the works were not finished on time.

Emma Healey shared a picture of the queues on Twitter with the caption: “Anyone heading to #Surbiton station – this is currently the queue to get to the platform #chaos.”

Zoe Burke said: “So if you’re planning on catching a train in Surbiton I wouldn’t bother. Impossible to get to Waterloo.”

Michelle Urwin said: “Not allowed into Surbiton station due to overrunning engineering works. Well that’s a good start to being home.”

London Waterloo, Britain’s busiest rail station, was supposed to open for business as normal on Tuesday following a month’s worth of disruption.

Delays: Trains were cancelled causing queues at Surbiton station (@chocmilk)

Nearly half of the transport hub has been closed since August 5 for an £800 million overhaul to increase capacity and extend platforms for a new fleet of longer trains which will have more seats and space for passengers.

Network Rail said Tuesday’s disruption was expected to be fully resolved by noon.

Stations including Queenstown Road, Earlsfield and Norbiton were closed and early morning services on some routes were cancelled.

Jasper John, 35, said his journey from Kingston was delayed by up to 40 minutes.

He said: “You’ve kind of had enough. Say 10 minutes more in the morning, then another 20 minutes perhaps in the evening, you take that over a week – it’s an extra hour or so you spend commuting. Over three weeks.

“I’ve certainly felt more tired. I’m reasonably young and healthy, but my wife is seven months pregnant, and there’s obviously older and younger people who commute as well, it’s not as easy on them either.”

Chief executive of Network Rail Mark Carne apologised to customers for the delays and said London Waterloo was fully reopened “a little bit later than planned” following a signalling problem that closed platforms during the early morning rush hour.

Speaking from Waterloo via a video message Mr Carne said the “amazing” project to increase capacity by 30 per cent would make a “huge difference” in the long run. 

Network Rail said in a statement: “Due to safety-critical work to test the signalling taking slightly longer than planned early this morning, we are expecting disruption to the morning rush-hour. Network Rail apologises to passengers for any delays to their journey and asks them to check before they travel this morning.”

A 1,000-strong team of engineers and trackside staff have been working 24 hours a day for the last three-and-a-half weeks to complete the work.


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