Waterloo International: Originally intended to be permanent or not?

duesselmartin

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Hello all.
Was Waterloo International conceived as a permanent Eurostar home when build?
The Low hight between train and shed suggedsu no as it does not seem to have the hight for a 25kv wire.
On the other hand the architectual effort suggests yes.
Also the 10 years of non service does not suggests that an alternative use was planned from the outset.
Best wishes from Germany.
Martin
 
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The_Engineer

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Yes, Waterloo International was meant as long-term terminal for Eurostar services when built. When the channel tunnel was authorised and built, the UK government did not sanction a high-speed railway to a London terminal. This is why the Class 373 Eurostar trains were built and equipped for 750V dc third rail operation, in order to use the existing railways to reach the new terminal at Waterloo. The decision meant a slower journey to the channel tunnel in the UK, which was always a bone of contention with France and Belgium who provided links to their high speed railways direct to the tunnel. And why 25kV was never envisaged for Waterloo International....

After only a few year's of operation it became clear that trains speeding through France and Belgium and the tunnel, then taking a slow and scenic trip through Kent, was a major embarrassment to the UK and eventually the government of the day sanctioned the building of the high-speed rail line (HS1) and new terminal at London St Pancras. A compromise was that the line had also to take a Kent commuter train service and also provide paths for freight direct into London.

So, with HS1 built, Waterloo International became a bit of an embarrassing unused station. There was no forward plan for its reuse, as closure was not envisaged. It is only now that, along with other major changes to the "old" Waterloo station, that Waterloo International is at last being integrated into Waterloo Main station.......

It is a sad (but common) story of bad political decisions and influences on the railway. There were many more associated with the channel tunnel - such as regional Eurostar services and sleeper trains between the UK and the continent.

You have probably poked the ant's nest here, to use a colloquialism....
 

edwin_m

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The high speed line from the Tunnel to London was not agreed until after Eurostar services started, and at various times it was planned for all or some of the trains via the high speed line still to use Waterloo. So it was envisaged as a "permanent" solution but I think built to the UK standards (definitely third rail and I think high platforms) which of course the Eurostars had to be compatible with.

The changes to bring it into service as part of the domestic station included shortening the platforms and using the space to revised the layout on the station "throat" so it is more suited to frequent domestic services than to less frequent international ones.
 

Bald Rick

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The answer is both.

A high speed line from the tunnel to the Kings Cross / St Pancras area was certainly being seriously thought about before construction of Waterloo International started. At one point it was even thought the Eurostars (or TMSTs as we knew them then) would cross London via the Thameslink tunnels. However the route of what became CTRL / HS1 wasn’t settled on until the early 90s, (to approach St P from the north into the main trainshed, as opposed to approaching from the south into a subterranean through station) by which time Waterloo International was just about finished.

So the Waterloo terminal was built in the knowledge that it might be temporary, but also in the knowledge that it might be reasonably permanent.

As to whether provision was made for OLE I don’t know. Quite possibly not, as there was no suggestion then that OLE would ever make it into DC land.
 

stut

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Is there any credence to the old commentary that Waterloo, a barely suitable, crowded commuter station, was only chosen as a backhanded two fingers up to France?
 

neontrix

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Is there any credence to the old commentary that Waterloo, a barely suitable, crowded commuter station, was only chosen as a backhanded two fingers up to France?
Nope. In fact, from research I've done of Nicholas Grimshaw's architecture, it seems BR were very keen for an architectural statement at our international terminal. I'm watching the refurbishment keenly, not in great expectation of NR to be true to the original design.
 

MarkyT

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The changes to bring it into service as part of the domestic station included shortening the platforms and using the space to revised the layout on the station "throat" so it is more suited to frequent domestic services than to less frequent international ones.
The 'domestication project' also cuts back the buffer stops by around 60m. This creates a large new circulating and waiting area for 'Windsor Lines' services that will mostly be relocated to these ex international platforms. That should help relieve crowding in the main part of the concourse which can quickly become particularly severe during the evening peak, especially if there's any disruption at this, the UKs busiest station. The new concourse area will also gain its own connecting passageways to the London Underground station complex below the main terminal, relieving other access routes. These passages used to emerge in the old 'Orchestra pit' in front of the international platforms at a lower level but were closed off when Eurostar moved to St Pancras.
 

theironroad

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Did Olympia ever get any international services when Waterloo was out of action?
Victoria certainly got one at least, as the service I was on from Paris was heavily delayed in France but they decided to carry on but by the time it reached through the tunnel and onwards to London there was a engineering possession started which meant that it was diverted into Victoria and then I was given a hotel or taxi option as trains had stopped for me. I look the hotel and Eurostar 's refund.
 

swt_passenger

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Nope. In fact, from research I've done of Nicholas Grimshaw's architecture, it seems BR were very keen for an architectural statement at our international terminal. I'm watching the refurbishment keenly, not in great expectation of NR to be true to the original design.
There are no significant changes to the Grimshaw roof. Just a much higher new rectangular glass box to cover the gap between the main station and the international platforms’ curved roof.
 

pdeaves

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Victoria certainly got one at least, as the service I was on from Paris was heavily delayed in France but they decided to carry on but by the time it reached through the tunnel and onwards to London there was a engineering possession started which meant that it was diverted into Victoria and then I was given a hotel or taxi option as trains had stopped for me. I look the hotel and Eurostar 's refund.
That's interesting. Do you happen to have the date of this, please? Was there any immigration control hastily put in place, or was it a 'normal' straight off the train and on your way?
 

Ianno87

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Victoria certainly got one at least, as the service I was on from Paris was heavily delayed in France but they decided to carry on but by the time it reached through the tunnel and onwards to London there was a engineering possession started which meant that it was diverted into Victoria and then I was given a hotel or taxi option as trains had stopped for me. I look the hotel and Eurostar 's refund.
That's interesting... Victoria's longest platform (2) is "only" 359 metres, too short for a c. 400m Eurostar, unless there was some sort of special arrangement to 'back out' of the station afterwards (given the funny time of day)?

I'm sure there was at least one instance of a wrong route being given (and taken by the driver) at Linford Street Jn; can't recall what was done to "rescue" the astray Eurostar....
 

yorksrob

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That's interesting... Victoria's longest platform (2) is "only" 359 metres, too short for a c. 400m Eurostar, unless there was some sort of special arrangement to 'back out' of the station afterwards (given the funny time of day)?

I'm sure there was at least one instance of a wrong route being given (and taken by the driver) at Linford Street Jn; can't recall what was done to "rescue" the astray Eurostar....
It would seem unlikely that Waterloo International would have been operational without a contingency plan in case of it being temporarily out of action. Running into Victoria would have been the easiest thing do.

I'm guessing passengers would have been told to walk down the train, as was the case with the White Rose sets.
 

ChiefPlanner

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Did Olympia ever get any international services when Waterloo was out of action?
Yes it did - it was the emergency terminal for "trapped" trains , and a couple of trains were diverted there in my day in 1996-1997 (dates cannot be recalled now) - helped out by organising an emergency 313 shuttle Clapham - Willesden to clear (confused) passengers. A one off.
 

Ianno87

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It would seem unlikely that Waterloo International would have been operational without a contingency plan in case of it being temporarily out of action. Running into Victoria would have been the easiest thing do.

I'm guessing passengers would have been told to walk down the train, as was the case with the White Rose sets.
The contingency plan was Kensington Olympia, complete with notional "customs" area (that Victoria didn't have).
 

theironroad

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That's interesting. Do you happen to have the date of this, please? Was there any immigration control hastily put in place, or was it a 'normal' straight off the train and on your way?
The narrowest date range would be sometime between 1998-2005, but can't remember exactly but possibly after 2002.

No immigration checks I recall, but I think border checks were usually done at gare du Nord from what I recall and possibly still are, I don't really use e* these days..

It was arriving about 0100/0200 and I presume went ECS to north pole afterwards, so there was no return trip to Europe originating at Vic .
 

Royston Vasey

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That's interesting. Do you happen to have the date of this, please? Was there any immigration control hastily put in place, or was it a 'normal' straight off the train and on your way?
Border control has always been done at origin, presumably for exactly this reason. Not to answer the question as I wasn't there, but it's not the end of the world if the nominal customs screening doesn't happen as long as border control formalities are complete.
 

theironroad

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Border control has always been done at origin, presumably for exactly this reason. Not to answer the question as I wasn't there, but it's not the end of the world if the nominal customs screening doesn't happen as long as border control formalities are complete.
Who knows, maybe I smuggled an extra bottle of wine in :)


I didn't by the way lol
 

Royston Vasey

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Who knows, maybe I smuggled an extra bottle of wine in :)


I didn't by the way lol
I can't imagine it would be very difficult, I've never seen them doing any inspections, only some Paddington Bear-style hard stares as you enter the terminal! Then again intra-EU you can import what you like for personal use, for which their guidelines are rather generous!!

Beer 110 litres
Wine 90 litres
Spirits 10 litres
Fortified wine (eg sherry, port) 20 litres

That 91st bottle of wine, though, may have be your downfall until that lucky diversion to Victoria!
 

theironroad

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I can't imagine it would be very difficult, I've never seen them doing any inspections, only some Paddington Bear-style hard stares as you enter the terminal! Then again intra-EU you can import what you like for personal use, for which their guidelines are rather generous!!

Beer 110 litres
Wine 90 litres
Spirits 10 litres
Fortified wine (eg sherry, port) 20 litres

That 91st bottle of wine, though, may have be your downfall until that lucky diversion to Victoria!
Tbh, I'm glad that I stuck to 90 bottles as they were rather heavy to carry off the train :)
 

Elwyn

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Border control has always been done at origin, presumably for exactly this reason.

Not correct. In the early years UK passport controls were normally conducted on board the train with two UK Immigration Officers starting at each end of the train and working towards each other. These Officers were based at Waterloo and travelled out to Paris (or Brussels) as passengers, and then worked back officially on a UK bound train. Each train had a special interview room and a small office for them to use. As a back up arrangement, there were also passport control desks at Waterloo which could be used if for any reason no Immigration Officers were on board a train. So, at one time, the first few arrivals at Waterloo each morning had their passports checked there (because that saved putting Officers in hotels in Paris or Brussels overnight) with later trains cleared on board because the timings allowed staff to get to Paris or Brussels to join them. Breakdowns, weather and French industrial action were also factors that sometimes prevented on board clearance, because UK staff were in the wrong place. So a control at Waterloo could be operated instead, almost at a moment’s notice.


There are all sorts of problems with clearing passengers on board a train (privacy, the need to scan documents, unreliable communications, passengers hiding etc). Clearance at Waterloo required more Immigration Officers. It also slowed the passengers down and the rail companies did not especially welcome that. But the biggest problem was asylum seekers. If they were physically in the UK then their claim to asylum had to be formally considered, whereas if they were in France they could simply be referred to the French authorities to process.


Consequently, a decision was taken to move to pre-clearance with staff having their passports checked by UK staff in Paris and Brussels (who live there permanently for up to 3 years). So you don’t normally see on board clearance any more, though as I understand it the protocols are still in place.


With trains that were diverted to Victoria or Kensington Olympia in the 1990s, it was probable that the immigration officers were already on-board so that would not have created any difficulty. Alternatively staff may have been sent to the other 2 stations at short notice to conduct checks. It’s unlikely that the train company would have simply let passengers go without being seen as they are under a statutory obligation to present them to an immigration officer, in accordance with whatever arrangements are specified.
 

Mikey C

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I can't imagine it would be very difficult, I've never seen them doing any inspections, only some Paddington Bear-style hard stares as you enter the terminal! Then again intra-EU you can import what you like for personal use, for which their guidelines are rather generous!!

Beer 110 litres
Wine 90 litres
Spirits 10 litres
Fortified wine (eg sherry, port) 20 litres

That 91st bottle of wine, though, may have be your downfall until that lucky diversion to Victoria!
If the train didn't arrive until 1/2am, I imagine he would have drunk the 91st bottle by then :D
 

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