is a major railway terminus
. It is owned and operated by Network Rail
. Although it is the biggest and busiest station in the UK
, it is only served by South West Trains
. It is the terminus of a network of commuter
railway lines in South West England
and the suburbs of London. In 2006/07, the last financial year
during which the Eurostar
service ceased using it, Waterloo was the busiest station in the UK by passenger numbers.
The London and South Western Railway
(L&SWR) opened the station on 11 July 1848 when its main line was extended from Nine Elms
. 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 even 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 very close 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 (244 m) long. The main pedestrian entrance, the Victory Arch, serves as a memorial to company staff who were killed during the two world wars. Damage in World War II required considerable repair but entailed no great changes of 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 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 as part of the site of Waterloo International railway station, which from 1994 until 13 November 2007 was the London terminus of the Eurostar international services. Construction necessitated the removal of decorative masonry forming two arches from that side of the station, bearing the legend "Southern Railway". This was subsequently 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 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. The international platforms may be reinstated for some use by domestic services but substantial track work would be needed to obtain any great advantage.
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.
The complex, in the London Borough of Lambeth, near the South Bank, is in Travelcard Zone 1. River services operate from nearby Waterloo Pier next to the London Eye.
A large four-faced clock hangs in the middle of the main concourse. Meeting "under the clock at Waterloo" is a traditional rendezvous.
London 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 while all trains are operated by South West Trains
Waterloo International was the terminus for Eurostar international services from 1994 until 2007 when they transferred to new international platforms at St. Pancras. Waterloo International's five platforms were numbered 20 to 24.
Waterloo East is a through station, the last stop on the South Eastern Main Line
prior to the terminus at Charing Cross
Waterloo Underground station
Waterloo is currently the second busiest station on the Underground network
, with the Bakerloo
, Charing Cross branch of the Northern
, and Waterloo & City
lines all stopping.
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.
- The station is the subject of John Schlesinger's documentary film Terminus.
- Several scenes in The Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon, took place, and were filmed, at Waterloo Station during mid-April 2007
- Bollywood film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was filmed extensively within the Waterloo main station and the storyline was set around two people awaiting passengers arriving at the station.
- In the Only Fools and Horses episode, "Dates", Del meets Raquel at Waterloo station for the first time.
- BBC Top Gear Presenters James May and Richard Hammond are filmed at London Waterloo outside the Eurostar terminus as they race Jeremy Clarkson who is in a Aston Martin DB9 to Monte-Carlo. They are also filmed when forced to land their plane at Lille and take the Eurostar to London to beat Jeremy to the NatWest Tower.
- Waterloo station and the Waterloo Underground station are the setting for the Kinks' song "Waterloo Sunset", written by Ray Davies and recorded in 1967. Its lyric describes two people meeting at Waterloo Station and crossing over the river (via Waterloo Bridge, as Davies has confirmed). The song has been recorded by Cathy Dennis and Def Leppard, whilst other acts (like David Bowie and Elliott Smith) have covered the song in live performances.
- Adrian Evans wrote the song "London Waterloo", which is dedicated wholly to the station.
- The lyrics in the 1979 song "Rendezvous 6:02" by British progressive band U.K. describe a meeting at Waterloo Station.
- The lyrics to "Torn On The Platform" by Jack Penate refer to the station ("train leaves at two, platform 3, Waterloo").
- Carl Barat's band Dirty Pretty Things' debut album is called Waterloo to Anywhere.
- The booklet accompanying The Who's album Quadrophenia includes a photo of the album's protagonist on the steps of Waterloo Station (depicting a moment from the song ).
- The music video to 'West End Girls' by the Pet Shop Boys was part filmed on the Waterloo Station concourse in the mid 80's.
- Abba held a press photo shoot at Waterloo Station on 11 April 1974, the day after their first appearance on Top of the Pops, in celebration of their own 'Waterloo' winning the Eurovision Song Contest five days before.