London Waterloo station is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex. The station is one of 18 in Britain owned and operated by Network Rail and is close to the South Bank of the River Thames.
The London Necropolis Railway was opened in 1854 as a reaction to severe overcrowding in London’s existing graveyards and cemeteries.
Waterloo station was originally the terminus for London’s daily funeral express to Brookwood Cemetery. Funerary trains bearing coffins (at 2/6 each - singles, naturally) left from the ’Necropolis Station’ just outside the main station. The Necropolis Station was totally destroyed during World War II.
It aimed to use the recently-developed technology of the railway to move as many burials as possible to the newly-built Brookwood Cemetery in Brookwood, Surrey. This location was within easy travelling distance of London, but distant enough that the dead could not pose any risk to public hygiene.
Although it had its own branch line into Brookwood Cemetery, most of the route of the London Necropolis Railway ran on the existing London and South Western Railway (LSWR). Consequently, a site was selected in Waterloo, near the LSWR’s recently-opened London terminus at Waterloo Bridge
station (now London Waterloo). The building was specifically designed for the use of mourners. It had many private waiting rooms, which could also be used to hold funeral services, and a hydraulic lift to raise coffins to platform level. Existing railway arches were used for the storage of bodies.
In 1899 the location of the terminus was blocking the expansion of Waterloo station. After much negotiation, the LSWR reached agreement with the London Necropolis Company, the owners of the cemetery and the railway: in return for the existing site, the LSWR re-equipped the London Necropolis Railway and supplied it with a new station on Westminster Bridge
Road. This new building was designed to contrast with other funeral directors’ premises by being as attractive as possible. In 1902 the railway moved into the new building, and the earlier station was demolished.
On 16 April 1941 the station was heavily damaged in an air raid. Much of the building was destroyed and the tracks to the station were rendered unusable. Although some funeral trains continued to run from nearby Waterloo station, the London terminus was never used again. Following the end of the war the London Necropolis Company decided that reopening the London Necropolis Railway was not financially worthwhile, and the surviving part of the station building was sold as office space. This remnant remains intact, and relatively unaltered since its opening.
The London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) opened the station on 11 July 1848 as 'Waterloo Bridge Station' (from the nearby crossing over the Thames) when its main line was extended from Nine Elms. The station, designed by William Tite, was raised above marshy ground on a series of arches. The unfulfilled intention was for a through station with services to the City. In 1886, it officially became Waterloo Station
, reflecting long-standing common usage, even in some L&SWR timetables.
It is located in the Waterloo district of London, which was itself named after the Battle of Waterloo in which Napoleon was defeated near Brussels.
As the station grew, it became increasingly ramshackle. The original 1848 station became known as the 'Central Station' as other platforms were added. The new platform sets were known by nicknames - the two platforms added for suburban services in 1878 were the 'Cyprus Station', whilst the six built in 1885 for use by trains on the Windsor line became the 'Khartoum Station'. Each of these stations-within-a-station had its own booking office, taxi stand and public entrances from the street, as well as often poorly marked and confusing access to the rest of the station. This complexity and confusion became the butt of jokes by writers and music hall comics for many years in the late 19th century, including Jerome K. Jerome in Three Men in a Boat
The present buildings were inaugurated in 1922. Part of the station is a Grade II listed heritage building.
With over 91 million passenger entries and exits between April 2010 and March 2011, Waterloo is easily Britain's busiest railway station in terms of passenger usage. The Waterloo complex is one of the busiest passenger terminals in Europe. It has more platforms and a greater floor area than any other station in the UK (though Clapham Junction, just under 4 miles down the line, has the largest number of trains). It is the terminus of a network of railway lines from Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire, South West England, and the south-western suburbs of London.
Waterloo tube station is, like its namesake, the busiest station on the network and is served by the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and the Waterloo & City lines.
The first underground station at Waterloo was opened on 8 August 1898 by the Waterloo & City Railway (W&CR), a subsidiary of the owners of the main line station, the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR). The W&CR, nicknamed the Drain
, achieved in a limited way the L&SWR's original plan of taking its tracks the short distance north-east into the City of London.
On 10 March 1906, the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway (BS&WR, now the Bakerloo line) was opened. On 13 September 1926, the extension of the Hampstead & Highgate line (as the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line was then known) was opened from Embankment to the existing City & South London Railway station Kennington with a new station at Waterloo.
As a subsidiary of the L&SWR and its successor the Southern Railway, the W&CR was not a part of the London Underground system. Following nationalization of the main line railway companies in 1948, it became part of British Railways (later British Rail). Following a period of closure during 1993 when the line was converted to use the four rail electrical system of the London Underground, the ownership of Waterloo & City line was transferred to the Underground on 1 April 1994.
On 24 September 1999, the Jubilee line station was opened as part of the Jubilee Line Extension. The station was temporarily the western terminus of the extension running from Stratford in east London, before the final section to link the extension to the original line was opened between Waterloo and Green Park on 20 November 1999. The Jubilee platforms are at the opposite end of the site from those of the Bakerloo and Northern lines, but the two ends are connected by a 140-metre moving walkway link (one of only two on the Underground - the other gives access to the Waterloo & City line platform at Bank station).
Waterloo station is linked to the South Bank by an elevated walkway. It was once possible to walk directly by elevated walkways and footbridges all the way from the concourse of Waterloo to that of Charing Cross railway station on the north side of the Thames, but the demolition of part of the Waterloo walkway and the reconstruction of the Hungerford Footbridge means that that is no longer possible.