Passengers at Waterloo station are set to benefit from better retail facilities and more space on the concourse as work begins in preparation for the construction of a new retail balcony.
The scheme will create 20,000 sq ft of new retail space at first-floor level allowing kiosks currently in the middle of the overcrowded concourse to be cleared, creating more space and making it easier for passengers to move around the station.The balcony built to access the new facilities will also improve the connection between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline station.Gavin McKechnie, Network Rail’s head of retail, said: “We are committed to improving stations for passengers and the Waterloo balcony scheme does just that – by providing a better choice of restaurants and shops and easing congestion at Britain’s busiest station. This is an exciting milestone for Network Rail as Waterloo is one of the key stations across London where we a creating a better experience for passengers.
“Retail in stations is going from strength to strength with sales increasing year-on-year well above the high street. This new space at Waterloo will create exciting new opportunities for those looking to benefit from the high footfall of the busiest station in the country, as well as a great destination for casual dining, shopping and bars.”
Network Rail awarded the £10.6m contract for the scheme to BAM Construction Ltd, which has started work to remove the existing retail facilities on the concourse. The station’s existing first-floor offices will then be converted into 18 new retail spaces and a 220 metre-long balcony will be constructed which will be accessible by a lift, escalators and stairs.
Kevin Mahon, project manager for BAM, said: “BAM is very pleased to be working with Network Rail once again at such an important location. As a company we’re renowned for the quality of our work and our responsive attitude – both of these will be needed to deliver this project that will benefit those who visit London or live and work in it.”
When work is completed, passengers will benefit from a wider and improved choice of casual dining restaurants and shops. A new champagne bar under the original glazing at the south end of the concourse will complete Waterloo station’s transition to a destination station, where travellers and non-travellers alike will be able to eat, drink and shop.
The scheme has been designed to complement the station’s existing Victorian architecture and will be one of the first steps to deliver Network Rail’s vision of providing better retail facilities at destination stations, along with sustainable sources of additional income to reinvest in rail.