175 years of hustle and bustle at Waterloo Station

Today marks 175 years since London Waterloo station first opened its doors to the hustle and bustle of London life.

To mark the special occasion, 50 guests from across the rail industry attended the station to join the celebrations.

Network Rail and South Western Railway (SWR) staff formed a joint choir to greet guests with a unique ensemble of some iconic Waterloo songs including ABBA’s Waterloo and The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset.

Choir singers celebrating the 175 anniversary of Waterloo station today (Picture: Network Rail)

The day involved several speeches, a plaque unveiling as well as a visit from one of SWR’s brand-new Arterio trains which made its way to platform 19 for attendees to have a sneak preview.

Prior to the event, a ‘behind the scenes’ tour was given to look at the secret passageways that lie beneath the station – deserted shooting ranges, an old snooker table and even a bathtub where railway workers would wash off after a long day on the railway were some of the hidden finds.

Today, London Waterloo is the country’s busiest station with 24 platforms and is a key transport hub to the heart of the capital and the south west, helping leisure travellers, commuters and London lovers get across the city.

London Waterloo Mainline Booking Office drawing from 1927 (Picture: Network Rail)

During its 175-year history, Waterloo has undergone a lot of change and expansion. Through the remainder of the 19th century, Waterloo was extended to cope with the increase in demand and by 1885 platform numbers had already increased to 18 platforms.

In 1899, the company London & South Western Railway sought permission to completely rebuild and expand the station. Over the following 20 years, the big spacious concourse was formed which included a total of 21 platforms.

Waterloo remained largely unchanged until the early 1990s when the Eurostar temporarily opened and following on from that the first-floor balcony was created with escalators and lifts in July 2012.

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “I’m delighted to have come together with our rail industry partners to celebrate the 175th birthday of London Waterloo station which serves millions of customers and welcomes them to the heart of the capital on a yearly basis.”

Pictured top : The celebrations today at Waterloo station (Picture: Network Rail)

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