Platform 20 at London Waterloo station has been re-opened to the public six months ahead of schedule, following an agreement between the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance and the Department for Transport.
The re-opened platform, which will be fully operational for timetabled services from May 2014, will help to accommodate 108 additional carriages to be launched in the near future to provide extra capacity for around 23,000 peak-time passengers every day.
The platform can be used to relieve overcrowding at the station during times of disruption.
South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance managing director Tim Shoveller said that the re-opening of Platform 20 is the first step in the alliance plan to provide extra capacity to and from the UK's busiest station.
"Over the coming months, we'll be completing our driver training programme and ensuring that all of our trains are ready for the full re-opening of Platform 20 in May 2014," Shoveller added.
The contractual agreement with the Department for Transport will start officially from May 2014.
UK rail minister Baroness Kramer said that the re-opening of Platform 20 is great news for the thousands of commuters who use services in and out of Waterloo.
"The government wants to see increased capacity and improved services for passengers, which is why we are investing billions to upgrade our rail network and making sure we have the transport system we need to compete in the global economic race," Kramer added.
As part of the Department for Transport's rail investment strategy, plans to re-open the remaining four platforms of the Waterloo International Terminal into use have been developed by the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance.
Image: A platform at London Waterloo station. Photo: courtesy of Winstonsmith99.