UK’s Network Rail has opened the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo station, as a part of its £800m project to bolster the South Western Railway network.

Platforms 20 to 22 now offer services to Reading, Windsor and south-west London, and will be expanded to offer additional space to passengers. Platforms 23 and 24 will be opened in May.

The opening of the former Eurostar terminal is also expected to ease passenger congestion at Waterloo station, the busiest railway station in the country.

It will provide additional concourse waiting space, ticket barriers and customer information systems, as well as direct access to the London Underground.

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The station was earlier used for international Eurostar services from 1994 to November 2007, connecting the UK with mainland Europe.

“The reopening of platforms at the former Waterloo International Terminal means more flexibility for our train services and will help to improve punctuality.”

Network Rail Wessex route managing director Andy Thomas said: “We are putting passengers at the heart of our approach to running the railway, and this incredible piece of engineering is all about giving better journeys to the many millions of people who travel on this route every year.

“Thousands of our engineers and track staff have worked tirelessly over the last three years, rebuilding this iconic terminal from the top to bottom.”

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The opening of the terminal follows the platform extension works at Waterloo and an additional nine stations along the route. The expansion helps in accommodating longer trains at the platforms.

South Western Railway managing director Andy Mellors said: “The reopening of platforms at the former Waterloo International Terminal means more flexibility for our train services and will help to improve punctuality, especially during peak times.

“Between now and May next year, we will be providing over 6,000 extra seats into our fleet to deliver more capacity for customers. This is in addition to the 15,000 extra seats already provided into and from Waterloo since the franchise began last summer.”