London Waterloo Station – Evacuation Planning

London Waterloo Station – Evacuation Planning


Emmet Ruxton, AECOM, Samya Ghosh, AECOM, Nicole Hoffmann, AECOM


This paper describes the detailed evacuation assessments that have been undertaken as part of the design and the development of a robust fire strategy for the entire station, and its ever increasing demand for train services and passenger numbers.


London Waterloo station is the busiest rail station in the UK in terms of station footfall. The station is currently under significant upgrade as part of the £400m Wessex Capacity Programme. The planned track and infrastructure improvements will enable additional, longer and more frequent trains to run into Waterloo station and across the Wessex Route.
The major infrastructure change at Waterloo station involves conversion of the former Waterloo International Terminal (WIT) to allow domestic train services to use the platforms. Demand at the station is expected to increase significantly as a result of the work. AECOM has been commissioned to develop a fire strategy for the integrated final design for Waterloo station and WIT, providing additional train as well as passenger services.
An integral element of a fire strategy is the evacuation strategy. Due to the size of the station and the number of passengers during the peak periods, the need for dynamic evacuation modelling was identified early on in the design. A number of micro-simulation models of WIT and the whole station; including interface with the adjacent London Underground station, were developed. These have been used to investigate the various options for routing passengers for a range of incidents, and so provide a robust evacuation strategy for the safe clearance of the station. The modelling investigated several incidents at the station during the peak periods, including taking into account service perturbations. These scenarios have provided invaluable insights to inform not only the fire strategy but also how the station will be operated daily to ensure safety to passengers.
This paper outlines the fire design objectives and escape scenarios developed for Waterloo. It will also discuss the challenges of the model development and how the modelling results are used to feed into the design, fire strategy, and how the UK’s busiest station will be operated each day to keep passengers safe.


Association for European Transport