Sun sets on Waterloo Eurostar terminal

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The Independent Online

Ambitious plans for a dual rail link between London and the Continent have been abandoned in a controversial decision to close Waterloo International station to be announced today.

Ambitious plans for a dual rail link between London and the Continent have been abandoned in a controversial decision to close Waterloo International station to be announced today.

Eurostar has decided to shut its complex in south London in 2007 and rely on the new terminal at St Pancras in the north of the capital, The Independent understands. The rail operator, which runs services between London, Paris and Brussels, had promised to provide hourly services to Waterloo even after St Pancras International was opened.

The decision is expected to prove unpopular with people who live in the south of the capital, who have enjoyed relatively easy access to the Continent since the services began 10 years ago yesterday.

The "overnight'' move, however, will provide significant benefits for South West Trains commuter services into Waterloo, which could be given access to an extra five platforms leading to enhanced frequency and reliability.

Present services from the Continent travel on the new Channel tunnel rail link (CTRL) as far as north-west Kent and then are diverted on to old track for the journey into Waterloo. In 2007, the second half of the CTRL should be completed, which means that services will continue from north-west Kent along the high-speed link into St Pancras.

Anthony Smith, national director of the Rail Passengers' Council, said his organisation was "bitterly disappointed". He argued that St Pancras was relatively difficult to get to.

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