At a cost of £20 million and 200,000 man hours, since April last year Network Rail has been kitting-out London's Waterloo station with Europe's largest railway gating project.
The gates - 171 in total - protect the station's 19 main line platforms as well as the subway that connects the station with the Underground network, through which the station's estimated 70 million commuters pass each year. Hitherto, Waterloo station had been one of the last large British rail terminals to offer unrestricted access to all platforms when platform staff were not on duty.
With the operation of the automatic ticket gates, Network Rail say the aesthetics of the station environment have been improved by providing a view of the platform area from the concourse, which has been concealed for years.
The gates have been configured to recognise the magnetic strip type National Rail tickets issued by all Train Operating Companies, as well as London's Oyster card that have London Travelcards loaded onto them, and are also set-up to recognise ITSO smartcard for future implementation (concessionary Oyster cards are not ITSO-compatible, unlike the free concessionary bus travel cards throughout the rest of England)
The project, which has been on site since April 2008, is the result of over 200,000 man hours of work and has cost £20m.