South West Trains passengers will see the first additional train carriages being introduced onto their services next month to help provide extra capacity on the UK’s busiest commuter network.
A total of 108 extra carriages will be introduced over the next 12 months, with the first 10-car train being rolled out on the London Waterloo to Windsor line from mid March. The additional carriages, representing an investment of £65 million, are set to provide capacity for an extra 23,000 peak time passengers every day.
The carriages, which have been funded through the Government’s High Level Output Specification Programme (HLOS), will see a number of the busiest trains extended to run with 10-carriages and extra services introduced on some routes.
The HLOS programme is planned in two phases. The first 60 carriages, previously in use at Gatwick Express and owned by Porterbrook, are currently being refurbished by the leasing company’s contractor Alstom. South West Trains has now also taken delivery of a further 48 Class 456 carriages, previously operated by Southern, for phase two. These carriages will begin operating on the Guildford to Ascot line from early April.
Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “We are investing record amounts into transforming our railways and it is great to see this investment delivering real benefits to passengers, local businesses and the economy. These much-needed carriages will provide a welcome boost to commuters through additional trains and services, allowing more people to travel on these vital commuter routes.”
Christian Roth, Fleet Director for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: “These extra carriages will provide significant improvements for passengers on some of our busiest services. We will be able to lengthen many peak trains from 8-carriages to 10-carriages, providing extra space for our commuters.
“There has been a significant amount of work to do in bringing the carriages up to the standards we require for our passengers. We are pleased to now be pressing ahead with plans to introduce the first 10 carriages in mid-March. We will continue to work with Porterbrook and its contractor Alstom to bring the full benefits of the much needed extra capacity to our customers as soon as possible.”
These first carriages will be used to operate the first ever regular 10-car passenger service on the London Waterloo to Windsor line. In addition to the extra carriages, the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance has extended platforms at over 60 stations to enable longer trains to run on key routes and has re-opened Platform 20 of the former Waterloo International Terminal which will be used for full passenger services from 19th May.
Further proposals are also being developed in partnership with the Department for Transport to deliver capacity for almost 10,000 extra peak-time passengers travelling on the main suburban and Reading lines by 2019. The proposals include bringing Platforms 21 to 24 of the former International Terminal back into passenger service and extending Platforms 1-4 at Waterloo to accommodate longer trains.