South West Trains passengers are set to benefit from a further boost to their service as part of an investment announced by the train operator and the Department for Transport (DfT).
Passengers will see more seats provided on a number of morning and evening peak services to and from London Waterloo through the introduction of 48 extra carriages creating an additional 2,400 extra seats every day. The extra carriages will mean five, six and eight car trains can be lengthened to run as eight, nine, 10 and 12-car services, providing the following enhancements:
• Six longer mainline trains from Salisbury, Yeovil Junction, Basingstoke, Portsmouth Harbour (via Eastleigh) and Alton to London Waterloo
• Three longer suburban trains from Guildford (via Cobham) and Woking to London Waterloo
• Two extra eight car trains from Raynes Park to London Waterloo
• Six longer mainline trains from London Waterloo to Exeter and Basingstoke
• Extra seats on four suburban services from London Waterloo to Guildford (viaWoking),Guildford (via Cobham) and Twickenham (via Kingston)
• Two longer trains on Windsor line services from London Waterloo to Aldershot(via Richmond) and to Teddington (via Richmond).
Tim Shoveller, Managing Director for South West Trains, said: “Our network is one of the busiest in Europe and we carry around 300,000 passengers to and from London Waterloo, the UK’s busiest railway station, every day.
“The number of passengers we are attracting to our rail services has doubled in the past 15 years. Both South West Trains and the Department for Transport recognise our shared responsibility to tackle overcrowding and look at ways of providing extra capacity and more seats for the 200 million customers who travel on our network every year.
“We have already confirmed the introduction of 60 additional carriages, which will be introduced from May next year, and today’s announcement that we have successfully secured a further 48 carriages will provide another huge boost to South West Trains’ passengers.”
Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: “This is great news for passengers. Adding extra carriages to these vital routes will not only ease congestion but also help to boost London’s economy.
“Rail travel is more popular than ever and we are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme since the Victorian era, with £18 billion committed in this spending period. This includes work on Crossrail and the Thameslink upgrade – two schemes that will transform connections across London and the South East.”
This is the second phase of a capacity enhancement programme that will see the introduction of a total of 108 additional carriages on the network between May 2013 and December 2014. Phase 1, which was announced in December 2011, will deliver an additional 60 carriages through the refurbishment of former Gatwick Express Class 460 Juniper vehicles, combined with refurbished trains from South West Trains fleet.
The announcement of enhanced services in phase 2 will be delivered through the cascade of 48 Class 456 trains from Southern Railways. These trains are compatible with the Class 455 trains within the existing South West Trains fleet and will be refurbished to the same high quality specification.
Last year, the Department for Transport announced plans as part of Phase 1 of the capacity enhancements to bring Platform 20 at the former Waterloo International Terminal back into use from December 2013. South West Trains is working with the DfT and other parties to re-open the platform earlier than previously planned. Proposals are also being developed by the DfT, Network Rail and South West Trains to provide a long-term solution to congestion at London Waterloo.
South West Trains – part of Stagecoach Group - is currently investing over £100m in a range of improvements for passengers including better station facilities, additional car parking spaces, fleet refurbishment and provision of better customer information. Passengers are also set to benefit from the recently launched South West Trains/Network Rail deep alliance, which aims to reduce delays, deliver more effective management of disruption and improve the efficiency of the railway through more collaborative working and better decision-making.