London commuters to benefit from longer peak time trains
• Longer trains to London from Windsor, Weybridge and Hounslow
• More capacity for Reading, Portsmouth, Southampton, Alton
• Expansion to make use of former Waterloo International terminal
• Boost for UK rail sector employment and train engineering
• Agreement between Department for Transport and South West Trains
London commuters are to benefit from longer peak-time trains and extra services as part of an investment announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) and South West Trains today (23 December 2011) which will also create new jobs.
An additional 60 carriages are being added to the South West Trains fleet, which operates on one of the busiest commuter networks in Europe.
Around 8,000 extra peak-time passengers will be able to travel into London Waterloo every morning as eight car trains are lengthened to run with 10 carriages.
Services from Windsor, Weybridge (via Staines,) and Hounslow (via both Richmond and Brentford) will be lengthened. Two additional Reading-Waterloo trains will run each way, together with an additional morning peak Hounslow-Waterloo service.
The additional trains will use platform 20 at the former Waterloo International Terminal, which will come back into use from 2014.
A limited number of mainline trains between London Waterloo and Portsmouth, Southampton and Alton will also be lengthened by cascading rolling stock.
The enhanced services will be delivered through the refurbishment of 60 former Gatwick Express Class 460 Juniper vehicles, combined with refurbished trains from South west Trains’ existing fleet.
The additional carriages will begin arriving from May 2013, with all new services in place by July 2014, benefiting millions of passengers a year.
There are around 54 million passenger journeys a year on the Windsor lines alone, with passenger numbers up 4.4% in the past 12 months.
Work on the trains, leased through Porterbrook, will be carried out by Alstom, providing a boost to UK-based train engineering. It is also expected to create new jobs at South West Trains.
Andy Pitt, Managing Director of South West Trains, said: “We operate one of the busiest commuter networks in Europe and this will provide extra capacity for the increasing number of people who are choosing to travel by train.
“We have already significantly increased peak-time suburban and mainline capacity under our franchise. This new investment in longer trains and extra services will bring further much needed extra capacity and will be a huge boost to millions of commuters.
“It is also good news for taxpayers and for jobs. We delivered a good, cost-effective deal for the taxpayer by converting existing modern trains that will be compatible with our existing fleet. It will help support UK rail engineering and create extra jobs at South West Trains.”
The improvement package agreed between the DfT and South West Trains will also see money invested in train depots at Wimbledon, Farnham and Clapham, as well as the creation of two new sidings by infrastructure operator Network Rail at Guildford.
Network Rail is continuing to progress plans to make further use of London Waterloo and Waterloo International to cope with future demand.
South West Trains – part of Stagecoach Group - is one of the most punctual train operators in the UK. Latest figures show annual punctuality running at 92.7%. Customer satisfaction is higher than the UK average, with the most recent independent National Passenger Survey showing that 85% of passengers are satisfied with their train service.
More than £100m is already being invested by South West Trains in a range of improvements for passengers on its rail network. It includes:
• £50m in better station facilities
• Creation of 2,000 additional car parking spaces
• Train fleet investment
• Better information for passengers, with the launch of a dedicated Twitter-feed, bespoke email travel alerts and a new mobile website
• Introduction of 2,500 new cycle spaces
• Additional customer help-points and ticket vending machines
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Notes to Editors
South West Trains
• South West Trains operates one of the busiest rail networks in Europe and runs almost 1700 trains a day from London Waterloo. The company was named as Passenger Operator of the Year at the 2011 National Rail Awards.
• South West Trains is part of Stagecoach Group, a leading international public transport group with extensive operations in the UK, United States and Canada. Stagecoach employs around 35,000 people, and operates bus, coach, rail, and tram services.
• Stagecoach is one of UK’s biggest bus and coach operators. Around 2.5 million passengers travel on Stagecoach's 8,100 buses every day on a network stretching from south-west England to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The company's business includes major city bus operations in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield and Cambridge.
• Stagecoach is a major UK rail operator, running the South West Trains, Island Line and East Midlands Trains networks. It has a 49% shareholding in Virgin Rail Group, which operates the West Coast inter-city rail franchise.
• Stagecoach also operates the Supertram network in Sheffield.
Rolling stock and service information
• The additional carriages will enable trains on the following routes to be lengthened from 8 to 10 cars:
o Waterloo-Windsor & Eton (Riverside),
o Waterloo-Weybridge via Brentford and Staines,
o Waterloo-Hounslow via both Richmond and Brentford.
• This will be achieved through the introduction of 60 Class 460 vehicles which will be combined with the existing Class 458 stock to form 36x5-car trains
• An internal cascade will provide two additional Reading services in the morning and evening and one further Hounslow peak service into London Waterloo. It will also further lengthen seven South West Trains mainline services:
o Southampton Airport Parkway to Waterloo (8 car to 12 car)
o Portsmouth Harbour to Waterloo via Eastleigh (5 car to 10 car)
o Southampton Central to Waterloo (4 car to 5 car)
o Waterloo to Poole (5 car to 8 car)
o Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour via Eastleigh (5 car to 8 car)
o Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour via Eastleigh (8 car to 10 car)
o Waterloo to Alton (8 car to 12 car)
• South West Trains expects to complete the rolling stock deployment by July 2014, with the first 10-car service operating from May 2013.