Rail News

Door Closes on South West Trains as South Western Railway Begins Operations

Rail passengers in London and the south of England are now being served by a new operator – South Western Railway (SWR).

On August 20, a joint venture of FirstGroup and MTR took over Britain’s South Western franchise from Stagecoach, which has operated the franchise as South West Trains for over 20 years.

South Western Railway
South West Trains © Matt Buck (license)

The change in operator, which commenced on August 20, will see more than £1.2 billion invested between now and 2024 on new and refurbished trains, station improvement schemes, the simplification of tickets and many more improvements – all of which will make journeys better for customers.

New and Refurbished Trains

By December 2020 the SWR mainland fleet will undergo a facelift. Ninety new British-built Aventra trains be introduced (750 carriages, in five and 10 car formations), and the rest of the fleet will be refurbished and refreshed. Ultimately this will increase capacity by 52,000 extra seats through the morning and evening peak by 2020. Improved Wi-Fi (up to 5x faster), at-seat charging points, toilet provision on all suburban trains, infotainment systems and better on-board customer information will make passenger journeys better.

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More Services and Faster Journeys

The December 2018 timetable will mean customers can expect more services, quicker journeys, and earlier and later trains. With up to 400 additional Sunday trains across the network, passengers can expect more flexibility when planning their journeys.

Improved Connectivity

As one of the UK’s largest rail networks, SWR will support local communities by providing greater connectivity. SWR is delighted to re-introduce through services between Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth to aid regional connectivity, while journeys to London will be sped up for those wishing to travel to the capital. SWR will also work with the Isle of Wight community on plans for a more sustainable future for the island’s railway.

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Station Investment

More than £90 million will be invested to improve stations, with major refurbishments planned for Southampton Central and Wimbledon. Other planned improvements include: better customer information screens, new seating and waiting areas as well as additional car parking. These are all designed to deliver the customer experience step change that customers deserve.

Value for Money Ticketing

The SWR network contains a huge number of attractive places to visit and tickets will be on offer to encourage customers to travel by train wherever possible. This will include new promotional fares, an easier to use website and apps to support ticket purchase.

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Plans also include flexible tickets for those that do not commute every day and a new ticket for 16-18 year olds to bridge the gap between child and full fare travel while still in education.

Original article © South Western Railway.


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