Government wants more services and longer trains on new South West franchise

SWT 444018 at Clapham Junction. RICHARD CLINNICK.

More trains and more space for passengers form key elements of the new South West franchise, said the Department for Transport (DfT) as it issued the Invitation to Tender for the new franchise, which begins in June 2017.

The DfT said quicker journey times are also required on at least 70% of services from December 2020. In the plans announced by Claire Perry today (July 4), there must be at least 95 extra trains on weekdays from December 2018, doubling of services along the London Waterloo to Reading and Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside routes, and earlier first and later last trains on many routes from December 2018.

Additionally, the new franchise requires at least a 20% increase in peak-time capacity from December 2020, while there is an ambition to introduce a new delay repay compensation system for passengers. New smart ticketing technology will also be introduced, along with new tickets for part-time workers.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “The South Western franchise has some of the busiest routes in the country, serving a diverse range of passengers and places and these improvements will deliver faster, smoother journeys for customers using these services.”

The two shortlisted bidders are First South Western Trains Limited and Stagecoach South West Limited. MTR recently joined First in a joint venture.

Bidders have until August to submit bids.

  • For more on this, read RAIL 805, published on July 20.




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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 04/07/2016 20:13

    And that's why Siemens is building 30 5-car Class 707's which are bit longer than the current Siemens Class 444's 5-car and Class 450's 4-car Desiro trains and the Class 707's are to be used for London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside and London Waterloo to Reading services with the former Eurostar terminal platforms at London Waterloo to reopen for longer trains and working alongside Alstom Class 458 5-car trains that have been converted from 4-car Class 458 with 8-car Class 460 carriages being converted and seperated and refurbished to add as a 5th carriage to the converted Class 458 Juniper and the front cab is being converted with a new gangway passageway which was a front cab of a Class 460 Juniper which was used on Gatwick Express when the 24 Class 442's were used for a while before 27 Class 387/2's were built by Bombardier to replace both the Class 460's and Class 442's. Hopefully the new Siemens Class 707's Desiro City trains should be be built next year even though Siemens are currently building 115 Class 700's (60 Class 700/0 8-car & 55 Class 700/1 12-car) Desiro City trains for Thameslink and 6-car Class 717's Desiro City for Great Northern. Plus I think that First Group, National Express or Abellio could take over the South Western rail franchise as Abellio are to lose the East Anglia rail franchise which Abellio could take over the South Western franchise as Stagecoach are to lose the South West Train brand.

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  • Philip Walker - 04/07/2016 20:46

    I note it's more "space" for passengers. That is presumably more standing space rather than seats? Passengers want seats. And the DfT site also says the new franchise is to provide "quicker journey times on at least 70% of all services from December 2020". Presumably that particularly applies to main line expresses to major centres such as Southampton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth. Maybe DfT realises journey times to Southampton and Bournemouth are still slower than 50 years ago (when the line was electrified in 1967), despite the modern faster Class 444s. And Portsmouth remains lamentable.

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