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Railhub Archive
2007-02-04 STG-002
Stagecoach Group


Passengers to benefit from start of new era at South West Trains franchise

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Stagecoach Group

Passengers to benefit from start of new era at South West Trains franchise

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4 February 2007
source Stagecoach Group
type Press release

Passengers using the UK's biggest commuter rail network have been promised a package of improvements by Stagecoach Group over the next decade with the start today (4 February 2007) of the new South West Trains franchise.

Stagecoach Group has operated South West Trains since it ran the first privatised train in 1996 and was awarded a new 10-year franchise by the Department for Transport last September.

The last decade has seen major changes on the South West Trains network, including replacing slam door trains with a £1 billion order of high-tech Desiro trains and radically overhauling the timetable, which has helped transform performance.

Further improvements are planned for the next 10 years, including:

The refurbishment of 14 major stations
At least £20 million of car park investments
Installing ticket barriers at 13 more stations
The introduction of Smartcard ticket technology, compatible with Oyster in the London area
Stewart Palmer, South West Trains’ Managing Director, said: “These are exciting times for both South West Trains and our passengers. They have got a lot to look forward to and we are going to have to work harder than ever to make sure we achieve the goals we have been set.

"We are under no illusions about the challenges we face. Over the next 10 years, we will have to pay the Government more than £1 billion, but with more ticket barriers, more ticket machines and the extension of bargain ticket schemes such as, we are opening up a lot more opportunities to generate and collect revenue."

Improving stations on the South West Trains network will be a major part of the next 10 years. Around £40m will be spent on core station improvements, including better subways, lighting, waiting rooms, booking halls, toilets, shelters, seats and CCTV cameras on every mainland station and train. Additionally, every station will be repainted at a cost of £9 million.

A further 13 stations will have ticket barriers installed, with Aldershot, Andover, Bournemouth, Eastleigh, Fareham, Haslemere, Portsmouth Harbour, Raynes Park, Salisbury, St Margarets, Southampton Airport Parkway, Whitton and Winchester all set to benefit.

Other highlights of the franchise include:

A significant increase in capacity, with 21% more mainline peak seats and a 20% increase in peak suburban capacity
A promise to retain the presence of a guard on every service
Installation of a further 160 self-service ticket vending machines to reduce ticket office queues
Stewart Palmer added: "Capacity is a going to be a major issue over the next decade, not just for South West Trains but for the rail industry as a whole. We have to find an answer to this within our existing infrastructure, which is why we have reshuffled our rolling stock to provide longer trains on routes where this is possible to offer more passengers a seat.

"We have progressed steadily through the years and are now giving passengers some of the highest performance levels they have ever had. We must continue to build on our successes; this is the most complex franchise anywhere on the UK rail network but we are up to the challenge and are ready to deliver."

The new franchise also incorporates Island Line on the Isle of Wight. South West Trains and Island Line have always shared a Managing Director, but from 4 February 2007 Island Line will be incorporated within the same franchise.

Island Line operates over the eastern side of the Isle of Wight. It has 8.5 miles of track, which is predominantly single line and serves eight stations between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin. The Smartcard technology that will be introduced across mainland stations will also be extended to Island Line.


For further information, please contact:
South West Trains’ press office, tel: 020 7620 5229
Steve Stewart, Head of Media and Public Affairs, Stagecoach Group, tel: 01738 442111 or 07764 774680

Railhub Archive ::: 2007-02-04 STG-002


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