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Government announces improvements for South West Trains

South West Trains is to receive £50m of investment, creating 73 new evening and weekend services and more than 57,000 additional seats.

The investment comes after the Department for Transport reached an agreement with the operator of the UK’s busiest commuter network, Stagecoach.

The current South West Trains franchise is due to end in February 2017 but negotiations between Stagecoach and the DfT have begun to extend the company’s operation of the franchise to April 2019.

However this new agreement means that passengers will not have to wait for the new franchise and will see improvement initiatives introduced between now and February 2017.

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “As we spend record amounts on modernising our railways as part of our long term economic plan, our franchising programme is also unlocking considerable investment from train operators.

“This package of improvements from South West Trains, with its strong focus on customer service, is very welcome and will make a huge difference to passengers on the many busy routes served by this franchise.”

The planned improvements include:

  • More services and seats: Over 57,000 additional seats will be created through the introduction of 73 new evening and weekend services on suburban and mainline routes and through additional seating on existing services.
  • Increased car parking: An extra 1,400 spaces by end of 2017.
  • Smarter journeys: A new online booking system and smart ticketing, allowing joined up journeys with London’s bus and Tube network.
  • Improved customer information: A new website and mobile app plus a customer relationship management programme to better understand passenger priorities.
  • Easier ticket purchase: 170 new easy-to-use ticket machines, including 90 with facility for customers to ask for help to ensure they get the best fare.
  • Enhanced customer service: More visible staff on station concourses to help passengers and customer service NVQ qualifications for employees.

Chief executive of the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, Tim Shoveller said: “These exciting changes will deliver the biggest package of customer focused benefits for years. As well as the expansion to our smart ticketing scheme we are also introducing more staff to our concourses so that they are able to help passengers, face to face.”

“We’re also creating hundreds of new parking spaces across the network and introducing more than 57,000 additional seats to nearly 40 improved and extra weekday and weekend services on suburban and mainline routes across the network.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Andrew Gwilt   27/03/2015 at 00:41

As Stagecoach-Southwest Trains and ITSO are introducing the smart cards for both staff and commuters/passengers. Other train operators could also get the ITSO smart cards just like c2c, GTR Southern Railway and GTR Gatwick Express have already introduced the smart cards for their passengers including TFL/MTR Crossrail, Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, Virgin Trains West Coast, Virgin Trains East Coast, Southeastern, Southeastern Highspeed, GTR Thameslink Great Northern, First Hull Trains, Abellio Greater Anglia & Stansted Express, First Transpennine Express, Northern Rail, Arriva Trains Wales, Abellio Scotrail, East Midlands Trains, Crosscountry and London Midland are also to introduce the ITSO smart cards for their passengers and staff which could end train tickets and rail cards as the ITSO Smart cards would save money and also save hassle when as travelling by train different cities across the UK and commuting to London aswell.

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