Defibrillator training, via SWR

Lifesaving defibrillator installations across SWR’s network

In a bid to improve the safety of passengers traversing the southern rail network, South Western Railway (SWR) is set to install publicly accessible automated external defibrillators at all 154 of its staffed stations.

This project will cover stations that span across South West London, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire Dorset, Wilshire, Somerset, and Devon.

With an investment of over half a million pounds, the scheme comes as part of the operator’s commitment to improving safety whilst serving the local communities. With estimations from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) stating that there are around 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the United Kingdom, the implementation of these devices could double the chances of survival.

Accompanying the rollout of these defibrillators, will be a heating system that ensures the defibrillators can maintain their normal operating temperature, along with a monitoring system that will also send an alert if a machine malfunctions or the battery is low.

Station staff and local ambulance services will be provided with the requisite codes to access the machines, which can also be provided to members of the public upon an emergency. The locations will be added to ‘The Circuit’ – the BHF’s database, ensuring visibility to NHS ambulance services who can direct 999 callers to its location so it can be used to help save lives.

The rollout of this tech is expected to culminate this coming summer and coincides with the naming of an SWR train after the Alex Wardle Foundation in a ceremony held at London Waterloo station yesterday.

The Alex Wardle Foundation was set up in memory of Alex Wardle, a medical student and son of an SWR operations trainer, who passed away from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) in March 2016.

Alex’s father, Steve Wardle, has worked for SWR for 38 years and, along with other members of Alex’s close family and friends. Together with SWR Managing Director Claire Mann, Steve Wardle unveiled the Alex Wardle Foundation logo on car number 23, the age his son was when he passed away, of a Class 444 train.

Since the foundation’s inception, SWR has worked to raise more than £7,000 to contribute community defibrillators as well as training courses for their use, helping to inspire SWR to fund defibrillators across its station network.

Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway, said:

“I’m honoured to have unveiled SWR’s Alex Wardle Foundation train at London Waterloo today alongside Alex’s inspirational father Steve, who has served the railway for so many years and whose foundation we are proud to support.

“Sudden arrhythmic death syndrome and other heart conditions can impact us all. As part of SWR's commitment to the local communities we serve, I’m so pleased that we are installing defibrillators at every single one of our staffed stations, which could very well prove to be lifesaving.”

Steve Wardle, Alex Wardle’s father and founder of the Alex Wardle Foundation, said: 

“It is wonderful to see this vision come to life. Having worked on the railway for nearly 40 years, I am thankful of the railway family’s support. March 2023 will mark 7 years since Alex’s death and, although I am still a grieving parent, I feel proud of everything that we have achieved to support our community. 

“This is such a momentous occasion and a showcase of everyone’s dedication. Defibrillators save lives and I hope that one day, if needed, it will save someone and their family true heartbreak. We are extremely grateful, and this is such an exciting opportunity.”

Want to know more about the opportunities to become a key supplier to the UK rail industry? Attend TransCityRail and access an exclusive marketplace of buyers from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, Major Contractors, and all other tiers of the supply chain. For more information and to secure your place click here.  


RTM Feb/Mar 24

Rail station: Metamorphosis

This issue highlights the latest topics within the rail industry, from new West Midlands railway stations to decarbonisation Govia Thameslink Railway.

More articles...

View all
TransCityRail Banner


Mids \ 29 02 24
South \ 11 07 24
North \ 07 11 24

TransCityRail is a series of regional, interactive and insightful events across the country bringing together leaders, collaborators, problem solvers and innovators in a creative and invigorating way.

This series of events supports and informs the whole of the rail industry and connects suppliers with buyers, specifiers, leaders and decision-makers looking to procure a wide variety of innovative products and services for their region.


TransCityRail SOUTH

The South of England accounts for a significant portion of the UK’s rail investment strategy and is home to 7 sub-national transport bodies that have all placed rail infrastructure at the centre of their strategic investment plans.

Every year industry leaders from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, major contractors and transport bodies converge at the TransCityRail SOUTH conference, exhibition and networking dinner for a day of collaboration, conversation and engagement.

At this year's event, we're discussing...