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South West Trains[1] (SWT) is a British train operating company owned by Stagecoach Group operating the South Western franchise.

It operates passenger services, mostly out of London Waterloo station, to the South West of London and in the counties of Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Berkshire, and Wiltshire and on the Isle of Wight. The area of operation, essentially the former South Western division of Network SouthEast, is also roughly that of the pre-1923 London and South Western Railway (excluding everything west of Exeter). The Stagecoach Group took over the franchise on the privatisation of British Rail in 1996 and retained it in 2004 and again in 2007 making it, along with Virgin Trains and First Great Western, the longest-running franchise. It is the largest passenger franchise in the UK[2] and is a particularly complex operation due to the large number and variety of services.

HistoryEdit

File:Island Line Trains logo.png

In 1995 the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising awarded the South West Trains franchise to Stagecoach.[3] Operations started on 4 February 1996. South West Trains' first train, the 05:10 Twickenham to London Waterloo, was the first privatised scheduled train to operate for 48 years.

In April 2001 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded Stagecoach a new franchise after it beat bids from First/NedRailways and Sea Containers.[4] The franchise was originally to run for twenty years, but in 2002 the Strategic Rail Authority changed the way it wanted investment funded, and South West Trains was awarded a three-year franchise starting on 1 February 2004.[5]

In December 2005 the Department for Transport announced that Arriva, First, MTR/Sea Containers, National Express and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to tender for the new South Western franchise, which combined the South West Trains and Island Line Trains franchises, National Express later pulling out.[6][7] In September 2006 the Department for Transport awarded the franchise to Stagecoach, the new franchise starting on 4 February 2007 for a period of ten years.[8][9] In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would be extended until 27 April 2019.[10]

In the early days of its franchise, SWT gained notoriety for severe service cuts owing to driver shortages[11] but it later made significant improvements to the network, including replacing much of the rolling stock, refurbishing stations, making stations accessible to disabled passengers, and improving customer information. During the early 2000s, improvements included the introduction of new rail services and the reopening of Chandler's Ford station in Hampshire.

On 12 December 2004 the company completely recast its timetable for the first time since 1967, in an attempt to bring service provision into line with changing demand and to take into account the different characteristics of modern rolling stock, with the intention that this would improve reliability and punctuality across the network.

A smoking ban on all SWT services was introduced from May 2004, partly in response to a fire caused by a cigarette left near a heater under a seat, and also pre-empting the public smoking ban introduced two years later.[12]

Train servicesEdit

South West Trains is the key operator for Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset, and also serves London, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon. Its services are described below.

Most SWT services run on electrified lines using the 750 V DC third-rail system. There is a diesel fleet for services on the West of England line to Salisbury, Exeter and Bristol, which is unelectrified beyond Worting Jn, and for Salisbury - Romsey via Southampton services, which operate over unelectrified lines between Salisbury and Redbridge and Eastleigh and Romsey. SWT operates almost 1,700 trains per day. Performance improved after the timetable was completely restructured in December 2004, and following the introduction of a unified Network Rail and SWT control centre at Waterloo to improve communication between the two organisations.

From Waterloo, SWT's London terminus, long-distance trains run to southern England, including the major coastal population centres of Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth; the company also operates many local services on suburban commuter lines in south-west London and Surrey. There are also trains to Reading, Exeter and Bristol, but these are not the principal fast services from London to those cities, which are operated from Template:Stnlink by First Great Western.

As with most rail companies, non-folding bicycles are banned from peak-time trains to and from London. However, these restrictions[13] apply only to cyclists boarding or alighting in the area bounded by Hook, Alton, Guildford, Reading and Dorking. The aim is to maximise available passenger space on the most crowded trains.

South West Trains also has Quiet Zones, similar to the Quiet Coaches on trains operated by certain other Train Operating Companies. Quiet Zones are available on most outer-suburban services and on some express services and are indicated by notices in the windows and signs on the doors. Passengers in these zones are requested not to use mobile phones or play music out loud.

RoutesEdit

South West Trains off-peak Monday to Saturday routes, with numbers of trains per hour, include:

Main linesEdit

File:444023 at Clapham Junction.JPG
File:Gb-emudc-455732-2.jpg

The six main lines operated by SWT are:

Suburban servicesEdit

Suburban services diverge from the above routes. Taken in order westwards from Waterloo, travelling down the SWML, they are:

Other servicesEdit

TicketingEdit

TicketsEdit

Travelcards are available for journeys into London. They are valid on London buses, Tramlink, Docklands Light Railway, London Underground and national rail services within the London travelcard area.

Season tickets and Travelcards are also available to cover multi-day regular journeys. They are available in weekly, monthly and annual periods.

In May 2007, South West Trains introduced a new fare structure for all routes. The original peak prices and times were retained, with "off-peak" being redefined at a higher fare for services leaving after 11am for stations closer to London or arriving in Waterloo at or before mid-day for stations further away from London. Services after this period are now referred to as "Super Off-Peak" and attract similar prices to the old Off-Peak tickets.[14]

In January 2008 SWT fares increased on average by 4.3%.[15]

In 2009, ticket gates were installed at Waterloo to improve revenue protection.

The smartcard scheme for season tickets on the national rail system was extended in spring 2010 to cover the lines from Weymouth to Basingstoke and from Staines to Wokingham, and on the Isle of Wight, in addition to the current trial area between Staines and Windsor. It was also announced that SWT proposed to reduce operating hours at 24 of its ticket offices.[16]

In May 2010 posters appeared at stations advertising that the extended smartcard scheme was now available for stations between Weymouth and Basingstoke. The smartcards SWT is using are branded StagecoachSmart in common with those being introduced on Stagecoach buses in Cambridgeshire and which Stagecoach plans to provide across its rail and bus operations.

Oyster pay-as-you-go, Travelcards and season ticketsEdit

Oyster pay-as-you-go is now available on all South West Trains routes within the Greater London area.[17] Oyster cards holding season tickets have always been valid within the London Travelcard area, in the same way as normal paper Travelcards and season tickets.

In November 2010 the Department for Transport announced that passengers would be able to top up Oyster cards at all stations operated by South West Trains in the London Travelcard area from May 2011. SWT was the last rail company franchise not to offer this facility (except at Wimbledon and Richmond stations) for passengers using suburban rail services within the London Travelcard area.[18]

Penalty faresEdit

South West Trains currently issues penalty fares for passengers travelling by train without a valid ticket. However, the company has planned to install at least one self-service ticket machine at each of its served stations in the bid to stop fare evasion.

The penalty fare is either £20 or double the travelled fare, whichever is greater. This does not apply at Chandler's Ford or the stations on the West of England Main Line west of Salisbury; this is due to the lack of ticket issuing facilities at those stations. Revenue Protection Officers employed by SWT travel the network and are visible at stations to enforce penalty fares and issue some tickets; aside from station ticket barriers, CCTV is used to combat ticketless travel and prevent assaults on members of staff and customers.

Route changesEdit

The South West Trains network has changed considerably since privatisation in 1996. It no longer serves West Croydon, Sutton, stations between Chichester and Brighton, or the mainline portion of Reading station. South West Trains does now serve stations to Bristol (introduced in 2004 to replace withdrawn Arriva Trains Wales services), Mottisfont and Dunbridge and Dean. Services beyond Exeter to Paignton, Plymouth and Penzance ceased in December 2009 so as to release stock for the hourly Waterloo - Exeter service.[19]

MegatrainEdit

Main article: Megatrain

Stagecoach, SWT's parent company, currently sells seats on some off-peak services under the Megatrain brand from Mondays to Saturdays. This uses a similar low-cost model to its Megabus service. Megatrain tickets are available on certain services expected to be lightly loaded. Tickets are generally between London Waterloo and other principal stations, and ticket-holders are assigned to a specific train.

PerformanceEdit

Latest performance figures released by Network Rail for period 7 (2013/14) were 92.4% (Public Performance Measure - PPM) and 91.5% (Moving Annual Average - MAA) for the 12 months up to 12 October 2013.[20]

Rolling stock detailsEdit

In the early days of the franchise, South West Trains operated rolling stock inherited from British Rail. It applied its brand to the trains by modifying the Network SouthEast livery with an orange stripe, taking advantage of the similarity between the Network SouthEast livery and that of parent company Stagecoach.

The company later introduced new or refurbished trains, and has standardised on a set of three distinct liveries - mainly white for long-distance services, mainly blue for outer-suburban services, and mainly red for London commuter rail services. There are exceptions to this: most notably, the trains operating suburban rail services to Hounslow, Windsor and Weybridge via Staines-upon-Thames are in the blue livery as opposed to the red livery used on other services.

London Underground fleetEdit

File:Isle of Wight Inselbahn.jpg

On the Island Line, the clearances of a tunnel under Ryde are insufficient for standard trains. As a consequence, former London Underground rolling stock has been used since the line was electrified. Since 1992, Class 483 trains have been used, of which five two-car units remain in service. They date from 1938. SWT took on this fleet when it was awarded the combined South West/Island Line franchise in 2007 (though Island Line as a separate franchise was also previously operated by a separate Stagecoach owned company.[21]

Desiro fleetEdit

The introduction of Desiro rolling stock built by Siemens was to replace the old Class 423 slam-door trains which were coming to the end of their useful lives, and which did not meet modern health and safety requirements. The introduction was delayed because of the additional power needs of this type of stock: Network Rail spent £1 billion upgrading the power supply to take account of this.Template:Citation needed

The new trains have on-board information systems and full air-conditioning. Their faster acceleration is counterbalanced by the need to dwell longer at each station, since they have fewer doors. In addition, the Desiros have many more components: all are computerised and subject to the possibility of breakdowns. It is estimated that the slam-door trains could achieve 60,000 miles (96,000 km) without breakdown; the Desiros an estimated 13,000 miles (20,800 km) but this is gradually improving.

The Desiro stock comes in two variants - Class 450 units which have four 20 m cars and are mainly used on suburban and outer-suburban services, and Class 444 units which have five 23 m cars as well as intercity-style door layouts and are used on longer-distance services to Weymouth.

  • The 450 Desiro Fleet includes 450001-127.
  • The 444 Desiro Fleet includes 444001-045.

British Rail EMUs (Class 455)Edit

South West Trains operates a fleet of Class 455 metro-style commuter trains. These were built for British Rail.[22]

A full refurbishment program started in 2004 on the fleet of 91 four-car units and was completed in March 2008.[23] Modifications included a new 2+2 seating layout with high-back seats, CCTV, cycle storage, wheelchair space, doors that open further to allow for faster alighting, and additional passenger information systems. All units are now painted in a new red "Metro" version of the SWT livery.

British Rail EMUs (Class 456)Edit

All twenty-four Class 456 2-car EMUs are to be transferred from Southern to SWT in 2014. These 1980s-built units are compatible with the existing Class 455 fleet. All will be refurbished and repainted into the red "Metro" livery before entering service. They will be coupled to certain pairs of Class 455 sets to form 10-car trains, increasing capacity on some local services in and out of Waterloo.

Juniper fleet (Class 458)Edit

File:Class 458 railway DC Unit - South West Trains livery - Virginia Water station - England - 280404.jpg

Thirty of these four-car units were ordered by South West Trains in 1998, to create extra capacity and to replace some of the ageing 4Cep units, which at the time were on short-term lease. Deliveries of these units began in 1998.

The class suffered major technical problems, so in the event none of the older units was withdrawn from service at that time. It was six more years, in 2004, before the full fleet was in service. In 2003 and 2004, reliability was so poor that, although they were only six years old, South West Trains decided that the units should be replaced by 2005 with the newer Class 450 Desiro units.[24] Only a handful of units is required each day to help maintain services from Waterloo to Reading, and these had been expected to cease after 31 July 2006, when the lease with the rolling stock company expired. An application by SWT to extend this by six months was refused, as the class did not meet all the requirements of disability legislation.

However, later it was decided that, on or before the start of the new franchise in February 2007, the class would be reinstated and take over all operations on the Waterloo to Reading line, indirectly covering the loss of the Class 442s. They have been fitted with new, larger destination screens that comply with the disability legislation, but the trains still fall foul in some other areas, such as the height of the door-open buttons.

All 30 Class 458 trains are to be split up and the 120 vehicles reconfigured into 36 five-car sets, incorporating 60 extra vehicles from the mechanically similar Class 460s formerly used on Gatwick Express services.[25][26] The five-car sets will be designated Class 458/5 and coupled together to form ten-car trains from 2014.[27][28] The first trains arrived in May 2013.[25][28]

Diesel fleetEdit

File:Salisbury TMD 159003 159017 159022 158887 960012.jpg

South West Trains currently has 11 two-carriage Class 158s and 30 three-carriage Class 159s (22 159/0s and 8 159/1s).

The 159/1s were converted at Wabtec, Doncaster from Class 158s, received from First TransPennine Express in exchange for Class 170s. Eleven further two-carriage 158s were received from First TransPennine Express, which were also refurbished at Wabtec.

Two Class 158s transferred from Central Trains entered service in July 2005 on the new Bristol Temple Meads service, moving to First ScotRail in February 2007.[29]

LocomotivesEdit

Although South West Trains does not operate locomotive-hauled services, until 2009 it maintained three Class 73 locomotives for "Thunderbird" (recovery) duties. Locomotive 73109 had been in service with SWT since the start of the franchise; the other two, 73201 and 73235, were acquired from Gatwick Express in 2005. 73235 is now the only one of the three locomotives to be owned by South West Trains. The SWT 73s are soon to undergo a major overhaul, including a new livery and new Dellner couplers to enable the loco to couple to the fleet "Desiro" units.

Rolling stockEdit

Current fleetEdit

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 73 100px Electro-diesel locomotive 90 145 1 Thunderbird Locomotive 1962
Class 158 Express Sprinter 100px DMU 90 145 11 London Waterloo - Salisbury / Bristol Temple Meads
Romsey - Salisbury via Southampton Central
Brockenhurst - Lymington Pier (Weekday services)
1989−1992
Class 159 South Western Turbo 100px 90 145 30 West of England / Wessex Main Lines:
London Waterloo - Salisbury / Bristol Temple Meads / Exeter St Davids
Portsmouth Harbour - Basingstoke (Morning Service)
Portsmouth Harbour - Southampton Central (Occasionally)
159/0 1992−1993
159/1 Converted 2006−2007
Class 444 Desiro 100px EMU 100 160 45 Main Line Routes:
London Waterloo - Poole / Weymouth

London Waterloo - Portsmouth Harbour (Shared with Class 450s Weekdays and Sundays)
Limited Outer Suburban Routes

2003–2004
Class 450 Desiro 100px 100 160 127 Outer Suburban Routes:

450/0
London Waterloo - Portsmouth Harbour (Shared with Class 444s weekdays and Sundays)/ Alton / Basingstoke / Poole (Occasionally) / Reading (Occasionally)
Southampton Central - Portsmouth & Southsea
Brockenhurst - Lymington Pier (Weekend services)
450/5
London Waterloo - Windsor & Eton Riverside / Weybridge via Staines-upon-Thames / London Waterloo via Hounslow
Ascot - Guildford
Limited Express and Inner suburban services

2002–2006
Class 455 100px 75 120 91 Inner Suburban Routes:
London Waterloo - Shepperton / Hampton Court / Woking / London Waterloo via Hounslow /London Waterloo via Strawberry Hill / Dorking / Guildford via Oxshott or Epsom / Chessington South / Windsor & Eton Riverside
1982 - 1985
2004 - 2007 (refurbished)
Class 458 (4Jop) Juniper 100px 100 160 30 Outer Suburban Services:London Waterloo - Reading /

Ascot - Guildford

1998-2002
Class 483 100px 45 72.5 6 Ryde Pier Head - Shanklin 1938
1989 - 1992 (refurbished)

Future fleetEdit

 Class   Image   Type   Number   Notes 
Class 456 100px Electric multiple unit(EMU) 24 To be transferred from Southern in 2014, allowing 10-car trains to be formed. Will be extensively refurbished before entering service.[30]
Class 458/5 100px 36 120 x Class 458 & 60 x Class 460 carriages to form 36 x 5-car sets
from 2013 allowing SWT to run 10-car trains

Past fleetEdit

 Class   Image   Type   Number   Withdrawn   Notes 
Class 170 Turbostar 100px DMU 9 July 2007 8 transferred to First TransPennine Express, 1 to Southern where it was converted to a Class 171
Class 411 (4Cep) 100px EMU 29 May 2005 Some preserved
Class 412 (4Bep) 100px 7 May 2005 Some preserved
Class 421 (4Cig) 100px 32 May 2005 Two were retained for heritage operations on the Lymington Branch Line until May 2010, as 3Cig units. These units have been preserved and lengthened back to 4 coaches. Some others preserved
Class 421 (3Cig) 100px 2 May 2010 421497 preserved to the Mid Norfolk Railway.
421498 preserved by the Epping Ongar Railway.
Class 423 (4Vep) 100px 66 May 2005 Some preserved
Class 442 (5Wes) Wessex Electric 100px 24 February 2007 Withdrawn in favour of Class 444 Desiro units. Now operating Gatwick Express/Southern services.
Class 960 100px DMU 1 March 2009 Preserved on Swanage Railway


South West Trains is also planning to procure 135 additional carriages for suburban services. These trains could be in service by 2016.[31]

Wessex Electrics FleetEdit

These units (Template:BRC) were initially dedicated to the Weymouth line but, through the 1990s, began to be operated on the London to Portsmouth direct line also. In preparation for the Class 444 and Class 450 "Desiro" units taking over from the slam-door fleet, the Wessex Electrics were withdrawn from Portsmouth line services and were again wholly dedicated to the Weymouth line.

South West Trains announced that it would be withdrawing these units, and they last ran on 3 February 2007. This move also coincided with SWT reinstating all Class 458s for the Waterloo-Reading line. As a result, the Class 444s inherited the Waterloo - Weymouth route and the Class 450s took over some Portsmouth Harbour services, while the 442s went into storage at Eastleigh. In 2008, Southern leased these trains for its Gatwick Express service, and is now operating them on services from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport and Brighton.[32]

Turbostar FleetEdit

In 2000, South West Trains acquired eight 2-car Class 170/3 units to supplement its existing Class 159 fleet. They were used on London to Salisbury services as well as a new Southampton local service, and on Reading to Basingstoke services. They were sometimes pressed into use on Waterloo-Exeter services but, as they were not fitted with end gangways for catering or selective door opening for the short platforms at some stations, this was not a regular route.

From late 2006 to mid-2007, the Class 170s were gradually transferred to First TransPennine Express in exchange for a larger number of Class 158 units, to expand and standardise the fleet. One, 170392, originally built to Southern specifications but taken over by SWT soon after its construction, went to Southern and was converted to a Class 171.

Greyhound FleetEdit

The final slam-door train on regular passenger services ran from London Waterloo to Bournemouth on 26 May 2005 with units 421396, 423536 and 421398. Some slam-door units have been preserved on heritage railways and three were retained by SWT for operations on the Lymington Branch Line and for special duties.

Services on the Lymington branch were operated as a "heritage" operation using one of two refurbished 3Cig units, nos. 421497 and 421498. The two units were repainted in their original liveries, one in classic Southern Region green and the other in British Rail blue and grey, and went into service on 12 May 2005. Following the May 2010 timetable change, these have now been replaced on the Lymington branch by Class 158 units during the week and Class 450 units at the weekend.[33]

Preserved SWT trainsEdit

File:3417 Eastleigh 100.JPG

Of the Classes 411, 412, 421 and 423 slam-door trains, several complete former SWT units have been preserved.

In contrast, just two former Southern units have been preserved - one Class 421 and one Class 423. No complete units from South Eastern Trains have been preserved.

DiagramsEdit

Diagrams of operational trains

480px 800px 640px 640px

DepotsEdit

Wimbledon Traincare depotEdit

Main article: Wimbledon Traincare depot

Wimbledon Traincare depot is one of Europe's most advanced train servicing complexes. It is between Wimbledon and Earlsfield stations, on the main line to Waterloo, next to the landmark Wimbledon Train Viaduct.

Bournemouth Traincare DepotEdit

Bournemouth train care depot is South West of Bournemouth railway station, occupying the approach to the former Bournemouth West Station. Up until their withdrawal in February 2007, the depot was home to the Class 442 (5Wes) Wessex Electrics. The branch turns off at Branksome railway station and trains can be seen stopping at platform 2 and reversing into the depot.

Clapham Traincare depotEdit

Clapham Junction depot provides stabling for the fleet. It does not carry out any maintenance but does have a carriage washer that is regularly used.

Northam Traincare DepotEdit

Northam Traincare Depot was built by Siemens in 2002 as the home depot for the Desiro fleet as part of a 20-year maintenance contract.[34] It is located south of St Denys railway station and is near Southampton Football Club's St Mary's Stadium.

Salisbury Traincare DepotEdit

Salisbury depot provides servicing for South West Trains' diesel fleet.

Fratton Traincare DepotEdit

Fratton Traincare Depot sits on the South Coast in Portsmouth. The Depot occupies the site alongside Fratton station, with two of the sidings right next to Goldsmith Avenue. It has a carriage washer and is the fuelling point for the 158s and 159s. The Depot has a Train Shed with two pitted roads for maintenance of rolling stock. Class 444 and 450 units berth overnight there, and there are stabling sidings and bay platforms at Portsmouth & Southsea station all of which come under the control of the Depot at Night.

Farnham Traincare DepotEdit

Farnham depot, in Weydon Lane, was opened by the Southern Railway at the time of the electrification of the Portsmouth and Alton lines in 1937.[35] It was refurbished for the introduction of modern units when slam-door trains were replaced circa 2005. At the same time, disused quarry and ballast dump sidings behind the carriage shed were removed and a number of outdoor sidings were laid for overnight storage and servicing of units.

Criticism of South West TrainsEdit

Template:Update In May 2011, the train company faced media attention after dismissing a ticket clerk for carrying out unauthorised work on the track of an active, electrified railway line in Hampshire. As the clerk claimed to be removing an obstacle from the track, the press supported him and a 7,000-name petition was collected.[36] The case was heard at an Industrial Tribunal in Southampton on 1 November 2011, where South West Trains presented its side of the story. The ticket clerk did not contest his dismissal when his barrister was presented with the full facts of the case by SWT.[37]

See alsoEdit

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External linksEdit

Template:Commons category

ReferencesEdit

  1. Companies House extract company no 5599788 Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited
  2. Template:Cite press release
  3. Companies House extract company no 2938995. South Western Trains Limited.
  4. Template:Cite press release
  5. Rail (Peterborough). 13 November 2002, page 4.
  6. Template:Cite press release
  7. South Western stakeholder briefing. Department for Transport. 4 April 2006.
  8. Script error
  9. Script error
  10. "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers". Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013.
  11. Script error
  12. Script error
  13. Script error
  14. Script error
  15. Script errorTemplate:Subscription required
  16. Script error
  17. Script error
  18. Template:Cite press release
  19. Script error
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  21. Companies House extract company no 3007942 Island Line Limited)
  22. Script error
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  24. Script error
  25. 25.0 25.1 Script error
  26. Script error
  27. Script error
  28. 28.0 28.1 Template:Cite press release
  29. Class 158 scot-rail.co.uk
  30. Further boost for passengers as South West Trains secures additional carriages - South West Trains. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  31. South West Trains: CAPACITY IMPROVEMENT PLANS REVEALED BY SOUTH WEST TRAINS-NETWORK RAIL ALLIANCE AND DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT Retrieved 7 September 2013
  32. Script error
  33. Script error
  34. "Desiro UK demands a pit stop approach". Railway Gazette. 1 March 2002.
  35. Railway Gazette, 1937
  36. Script error
  37. Script error

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