Extra capacity to be provided for overcrowded peak routes
South Western Railway is to introduce new longer trains on local routes to boost capacity on the over-crowded service.
The Class 707 trains built by Siemens will start operating from Monday 11 December and will have ten carriages as opposed to the current rolling stock which only have 8. The rail company say this will increase capacity by the equivalent of 5,000 seats by early 2018. They previously said that 30 of these trains had been purchased for £210 million to provide 150 extra carriages.
This has been made possible by Network Rail’s August works to extend platforms and increase capacity at Waterloo. The works saw 1,000 Network Rail engineers and track-side staff working over three and half weeks to prepare for longer trains, making significant changes to platforms, signalling and tracks in what Network Rail say was one of the biggest and most complex engineering projects in Waterloo station’s history.
The new Class 707 trains will run between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside, including the Hounslow Loop and Weybridge via Brentford, calling at stations such as Clapham Junction, Putney, Brentford and Chiswick. The existing trains on these routes will then transfer onto Reading services allowing other trains to transfer to suburban and main line routes to help boost capacity elsewhere.
Morning and evening peak services will benefit in particular from Monday 11 December when the new timetable is introduced. A number of trains will be lengthened from eight to ten carriages, with others extended up to twelve carriages.
They also provide free passenger WiFi throughout, open-ended carriages, a modern climate control system which monitors the number of passengers onboard to maintain the temperature while minimising energy consumption and onboard passenger information which can provide real-time updates on a range of information, including London Underground services and tell passengers which carriages have more space. However, the have attracted criticism for not having any toilets. South Western Railway say they are also far lighter and more energy efficient, reducing the impact on the environment and track.
Andy Mellors, Managing Director for South Western Railway, said, “The introduction of new carriages is great news for passengers as they will unlock capacity across other parts of the network. Introducing these trains means we can make use of existing stock in the best possible way and implement real improvements in time for the new timetable this December. Between now and early 2018, passengers will really notice the difference especially during peak hours.”
Becky Lumlock, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said, “It’s fantastic to see the benefits of our £800 million upgrade at Waterloo and across the route reaching passengers, with longer trains and more comfortable journeys. And this is just the start. By the end of next year we will have reopened the former Waterloo International Terminal for domestic use, increasing capacity at the station by 30% at peak times.”
Preview of the inside of the new trains
December 1, 2017