South Western Railway passengers have benefited from 11,000 extra seats on peak time Waterloo services since a new timetable was implemented in December.
As part of the roll-out of new Class 707 trains, the last of which entered passenger service on Tuesday, existing train stock has been moved elsewhere on the network to boost overall capacity and increase the number of seats in service during peak hour travel.
The new Class 707 trains, with a total of 8,250 seats in the fleet, have primarily gone on the Waterloo to Windsor, Weybridge and Hounslow routes. The existing trains on these routes have transferred onto Reading services, enabling other trains to transfer to suburban and mainline routes to help boost capacity elsewhere.
This extensive capacity boost has been made possible by Network Rail’s August works to extend platforms and increase capacity at London Waterloo. Morning and evening peak services have seen the most noticeable improvements with many peak suburban trains lengthened from eight to ten carriages, and other mainline services extended up to twelve carriages.
Andy Mellors, Managing Director of South Western Railway, said: “The introduction of the new fleet of trains is really positive news for our passengers as they have unlocked capacity across other parts of the network and enabled us to add more seats through the morning and evening peak period at Waterloo.
Introducing these trains has meant that we have been able to make use of existing stock in the best possible way and implement significant improvements. Passengers will have hopefully noticed the difference already – 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. The August 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 one of the biggest and most complex engineering projects in Waterloo station’s history.
And there’s more to come, as we continue to redevelop the former Waterloo International Terminal to create a modern, high frequency commuter terminal by the end of this year. ”
Vernon Barker, Managing Director for Rail Systems UK, Siemens Mobility, said: “I’m delighted to see the final Class 707s now entering passenger service. We’re very proud to have delivered 30 of these five-car electrical multiple units, and it’s great that passengers are now seeing the real benefits of the extra capacity. These state of the art trains offer many benefits such as free wifi and improved accessibility through open gangways. They are also lighter and more energy efficient than previous generations.”
Malcolm Brown, CEO, Angel Trains, said: “We are pleased to see the final pair of Class 707 units being introduced to passenger service. This follows recent analysis showing that the Class 707 is the most reliable new train. It is great news that passengers on South Western Railway are now able to enjoy the benefits of modern rolling stock on commuter services in to London Waterloo.”