Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Building A Better Railway – £1 Billion Rolling Stock Deal Means More Seats for South West Trains’ Passengers [April 2001]

The press release issued by the Strategic Rail Authority on 24 April 2001.

Commuters on London’s busiest rail network can look forward to easier journeys following today’s £1 billion deal for the leasing and maintenance of new trains for South West Trains. In one of the industry’s biggest ever deals, Stagecoach Holdings plc, Angel Trains, and Siemens will procure 785 new coaches to replace the remaining old Mark 1 slam door stock and provide extra capacity to relieve overcrowding.

The new stock, along with platform extensions to permit ten, rather than eight, car trains, will boost peak capacity by 25% and reduce overcrowding on most suburban routes. It will also facilitate the operation of additional service frequencies into Waterloo on others – the Windsor Lines, Woking and Basingstoke – plus through services from Camberley and Chertsey which currently involve changing at Ascot or Staines.

The first coaches should enter service in November 2002 with the whole fleet being available by September 2004.

Welcoming today’s news, and underlining the role played by the SRA in driving the deal forward, the Authority’s Chief Executive, Mike Grant, said:

“This deal ensures that passengers will benefit from new trains as soon as possible, with additional coaches to provide more capacity on busy commuter routes. It marks an important step towards our objectives of increasing rail use by 50% over the next ten years, and reducing overcrowding.

“We had undertaken our own procurement process as a strategic initiative designed to guard against operators not taking the necessary action to replace the old stock. The deal secured by Stagecoach offers better value for passengers and taxpayers, and consequently I shall not be continuing with our order for South West Trains given that commuters are now guaranteed new trains under the new 20 year franchise.

“The full and energetic input of the financiers and manufacturers has made an important contribution towards this successful outcome.

“I am keeping our options open for South Central, pending the conclusion of the GoVia procurement process.”