The Strategic Rail Authority have reached agreement with Stagecoach to operate the South West Trains franchise for a further 3 years to 2007.
"I welcome this decision though personally I would have preferred to see a franchise for a longer period than 3 years. The longer the period of franchise, the greater the willingness of the train operator to invest in rolling stock, stations, car parks and security.
Although the service has not been without its problems, my own experience with South West Trains has been on the whole good, and I am pleased that they have been awarded a new franchise and that they are making the investments outlined below":
Strategic Rail Authority
11 July 2003
Three Year South West Trains Deal Signed
The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) today announced that it has signed a three-yea.r franchise with incubent Stagecoach Group plc to operate South West Trains unti1 2007.
The deal is focused firmly on improving punctuality and the introduction of new trains to replace slam-door carnages. The signature seals an agreement announced in principle in November 2002, and secures:
• Continued implementation of a detailed performance plan to improve punctuality and reliability
• Delivery into service of new Siemens Desiro carriages over the next two years to replace the existing 576 slam door carriages. The deal also underpins financing of the upgraded depots necessary for the new trains, including the brand new Northam Depot.
• Continued investment in CCTV at stations, an improved train cleaning regime and an accelerated station repainting programme.
• Overhaul and refurbishment of 'Class 455' metro carriages to improve reliability and passenger comfort.
• The continuation of service improvements -some longer peak hour trains and improved Sunday and late night frequencies -which were introduced following the SRA's extension of the SWT franchise to February 2004.
Richard Bowker, SRA Chairman, said: "This franchise agreement focuses on delivering real improvements for passengers: better reliability, new trains, refurbished trains and cleaner trains. The very things we know passengers expect and care about."