South West Trains
South West Trains company, which is also commonly referred to as SWT for short, is a British train travelling company that can provide both community and long-distance travel out of London Waterloo, and mainly to the southern areas of Greater London, Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Berkshire, and many other places as well. The South West Trains company is one of the largest train travelling businesses in the entire United Kingdom. If you’re looking to travel the world or just take a vacation, you can rest assured that South West Trains is the right train company, as it is one of the best.
South West Trains History
South West Trains took control over the Network Southeast’s South Western train service in 1996. The company gained ill reputation because of driver shortages when first starting out, but later on made significant advances to the company such as replacements for most of the rolling stock trains, renovated stations, creating better accessibility for passengers that may need assistance and better customer information services.
South West Trains totally renovated its train schedule on 12 December 2004, which happened to be the first time it has been redone since 1967. SWT did this in order to attempt to create better customer service with the idea that this would help create faster journeys as well as improve dependability of the trains as well as the entire SWT service.
Beginning in February 2003, the entire renewal of the SWT business took nearly four years to reach completion. Later after this renewal of the business, Stagecoach Group decided to further work on the SWT business for further enhancement for ten more years—until 2017.
As the business blossomed, SWT got a hold of the previously private Island line on the Isle of Wight to further expand the business. The company name—South West Trains Ltd.—was also changed to Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd. However, the advertising name was left the same to help reduce confusion.
In May 2004 a passenger accidentally left a cigarette beneath a seat on a train and caused a fire. Because of this rare and shocking accident, South West Train’s put a smoking ban into effect to prevent any other occurrences like this one.
Features of South West Trains
South West Trains operates almost 1,700 trains per day. The number used to be significantly less, but because of the new timetable SWT created in 2004, the major improvements made throughout the business, and even the easier communication methods between stations that control the train service, this number just keeps getting higher every year.
South West Trains does not serve the stations of West Croydon, Sutton, the stations through Chichester and Brighton and even the mainline portion of Reading anymore since their huge renovation, but however, they do serve a larger part of London than ever before such as Bristol, Mottisfont and Dunbrudge, and Dean.
Hours of Operation
South West Trains runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, though sometimes closes for holidays or required cleaning or maintenance at specified rail stations. Because of this feature, you can travel whenever you want, even at night, though some detours may be necessary.
With SWT, even the disabled can have an enjoyable trip! If you’re in need of assistance in planning, buying tickets, or even going on your SWT trip, you don’t have to worry. South West Trains has an Assisted Travel team that are more than willing to help any passengers that require assistance. The customer service staff of SWT is highly trained professionals of disability knowledge, and the staff constantly works to make sure that train travelling is as manageable, easy, and enjoyable as possible not only for those whom may need help or assistance, but for everyone that travels with SWT. South West Trains says, “Our aim is to work to provide an inclusive railway, which is available to as many people as possible through positive moves to increase accessibility.”
With SWT, safety and security is considered to be their top priority, so you should never need to be concerned about safety on your trips—especially considering the face that SWT has also received several awards for their safety procedures alone. According to a recent study, public transport is considered to be one of the safest way’s to travel. SWT constantly seeks more ways to further improve their safety procedures. All SWT train operators have a safety certificate, which they tested to receive, and renew the training once a year.
Ticketing, Passes, Prices, and Fares
Single and return trips are available for all South West Train trips. A new fare system took effect for all SWT routes in May 2007.
Oyster pay as you go, Travelcards and Season Tickets
Oyster Cards is a ‘pay as you go’ system accepted by SWT for all routes in Greater London.
Travelcards are only accepted for trips into London, on London busses, Tramlink’s, Docklands Light Railway, London Underground, and on national rail services in the area that accepts Travelcards.
Season tickets are also available to cover multi day regular journeys. They are available in weekly, monthly and annual periods for all South West Train trips.
South West Trains will issues penalty fares to passengers travelling on their trains without a ticket. SWT has also begun planning to establish service ticket machines at all stations to help reduce the increase of fare evasion.
-The Penalty Fare is either £20 or double the travelled fare—whichever is highest.
Starting in August 2007, South West Trains have begun to lay emphasis on the penalty fares policy with announcements reminding passengers to buy tickets before boarding to further reduce fare evasion.
Platform tickets are something that South West Trains does not issue.
Stagecoach, a company of South West Trains, sells some train tickets by the name of Megatrain, very similar to Megabus. Megatrain tickets are obtainable Mondays through Saturdays for trips that are expected to be low on passengers. Most of these Megatrain tickets are available for trips from London Waterloo to many other places. Passengers who use this system usually sit in a specific carriage such as the second from the front carriage on the trains.
Types of Trains
SWT runs seven distinctive types of trains:
Class 158 trains are diesel trains that were built to replace British Rail locomotive trains that run from London – Salisbury and a few local stations in Hampshire. Class 158 trains are small and only have eleven units, two coaches and one hundred and fourteen seats.
Class 159 diesel trains run from London to Exeter and Bristol and some local stations in Hampshire. Most Class 159 trains were built in 1992 by British Rail to replace trains that were locomotive hauled on the West England line. These trains consist of twenty-two units formed from three coaches. There are one hundred and seventy seats.
Class 444 (Desiro)
Class 444 Desiro electric trains run from London to Weymouth and London to Portsmouth. Class 444’s were built along with Class 450 trains to replace former slam-door trains in 2002 through 2005. These trains consist of forty-five units formed from five coaches. There are 299 standard seats and 35 first class seats.
Class 450/0 (Desiro)
Class 450/0 Desiro electric trains run from London to Poole, London to Portsmouth and to some other stations outside London. Class 450 trains were built along with the Class 444 trains to replace former slam-door trains between 2002 and 2005. These trains consist of ninety-nine unity formed from four coaches. There are 246 standard seats and 24 first seats.
Class 450/5 (High Capacity Desiro)
Class 450/5 High Capacity Desiro electric trains run between inner and outer London suburban services by Richmond. These trains were converted from Class 450/0’s to increase overall capacity for suburban routes by removing first class and replacing it with standard class seats. These trains consist of twenty-eight units formed of four coaches. There are 253 Standard seats on these trains.
Class 455 electric trains run between inner and outer London suburban services by the Wimbledon. These trains were built for British Rail and were fully refurbished to modernise the interior and increase room for passenger capacity. These trains consist of ninety-one units formed from four coaches and have 244 standard seats.
Class 458 (Juniper)
Class 458 Juniper electric trains run from Waterloo to Reading in London. These Class 458 trains were built by Alstom to replace more of the former slam-door trains and provide additional capacity for customers. These trains consist of thirty units formed from four coaches and have 250 standard and 24 first class seats.
Class 483 electric trains run only on the Island line. These 483’s were originally built for the London Underground train company and ran on the Northern Line. They were greatly refurbished between 1989 and 1992 for use on the Island line. These trains consist of six units formed from two coaches and have 82 standard seats.
South West Trains routes run Monday through Saturday, with trains per hour, and include:
From London Waterloo to:
-Guildford via Cobham
-Guildford via Epsom
-Windsor and Eton Riverside
-Weybridge via Staines
-Waterloo via Kingston and Richmond
-Waterloo via Hounslow and Richmond
-Waterloo via Hounslow and Richmond
-Portsmouth Harbour via Guildford
-Portsmouth and Southsea via Guildford
-Portsmouth Harbour via Basingstoke
-Exeter St Davids
Trains that do not leave from London include:
-Southampton Central to Portsmouth and Southsea
-Salisbury to Romsey via Romsey and Southampton Central
-Ascot to Guildford
-Brockenhurst to Lymington Pier
South West Trains Depots
Wimbledon Traincare Depot
One of Europe’s most advanced and reliable train servicing stations is Wimbledon Traincare depot. This depot station is located between Wimbledon and Earlsfield on the main track on the way to Waterloo. The depot is located next to the South West Trains' landmark, the Wimbledon Train Viaduct.
Bournemouth Traincare Depot
Bournemouth traincare depot is just to the southwest of Bournemouth station and lies just before the former Bournemouth train station. This station was the last place the Class 442 Wessex trains were stored before moving to the Southern.
Northam Traincare Depot
Just south of St Denys railway station is the Northam train care depot and it is also next to Southampton FC's Stadium at St Mary's. This newer traincare depot station was built for maintenance work on the new Desiro Stock for South West Trains.
Salisbury Traincare Depot
Salisbury depot offers service for South West Train's diesel fleet.
Fratton Traincare Depot
Fratton Depot is used as a place to keep trains when they’re not in use, though currently, no trains use this depot as a ‘home’. The carriage washer is still in the depot and is used occasionally, as is the fuelling point. Quite a few class 444 and 450 trains stay overnight at the Fratton Depot.
Farnham Traincare Depot
The Southern Railway opened Farnham depot in Weydon Lane in 1937. The Depot station was refurbished for the introduction of more modern trains, which replaced the slam-door trains in 2005.
Planned Improvements and Expansions
The South West Trains Company was originally transformed for an entire four plus years starting in February 2003. Then, on 22 September 2006, Stagecoach Group took on the plan to work on the South West Train business for a further ten years, until 2017 to further increase the yearly income.
Arriva, First Group, MTR CORPORATION and National Express Group had made competing bids for the company, but none of these companies won. This quickly developing business started on 4 February 2007 and soon added the formerly privately owned Island line on the Isle of Wight.
The legal name of the company has also changed from South West Trains Ltd. to Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd.—though the trading name. South West Trains stayed the same to reduce confusion and keep the companies returning customers returning.