Capacity improvement plans revealed by South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance and Department for Transport

14 August 2013  •  Author: Stagecoach

Plans are being developed to deliver a transformational capacity increase on one of Europe’s busiest rail networks, it was revealed today (14 August 2013).

The blueprint to deliver capacity for almost 10,000 extra peak-time passengers on the route in and out of London Waterloo by 2019 could involve a staged programme of additional, longer trains, platform extensions and re-openings, as well as signalling, track and power supply improvements.

The vision has been spearheaded by the management team at the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance working in response to the Department for Transport’s rail investment strategy to future-proof one of the country’s key commuter networks.

It includes key improvements around London Waterloo as well as bringing the remaining four platforms of the Waterloo International Terminal back into use. Work is already underway to bring Platform 20 of the former International Terminal back into service from spring 2014.

However under proposals developed by the Alliance, Platforms 21 to 24 could also be brought back into passenger service providing extra capacity from Waterloo, the UK’s busiest railway station. Plans are being developed to extend platforms 1-4 to accommodate longer trains and to carry out track and signalling improvements to maximise the benefits of the platform developments.

The first phase of the plan will see the procurement of more than 135 additional carriages which will run in 10-car formation on the suburban routes of the network. This procurement process will start during the summer, and depending on the proposal selected, the first additional trains could be delivered as early as 2016.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Britain needs a strong economy if it wants to compete globally and effective transport links are absolutely key to that. This is why the Government has embarked on one of the biggest programmes of rail modernisation ever.

“It’s also vital to cost effectively create additional capacity at Waterloo – the capital’s busiest railway station – making the proposals from South West Trains and Network Rail doubly important.”

Tim Shoveller, Managing Director of the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: “Our network is currently one of the busiest in Europe carrying almost 210 million passengers a year.

“We already have confirmed plans we have in place to deliver improvements in capacity over the next two years. However, the huge success of the railway in the UK means it will get significantly busier in the next two decades and beyond. There is also a need to invest in the infrastructure to improve the daily reliability for today’s customers.

“The Alliance between South West Trains and Network Rail means we are working more closely together, thinking big and creating plans for the long-term to deliver significant improvements for passengers.

“The blueprint we are developing in partnership with the Department for Transport is a massive programme of work and requires significant investment. These plans will greatly improve what is a key part of the country’s transport infrastructure and ensure our rail network continues to support economic growth.”

Plans are already in place to deliver capacity for an additional 23,000 extra peak-time passengers per day through the roll-out of an additional 108 carriages by the end of 2014. These carriages, secured through the Government’s High Level Output Specification programme, will provide longer trains on key peak-time services. Work has already taken place on the lengthening of platforms at over 60 stations to enable 10-car trains to operate on key routes.

The South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance currently runs around 1,700 trains a day in and out of London Waterloo, carrying nearly 210 million passengers a year. However, with the huge growth in rail travel in the UK, this is forecast to increase to nearly 380 million a year by 2030.

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