South Western Railway was awarded the South Western franchise in March 2017, and took over from South West Trains on 20th August 2017
South Western Railway is owned 70/30 by FirstGroup and MTR. The company operates commuter services from London Waterloo to south west London and suburban and regional services in Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset, as well as regional services in Devon, Somerset, Berkshire and Wiltshire.
Its subsidiary Island Line operates services on the Isle of Wight.
Throughout 2018 South Western Railway increased its recycling to 3,900 tonnes of waste a year and diverted all of its other waste to generate energy. The company also arranged for old uniforms to be reused or donated to charities and has plans to roll out water fountains across more stations.
In November 2018 this work was rewarded with a gold award in the Environmental Excellence category at the Green Apple awards. South Western Railway was also commended for hitting its zero waste to landfill eight months early (since July 2018, a hundred per cent of its waste is diverted from landfill – it is either recycled or used to generate energy).
On 14th November South Western Railway’s first fully refurbished and reconfigured Class 444 train entered passenger service, offering additional seating capacity and high-quality improvements to passenger accommodation.
The refurbishment and reconfiguration of the train is part of SWR’s £50 million Desiro interior upgrade programme.
The project is being delivered by the trains’ manufacturer, Siemens Mobility and is designed to increase much needed seating capacity in standard class and bring the interior accommodation up to date with some state-of-the-art features including enhanced Wi-Fi; inductive charging tables and at-seat power; and a full refurbishment of passenger accommodation using quality materials.
The refurbishment of the Desiro fleet is part of a £110 million programme to refurbish five fleets in all by the end of 2020, equating to over 900 carriages. As of November 2018, the first of SWR’s newly acquired fleet of 18 Class 442 trains is being refurbished before entering passenger service in January 2019 on the Portsmouth to Waterloo route.
On 15th October 2018 South Western Railway announced plans to invest £90 million to improve station facilities.
The investment will go towards fitting new ticket barriers at over twelve stations to improve safety and reduce anti-social behaviour. There will also be 280 new benches installed along with providing an extra 1,500 car parking spaces.
Several stations will be made more accessible including Pokesdown and Chessington South and there will also be significant enhancements to platform customer information screens displaying real time information from new trains about where vacant seats are available and where facilities can be found on the train.
The Island Line runs north to south along the east of the Isle of Wight. The eight-and-a half mile route runs Class 483 Electric Multiple Units. The Island Line has existed since 1864 and has been operated by South Western Railway since 20th August 2017.