1. ITV Report

Stagecoach lose South West Trains franchise

Credit: PA

The Government has just announced major new plans to improve rail services in the south.

In a shock move current owner Stagecoach will be replaced with Great Western Railway owner First Group.

Stagecoach was the first private company to run trains when it was awarded its first franchise 21 years ago.

A new contract from August will see more trains and faster services to ease crowding. There will also be better compensation for delays.

The Government is currently announcing full details.

Credit: PA

South West Trains is by far the biggest and most important rail franchise in the country. It operates the busiest commuter lines in Europe and has seen passenger numbers double since it became the first rail company to be privatised twenty one years ago.

The company is required to run at least 89% of its trains on mainline services on time. But figures for the last month reveal fewer than 87% ran to schedule.

It serves all of Hampshire and much of Surrey, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Dorset.

Every day 650,000 passengers board a South West Train. That is three times as many vehicles use the entire M25 every day which is our busiest motorway.

Every year it brings 100 million people in and out of Waterloo which is by far the busiest station in the country.

It has 1,700 trains a day serving 200 stations.

SWT employ 4,500 staff and is a major employer in the region.

The company has been run by Stagecoach who also operate buses all over the country. From August a new joint company made up of First Group and MTR, who own the Hong Kong metro will take over.

150 new carriages are on order to ease overcrowding allowing a 30% boost in capacity. It is part of an £800 million upgrade of the lines into Waterloo.

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