1. ITV Report

New owners for busiest train company in Europe


A new company has today taken over the running of South West Trains, but commuters may not notice much difference immediately.

First Group and MTR, who run the Hong Kong metro, will run services on the busiest commuter network for the next seven years.

The new livery will take several weeks to be phased in Credit: PA

The changeover to South Western Railway is expected to take time to phase in, with the new company planning to rebrand all rolling stock, website and booking systems while 5,000 staff will get a new uniform.

The company promise to invest £1.2 billion with 750 new train carriages to ease crowding as part of a new Government franchise.

Stagecoach had run the service for 21 years and the company was the first to be privatised along with Great Western but lost to the new rival.

In its final announcement on Friday it announced there would be ten days compensation for season ticket holders to compensate for the disruption, including a derailment during the Waterloo upgrade. All season ticket holders will receive it.

But the new concern couldn't be taking over at a worse time with Waterloo badly disrupted by the upgrade works and the unions threatening strikes unless guards keep their safety duties. It has been suggested drivers may be asked to close doors like in the Southern dispute.

The new company insist they will keep a second person on its trains but have not ruled out drivers closing doors.