Local MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Government’s announcement that First MTR South Western Trains Limited has been awarded the South Western franchise, which will run for 7 years from 20 August 2017.

First MTR South Western Trains limited will oversee a £1.2 billion investment programme, improving journeys for millions of train passengers.

First MTR has pledged 22,000 extra seats into London Waterloo each morning and 30,000 extra seats out of Waterloo each evening peak. More frequent and additional services across the franchise are also due to be delivered alongside faster connections between London and Portsmouth and earlier first and later last trains. Additionally, existing trains will be refurbished with charging sockets, new seat covers and refurbished toilets.  

The new franchise is expected to see closer partnership working with Network Rail. In addition, First MTR South Western Trains Limited will use the experience of one of its major shareholders MTR, who operate the busy Hong Kong metro, to deliver smoother and more rapid journeys for passengers. 

Long-time rail improvement campaigner, Caroline Dinenage MP, commented:

“I welcome today’s announcement regarding the new First MTR South Western Trains franchise, it offers a real opportunity to improve services for passengers. I am too often contacted by constituents dissatisfied with slow journey times and overcrowded trains. This is not only a daily frustration for commuters, it is an obstacle to our area’s economic growth. The £1.2bn investment should mean local residents can look forward to more modern trains, faster journeys and a more reliable service.”

Caroline has long campaigned for better rail services to the Gosport peninsula; in the last Parliament she led debates in the House of Commons, asked questions of Government departments and held meetings with South West Trains. Last year, she called for greater local involvement in a public consultation on the future of the South West Trains franchise.