The pain of paying more to travel might be eased on some key commuter routes when more than 100 new carriages are added next year to South West Trains services into Waterloo, providing space for an extra 23,000 peak-time travellers.
Services that will benefit are among the busiest in Europe and include those from Windsor and Eton (Riverside), Weybridge via Brentford and Staines, Hounslow via Richmond and Brentford. Services from Reading will also be upgraded.
The new carriages will be introduced from May 2013, extending the current eight-carriage average to 10.
There will also be extra services from Reading and Waterloo during peak times once sections of the former Waterloo International terminal, mothballed since 2007 when Eurostar moved to King’s Cross, come back into use in 2014.
“Work is well under way, with platform extensions at 66 stations across the South West Trains network to allow longer trains to run on some routes,” says a South West Trains spokeswoman.
“The main objective is to improve capacity on the network. We operate one of the busiest commuter networks in the UK and passenger numbers are continuing to grow, therefore capacity is a significant issue that needs to be addressed.”
In fact, according to the latest figures from the Department for
Transport, overcrowding on South West Trains, and indeed all London commuter
services, is increasing. One in five rush hour passengers is forced to stand on
their way to work. At peak times the average South West Trains service runs at
3.3 per cent above the maximum passenger capacity its carriages were designed
All commuters face season ticket fare increases of up to six per
cent in the New Year, while a recent study by the TUC found the amount of time
people are taking to get to and from work in London is increasing and now
stands at an average 77 minutes for men and 73 minutes for women.