Wandsworth commuters offered longer trains


Southern Railways have joined South West Trains in announcing the use of additional carriages on their peak-time services.


By Robert Edwards

Wandsworth Council are announcing a major breakthrough in their campaign for longer trains.

Southern Railways have joined South West Trains (SWT) in introducing the use of additional carriages on their peak-time services.

Overcrowded trains, the cause of great discomfort for the thousands of commuters who rely on these services daily, will see the pressure eased as peak-time trains are lengthened from eight to ten carriages from May 2013.

Capacity is set to increase again from 2014 when SWT introduces additional services to the timetable.

Key local routes, including the overcrowded service to Victoria via Balham, Wandsworth Common, Clapham Junction and Battersea Park, will see improvements, as will rush hour services on routes from Windsor, Hounslow and Weybridge to and from Waterloo.

Wandsworth Council’s transport spokesman Cllr Russell King (Con) said: “After years of campaigning we finally have a clear timetable in place for the introduction of longer, higher capacity trains on Wandsworth’s busiest rail services.”

Calling the improvement of transport services a top priority for Wandsworth Council, Cllr King said: “For the passengers who board these jam-packed trains every day the extra carriages cannot come fast enough and we will be pressing the rail industry to keep to these deadlines.”

A spokesman for the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said: “Wandsworth Council trying to take credit for longer trains on Southern and South West Trains services is a bit like RMT claiming credit for England winning the Ashes.

“It’s tenuous to say the least. These are improvements that should have happened years ago.”

Alex Gordon, RMT president, accused Wandsworth Council of trying to claim credit for the recent £80 million public sector investment in the ailing Derby based train maker, Bombardier, which last December awarded Southern a contract for 130 new carriages.

“Every penny of this public investment comes from British taxpayers,” said Mr Gordon.

“The announcement of Southern’s new train fleet has only been made now because trade unions such as RMT have kicked up a massive campaign of opposition to the coalition government’s plans to outsource train manufacturing.”

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