South Western Railway (SWR) has retained the services of 12 class 707 trains, alleviating fears that train lines will not be able to meet capacity.
It has extended the lease of 12 units until August 2022 after striking a deal with southeastern trains.
The new Arterio trains, which were designed to replace class 707s, are not yet ready for use, meaning there were concerns that SWR would not be able to meet passenger’s demands.
SWR’s Managing Director Claire Mann said: “Prior to the outbreak of the most recent coronavirus variant, the delay to the Arterio roll-out had created a challenging situation on parts of our network and I’d like to apologise to our customers and thank them for their patience during this testing time.”
Mann has also assured customers that SWR has short, medium and long-term plans to cope with any more challenges that may occur to ensure that every passenger can rely on their trains.
She said: “Retaining the Class 707s is a key part of our medium-term approach, and I’d like to thank Southeastern for working with us in such a constructive way to support the wider interests of all railway users.”
As well as securing Class 707s for longer, SWR has put in place other measures to maximise fleet availability should COVID restrictions be lifted.
It has recruited additional engineers to increase the efficiency of its maintenance programmes.
SWR control teams will adapt their timetables to ensure that trains are available for when passengers need them the most.
it will shift more trains to the suburban lines in order to provide more capacity there.