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South Western is a railway franchise for the provision of passenger services from London Waterloo to destinations in Surrey, Hampshire, Somerset, Dorset, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Devon on the South Western, Portsmouth Direct and West of England main lines. In 2007, the franchise was combined with the smaller franchise for the Island Line on the Isle of Wight.

South Western
Current operatorSouth Western Railway
Main Route(s)South West Main Line
Portsmouth Direct Line
West of England Main Line
Waterloo to Reading Line
Franchise dates4 Feb 1996 – 31 Jan 2004
1 Feb 2004 – 3 Feb 2007
4 Feb 2007 – 19 Aug 2017
20 Aug 2017 – 18 Aug 2024
Fleet size367
Stations called at213
Stations operated185
Websitewww.southwesternrailway.com
Route map

Route map

Contents

HistoryEdit

South West TrainsEdit

In December 1995, the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising awarded the franchise to South West Trains, a subsidiary of Stagecoach.[1][2] Operations started on 4 February 1996.[3]

In April 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) awarded Stagecoach a new franchise after it beat bids from FirstGroup/NedRailways and Sea Containers.[4][5][6] The 2001 franchises awarded were (as promulgated) to run for 20 years, but in 2002 the SRA reduced the duration of franchises and South West Trains was awarded a three-year franchise starting on 1 February 2004.[7][8]

In December 2005, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that Arriva, FirstGroup, MTR/Sea Containers, National Express and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to tender for the new South Western franchise, which combined the South West Trains and Island Line Trains franchises, both being operated by Stagecoach.[9][10][11] National Express and MTR/Sea Containers later withdrew.[12][13] In September 2006, the DfT awarded the franchise to Stagecoach commencing on 4 February 2007 for a period of ten years.[14][15][16]

In March 2013, the Secretary of State for Transport announced the DfT were in talks with Stagecoach to extend the franchise until April 2019.[17] However, after failing to negotiate an extension, in July 2015 the DfT announced the franchise would be relet.[18][19][20]

South Western RailwayEdit

In February 2016, the DfT announced FirstGroup and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the next franchise.[21][22] In June 2016, MTR took a 30% shareholding in the FirstGroup bid.[23][24]

In July 2016, the DfT issued the Invitation to Tender.[25][26] In March 2017, the DfT awarded the franchise to First/MTR owned South Western Railway to commence on 20 August 2017. It will run until at least August 2024, with an option for the DfT to extend for a further year.[27][28]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Bus firm Stagecoach is first franchisee" Rail Magazine issue 269 3 January 1996 page 8
  2. ^ "First three franchises let" Rail Privatisation News issue 21 11 January 1996 page 1
  3. ^ Puzzled private train spotters go for the 5:10 from Twickenham The Independent 4 February 1996
  4. ^ Stagecoach Group Welcomes South West Trains Decision Stagecoach Holdings 2 April 2001
  5. ^ "Stagecoach to keep SWT" Rail Business Intelligence issue 148 12 April 2001 page 6
  6. ^ "SWT retains franchise - and places Britain's biggest-ever train order" The Railway Magazine issue 1202 June 2001 page 5
  7. ^ "SRA cuts SWT's new franchise plan from 20 years to just three" Rail Magazine 13 November 2002 page 4
  8. ^ Stagecoach Group signs new South West Trains deal Stagecoach 11 July 2003
  9. ^ "Five on DFT's South Western franchise bidder shortlist" Rail Magazine issue 530 4 January 2006 page 9
  10. ^ "Five prequlify for South Western" Today's Railways issue 50 February 2006 page 10
  11. ^ South Western stakeholder briefing Department for Transport 4 April 2006
  12. ^ "National Express pulls out of SWT battle" Rail Magazine issue 536 29 March 2006 page 16
  13. ^ "GNER quits South West race" Rail Magazine issue 542 21 June 2006 page 12
  14. ^ Stagecoach wins railway franchise BBC News 22 September 2006
  15. ^ Stagecoach Wins South West Trains Contract The Guardian 22 September 2006
  16. ^ "Stagecoach wins South Western franchise" Today's Railways issue 59 November 2006 page 8
  17. ^ Railway plan puts new focus on passengers Secretary of State for Transport 26 March 2013
  18. ^ South West Trains franchise out to competition BBC News 7 July 2015
  19. ^ South West Trains to be refranchised Railway Gazette International 7 July 2015
  20. ^ "No direct franchise for South West Trains in 2017" Rail Magazine issue 779 22 July 2015 page 8
  21. ^ Two companies shortlisted to compete for the next South Western rail franchise Department for Transport 4 February 2016
  22. ^ Stagecoach and FirstGroup shortlisted for South Western franchise Railway Gazette International 4 February 2016
  23. ^ MTR and First partner for South Western bid Rail Magazine 16 June 2016
  24. ^ MTR joins FirstGroup's bid for South Western rail franchise Railway Gazette International 16 June 2016
  25. ^ Better journeys on the way for rail passengers across the South Western network Department for Transport 4 July 2016
  26. ^ South Western invitation to tender issued Railway Gazette International 4 July 2016
  27. ^ FirstGroup and MTR welcome South Western rail franchise award London Stock Exchange 27 March 2017
  28. ^ First MTR joint venture wins South Western franchise Railway Gazette International 27 March 2017