Southern plans network improvements

10 Jun 2009 by Mark Caswell

Southern Railways has announced plans to increase capacity by 10 per cent across its network by 2013, following the retention of the South Central rail franchise by parent company Govia.

The new franchise starts on September 20, and will run until 2015, with a two-year extension available at the discretion of the Department for Transport (DfT).

Southern’s successful bid for the franchise included a commitment to increase capacity by 10 per cent by the end of 2013, through the extension of eight-car trains to ten cars on key Metro routes, and an increase in peak time services into London and Brighton. Southern also says that staffing “at almost all Greater London stations” will be extended to provide cover from the first to the last service.

The rail operator also plans to invest £76m into the network, including £23m to improve train interiors, and £28m to improve station facilities. Planned improvements include:

  • 1,000 more car parking spaces
  • 1,500 secure cycle parking spaces
  • a £3m investment to provide real-time information at every station
  • new help points to be installed at 40 stations
  • information about connecting bus services to be provided at 35 stations
  • 100 per cent of trains and stations to have CCTV and passenger information systems by 2011
  • a new 38-strong Safer Travel Team to be in place by Spring 2010
  • a £3m investment in 120 new ticket machines by early 2012
  • new automatic ticket barriers at 22 stations

Southern also plans to introduce a new Smartmedia system by early 2012. The operator says Smartmedia is similar to Oyster, and will make ticket buying easier and enable automatic top-ups for season tickets at 26 stations outside London and 18 stations within London.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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