England

Extra trains on Waterloo to Reading commuter timetable

South West Trains carriages at Waterloo Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The number of passengers using South West Trains has increased from 108 million a year to 230 million since 1996

A new timetable for trains linking London to Reading, Windsor and Hounslow has been launched, with extra services and more carriages.

South West Trains (SWT) says the increased capacity between Waterloo and Reading, Ascot, Windsor & Eton Riverside, Hounslow and Richmond equates to nearly 10,000 seats a week.

The company has also added carriages to a peak-time service from Weybridge.

The first new services, to Hounslow, are being served by replacement buses.

Extra Sunday afternoon and evening trains will double the current service on the Hounslow Loop from Waterloo, but engineering works mean trains will only run as far as Brentford.

From Monday, there will be three new weekday services - from Reading to Waterloo at 06:23, Hounslow to Waterloo at 08:27 and Waterloo to Reading at 19:35 - and longer trains on the Hounslow Loop on Saturdays.

'Far from complacent'

The 08:03 Weybridge to Waterloo service will also be increased from four carriages to 10 - the maximum possible on that line.

Managing director Tim Shoveller said: "The improvements to the timetable, combined with the major investments we are delivering across the network, will deliver a real boost for passengers.

"However, we are far from complacent and we know we can do much more."

A spokesman for independent user watchdog Transport Focus said: "Passengers will be pleased to see South West Trains introducing extra seats, new services and longer trains.

"Getting a seat, or even sometimes getting on a train, can be a struggle for some. Just 61% of South West Trains passengers tell us that they are satisfied with the availability of seats or space to stand."

South West Trains said, since 1996, the number of passengers using its trains had increased from 108 million a year to 230 million.

It has pledged 258 extra carriages by 2018, a 30% increase.

The company says it has now added 57,000 seats a week on its network, which stretches to Bristol, Portsmouth and Weymouth.

A separate £65m scheme to rollout 108 refurbished carriages across the network is expected to be completed in early 2016.

Image copyright South West Trains
Image caption South West Trains has pledged to increase its capacity by 30% to cope with the increase in passenger numbers

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