|Franchise(s)||South Western (20 August 2017 - 18 August 2024)|
|Main region(s)||Greater London|
|Other region(s)||Isle of Wight|
|National Rail abbreviation||SW|
|Parent company||FirstGroup (70%)|
MTR Corporation (30%)
South Western Railway (SWR) is a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup (70%) and MTR Corporation (30%) that operates the South Western franchise. It operates commuter services from its Central London terminus at London Waterloo to South West London. SWR provides suburban and regional services in the counties of Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset, as well as regional services in Devon, Somerset, Berkshire and Wiltshire. Its subsidiary Island Line operates services on the Isle of Wight.
in July 2015, having failed to negotiate an extension with South West Trains (the operator at the time, owned by Stagecoach), the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that the South Western franchise would be relet.
In February 2016, the DfT announced FirstGroup and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the next South Western franchise. In June 2016, MTR Corporation took a 30% shareholding in the FirstGroup bid. In July 2016, the DfT issued the Invitation to Tender.
In July 2017, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) sought undertakings from SWR that it would not abuse its monopoly on services to the West of England, Dorset and Somerset, as FirstGroup also operated the Greater Western franchise in those regions. The CMA accepted a concession from FirstGroup and MTR that unregulated fares between London and Exeter would be capped.
In April 2018, concerns began to grow over South Western Railway's performance over previous months after the number of delays and cancellations began to rise. The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced an independent review into the performance of South Western Railway and Network Rail. This was welcomed by Winchester's MP, Steve Brine.
In July 2018, it was reported that FirstGroup/MTR were renegotiating the SWR contract due to the operator's inability to deliver on many of its promised improvements, as well as its declining performance and history of industrial action.
On 2nd December 2019 the longest rail strike in UK history began following South Western trying on the Wessex route to move to trains that did not require guards.
In January 2020, SWR announced that they were in discussions with the government regarding the future of the franchise following a £137 million loss, with termination of the contract being a possibility.
South Western Railway is the main operator for western Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset, and also serves London, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon.
Most SWR services run on electrified lines using the 750 V DC third-rail system. There is a diesel fleet for services on the West of England line to Salisbury, Exeter and Bristol, using the unelectrified track beyond Worting Junction just west of Basingstoke, and for Salisbury to Southampton via Romsey services which also serve Eastleigh. SWR operates almost 1,700 train services per day.
From London Waterloo, SWR's London terminus, long-distance trains run to southern England, including the major coastal population centres of Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth. There are also trains to Reading, Exeter and Bristol, but these are not the principal fast services from London to those cities, which are operated from London Paddington by Great Western Railway. The majority of its passengers are on suburban commuter lines in inner and south-west London, Surrey, east Berkshire, and north-east Hampshire.
As with most rail companies, non-folding bicycles are banned from peak-time trains to and from London. However, these restrictions apply only to cyclists boarding or alighting in the area bounded by Hook, Alton, Guildford, Reading and Dorking, in order to maximise available passenger space on the most crowded trains.
In total, there are 14 mainline trains per hour departing London Waterloo in the off-peak; this number increases in the peak hours. The majority of mainline services are operated by Class 444 or Class 450 EMUs, except for the West of England Main Line which is always operated by Class 158 or Class 159 DMUs (because it is unelectrified) and the Alton Line which also sees the occasional use of Class 458 units.
South Western Railway also operates many suburban "Metro" services in an around London. These all run between London Waterloo and Clapham Junction, where they split into two separate routes: via Putney and via Wimbledon. All services on the suburban part of the network are operated by Class 450, Class 455, Class 456, Class 458 and Class 707 electric multiple units.
The main route via Putney is known as the Waterloo to Reading Line. It runs between London and Reading and passes through towns such as Staines-upon-Thames, Ascot and Bracknell. Branch lines on this route include:
A total of 12 trains per hour run between London Waterloo and Putney in the off-peak; this number increases in peak hours.
The main route via Wimbledon uses the slow tracks of the quadruple-track South Western Main Line. Suburban trains run along the mainline between London and Woking. Branch lines on this route include:
A total of 16 trains per hour run between London Waterloo and Wimbledon in the off-peak; this number increases in peak hours.
Details of each route, including maps and timetables, are on the South Western Railway official website (see External links below). As of January 2020, its routes off-peak Monday to Friday, with frequencies in trains per hour (tph), include:
|London Mainline routes (South Western Main Line)|
|London Waterloo to Basingstoke||2||Clapham Junction (1tph), Surbiton, Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge, Woking, Brookwood, Farnborough, Fleet, Winchfield, Hook||450|
|London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour via Winchester||1||Woking, Farnborough, Basingstoke, Micheldever, Winchester, Eastleigh, Hedge End, Botley, Fareham, Portchester, Cosham, Hilsea, Fratton, Portsmouth & Southsea||444,450|
|London Waterloo to Poole||1||Clapham Junction, Farnborough, Fleet, Basingstoke, Winchester, Shawford, Eastleigh, Southampton Airport Parkway, Southampton Central, Totton, Ashurst (New Forest), Beaulieu Road (limited service), Brockenhurst, Sway, New Milton, Hinton Admiral, Christchurch, Pokesdown, Bournemouth, Branksome, Parkstone, Poole||444|
|London Waterloo to Weymouth||1||Clapham Junction, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton Airport Parkway, Southampton Central, Brockenhurst, New Milton, Christchurch, Pokesdown, Bournemouth, Poole, Hamworthy, Holton Heath, Wareham, Wool, Moreton, Dorchester South, Upwey|
|1||Woking, Winchester, Southampton Airport Parkway, Southampton Central, Brockenhurst, Bournemouth, Branksome, Parkstone, Poole, Hamworthy, Wareham, Dorchester South|
|London Mainline routes (Portsmouth Direct Line)|
|London Waterloo to Haslemere||1||Clapham Junction, Woking, Guildford, Farncombe, Godalming, Milford, Witley||450|
|London Waterloo to Portsmouth & Southsea via Guildford||1||Clapham Junction, Woking, Worplesdon, Guildford, Farncombe, Godalming, Haslemere, Liphook, Liss, Petersfield, Rowlands Castle, Havant, Bedhampton, Hilsea, Fratton||442, 444, 450|
|London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour via Guildford||2||Woking, Guildford, Godalming, Haslemere, Petersfield, Havant, Fratton, Portsmouth & Southsea|
|London Mainline routes (West of England Main Line)|
|London Waterloo to Salisbury||1||Woking, Basingstoke, Overton, Whitchurch, Andover, Grateley||158, 159|
|London Waterloo to Exeter St Davids||1||Clapham Junction, Woking, Basingstoke, Andover, Salisbury, Tisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe, Sherborne, Yeovil Junction, Crewkerne, Axminster, Honiton, Feniton (1tp2h), Whimple (1tp2h), Cranbrook, Pinhoe, Exeter Central|
Feniton and Whimple are served by alternate trains.
|London Mainline routes (Alton Line)|
|London Waterloo to Alton||2||Clapham Junction (1tph), Surbiton, West Byfleet, Woking, Brookwood, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Farnham, Bentley (1tph)
Clapham Junction and Bentley are served by the same train.
|London Metro and Suburban routes (via Putney)|
|London Waterloo to Weybridge||2||Vauxhall, Queenstown Road, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Town, Putney, Barnes, Barnes Bridge, Chiswick, Kew Bridge, Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth, Hounslow, Feltham, Ashford, Staines, Egham, Virginia Water, Chertsey, Addlestone||455, 456, 458, 707|
|London Waterloo to London Waterloo via Hounslow (anticlockwise)||2||Vauxhall, Queenstown Road, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Town, Putney, Barnes, Barnes Bridge, Chiswick, Kew Bridge, Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth, Hounslow...|
Service continues back to London Waterloo via Richmond (see below).
|London Waterloo to London Waterloo via Hounslow (clockwise)||2||Vauxhall, Queenstown Road, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Town, Putney, Barnes, Mortlake, North Sheen, Richmond, St Margarets, Twickenham, Whitton, Hounslow...|
Service continues back to London Waterloo via Brentford (see above).
|London Waterloo to London Waterloo via Strawberry Hill (anticlockwise)||2||Vauxhall, Queenstown Road, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Town, Putney, Barnes, Mortlake, North Sheen, Richmond, St Margarets, Twickenham, Strawberry Hill...|
Service continues back to London Waterloo via Wimbledon (see below).
|London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside||2||Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Putney, Richmond, Twickenham, Whitton, Feltham, Ashford, Staines, Wraysbury, Sunnymeads, Datchet|
|London Waterloo to Reading||2||Clapham Junction, Richmond, Twickenham, Feltham, Staines, Egham, Virginia Water, Longcross (limited service), Sunningdale, Ascot, Martins Heron, Bracknell, Wokingham, Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle, Earley||450,458|
|London Metro and Suburban routes (via Wimbledon)|
|London Waterloo to Chessington South||2||Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, Motspur Park, Malden Manor, Tolworth, Chessington North||455, 456,|
|London Waterloo to Dorking||2||Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, Motspur Park, Worcester Park, Stoneleigh, Ewell West, Epsom, Ashtead, Leatherhead, Box Hill & Westhumble|
|London Waterloo to Guildford via Epsom||2||Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, Motspur Park, Worcester Park, Stoneleigh, Ewell West, Epsom, Ashtead, Leatherhead, Bookham, Effingham Junction, Horsley, Clandon, London Road|
|London Waterloo to Shepperton||2||Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, New Malden, Norbiton, Kingston, Hampton Wick, Teddington, Fulwell, Hampton, Kempton Park, Sunbury, Upper Halliford|
|London Waterloo to London Waterloo via Strawberry Hill (clockwise)||2||Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, New Malden, Norbiton, Kingston, Hampton Wick, Teddington, Strawberry Hill...
Service continues back to London Waterloo via Putney (see above).
|455, 456,458, 707|
|London Waterloo to Hampton Court||2||Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, New Malden, Berrylands, Surbiton, Thames Ditton||455, 456,|
|London Waterloo to Guildford via Claygate||2||Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Surbiton, Hinchley Wood, Claygate, Oxshott, Cobham & Stoke d'Abernon, Effingham Junction, Horsley, Clandon, London Road|
|London Waterloo to Woking||2||Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Surbiton, Esher, Hersham, Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge, Byfleet & New Haw, West Byfleet|
|Ascot to Aldershot||2||Bagshot, Camberley, Frimley, Ash Vale||450|
|Guildford to Farnham||2||Wanborough, Ash, Aldershot|
|Portsmouth & Southsea to Southampton Central||1||Fratton, Hilsea, Cosham, Portchester, Fareham, Swanwick, Bursledon, Hamble, Netley, Sholing, Woolston, Bitterne, St Denys|
|Romsey to Salisbury||1||Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Southampton Airport Parkway, Swaythling, St Denys, Southampton Central, Millbrook, Redbridge, Romsey, Mottisfont & Dunbridge, Dean||158|
|Brockenhurst to Lymington Pier||2||Lymington Town||450|
|Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin||2||Ryde Esplanade, Ryde St John's Road, Smallbrook Junction (limited service), Brading, Sandown, Lake||483|
Improvements promised under the 2017 contract were:
South Western Railway inherited a fleet of Class 158, Class 159, Class 444, Class 450, Class 455, Class 456, Class 458, Class 483 and Class 707s from South West Trains, and subsequently re-introduced Class 442 trains which had operated on Gatwick Express after earlier service with South West Trains.
|158/0 Express Sprinter||DMU||90||145||2||10||1989-92|
|159/0 & 159/1 South Western Turbo||DMU||90||145||3||30||West of England, Heart of Wessex and Wessex Main Lines:|
|442 Wessex Electrics||EMU||100||160||5||18||1987-89|
|450/0 & 450/5 Desiro||EMU||100||160||4||127||
Outer suburban routes:
|455/7, 455/8 & 455/9||EMU||75||120||4||91||Inner suburban routes:|
|456||EMU||75||120||2||24||Inner suburban services in conjunction with services operated by Class 455 units to make 10 coach trains.||1990-1|
|458/5 Juniper||EMU||75||120||5||36||Outer suburban services:|
|707 Desiro City||EMU||100||160||5||30||Outer suburban services:||2015-8|
|Isle of Wight|
|483||EMU||45||72.5||2||6||Ryde Pier Head – Shanklin|
The Class 455, 456, 458 and 707 fleets will be replaced by 90 Aventra five and ten carriage sets built by Bombardier's Derby Litchurch Lane Works, for use on Reading, Windsor and south west London services by December 2020. Five two car Class 484s are to replace the Class 483s on the Island Line from 2020. These will continue to be powered by electricity drawn from the third rail.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Carriages||Number||Routes operated||Enter Service|
|484 D-Train||EMU||60||100||2||5||Island Line||2020|
|701/0 & 701/5 Aventra||EMU||100||160||5||30||Reading, Windsor and South West London suburban services||2020|
Bournemouth depot is southwest of Bournemouth station, occupying the approach to the former Bournemouth West station. Until their withdrawal in February 2007, the depot was home to the Class 442 (5Wes) Wessex Electrics. The branch turns off at Branksome station where trains can be seen stopping at platform 2 and reversing into the depot.
Clapham Junction depot provides stabling for the Desiro fleet.
Northam depot was built by Siemens in 2002 as the home depot for the Desiro fleet as part of a 20-year maintenance contract. It is located south of St Denys station and is near Southampton Football Club's St Mary's Stadium.
Salisbury depot provides servicing for the South Western Railway diesel fleet.
Strawberry Hill train maintenance depot in South West London, was built in 1897, is inside the triangular junction of the Shepperton Branch Line with the Kingston Loop Line, just yards from Strawberry Hill railway station.
Fratton Traincare depot is in central Portsea Island, alongside Fratton station. It has a carriage washer and is the fuelling point for the 158s and 159s. The depot has a train shed with two pitted roads for maintenance of rolling stock. Class 444 and 450 units berth overnight. Stabling sidings and bay platforms at Portsmouth & Southsea station are co-ordinated from the depot.
Farnham depot, in Weydon Lane, was opened by the Southern Railway at the time of the electrification of the Portsmouth and Alton lines in 1937. It was refurbished for the introduction of modern units when slam-door trains were replaced circa 2005. At the same time, disused quarry and ballast dump sidings behind the carriage shed were removed and a number of outdoor sidings were laid for overnight storage and servicing of units.
Basingstoke Barton Mill carriage servicing depot is located east of Basingstoke station.