SOUTH WESTERN Railway has begun consultation on its detailed timetable proposals for December 2018.
The new timetable takes advantage of the increased length of suburban platforms and the introduction of regular services into the former international terminal, following the planned completion of work by Network Rail next year. It has also been designed to prepare for the introduction of SWR’s new Class 701 Aventra EMUs, starting later in 2019, while SWR plans to have 18 re-tractioned Class 442 EMUs ready to work on the Portsmouth line, enabling a cascade of released units to other routes.
Seventeen additional morning peak services into Waterloo and 19 additional evening peak services will be provided, with SWR saying there will be an overall increase in peak capacity of 27%. Additional early morning and late evening trains and an enhanced Sunday service on many routes also feature in the proposals, although engineering work in the Waterloo area on Sunday mornings limits the scope of this on a number of routes. A trade-off of providing additional services has been a reduction in the number of peak trains on the fast lines calling at Clapham Junction.
On the Portsmouth line, the current Waterloo to Haslemere service is extended to Portsmouth, providing four trains per hour (tph) throughout, while at peak hours there will be 6tph between Waterloo and Haslemere. Calls at Godalming are increased to 4tph and at Liphook to 2tph, and fast services will operate all day with 10-car Class 442s with 2+2 seating.
A significant change is that the Weymouth to Waterloo service reduces to 1tph, with SWR saying a faster service will cut journey times; the current second hourly service to Weymouth is cut back to Poole. Upwey, Moreton, Holton Heath, Hamworthy, Hinton Admiral, Sway, Beaulieu Road, Ashurst (New Forest) and Totton will lose their regular through service to Waterloo, and will instead be served by a new Portsmouth to Weymouth service, an extension of the current Portsmouth to Southampton stopping service. Apart from Beaulieu Road and Holton Heath, all these stations will retain a limited peak service to Waterloo. In addition to the extension of the Portsmouth to Southampton service to Weymouth, an additional hourly fast service will run between Portsmouth and Southampton, spaced with the existing GWR fast service.
On the West of England line, SWR says reduced journey times and extended services are the key benefits. A headline journey time from Salisbury to Waterloo of 74 minutes is provided by the 06.44 from Exeter, which runs non-stop from Andover. Experimental services to Yeovil Pen Mill continue, either as shuttles to Yeovil Junction or through services from London.
The Windsor lines will see an increase from 12tph to 16tph off-peak, with 4tph running to both Reading and Windsor (up from 2tph today), while the peak frequency will rise from 16tph to 18tph; two of the Windsor services will run semi-fast via the Hounslow loop. The Waterloo to Weybridge service is split, with a 2tph Virginia Water to Weybridge shuttle service connecting with Reading to Waterloo services. A reduction in calls at Queenstown Road is proposed to 4tph, while in anticipation of introduction of the ‘701s’, first class is to be withdrawn from the start of the timetable, and will be declassified where present on the existing stock.
The Guildford – Aldershot – Ascot service has been split into Guildford to Farnham and Aldershot to Ascot services, with SWR saying Guildford to Farnham is the flow with the highest volumes which does not presently have a direct connection.
The main benefit on suburban services via Wimbledon will come with introduction of 10-car trains, but earlier benefits include an additional fast Guildford via Cobham service in both the morning and evening peaks and an additional morning peak and five additional evening peak services to Kingston; in the evening the Waterloo to Woking stopping services will run fast to Surbiton to make space for these extra workings.
Consultation on the proposed changes runs until 22 December.