|Since before we started the South Western Railway franchise, we have been preparing for a major timetable change in December 2018 to provide customers with access to additional services and extra capacity throughout the day.
We are therefore disappointed that we will not be implementing any changes to the December 2018 timetable and instead rolling over the May 2018 timetable. Preparations to deliver the extra services, capacity improvements and reduced journey times started well before we took over the SWR franchise and will continue as we are determined to deliver what our customers and stakeholders expect.
We are mindful of the disruption to customers that happened with other major timetable changes elsewhere in May 2018 and despite SWR’s desire to deliver the increased capacity and extra services as soon as possible to customers, it has been decided at a national level that a period of stability is needed.
Even without timetable changes in December 2018, we are preparing to deliver additional capacity for the benefit of customers and, over the coming weeks, will be seeking to confirm plans as to how the 90 additional Class 442 vehicles which are presently being refurbished, can be progressively introduced into service in the existing timetable to allow other trains to be cascaded elsewhere on our network. As part of the refurbishment of the Class 444/450 fleets, we will also be delivering an increase in standard class seating capacity through internal reconfiguration of these vehicles which will progressively increase capacity through to Spring 2019.
We will continue to work with Network Rail, the Department for Transport and insight from customers and stakeholders to implement the changes to our future timetables and ensure maximum benefit with minimal disruption to our customers.