Campaigners for better rail services are expecting improvements on the Alton to London Waterloo line following South Western Railway’s announcement that new trains are on the way.
Within two years the four classes of train used on its suburban network – which on various lines stretches as far as Farnham, Bentley and Alton, Godalming and Milford, Windsor and Eton Riverside, Reading, Farnborough and Dorking – will be replaced by 90 Class 701 Arterio trains.
They have free wi-fi, a charging point at every seat, real- time travel information, air conditioning, environmentally-friendly toilets and a system to send electricity back into the live rail during braking.
The Wessex branch of Railfuture, which covers the Alton line, said: “When the new trains are introduced we shall be looking for timetable changes which shorten journey times, such as Alton to London Waterloo.
“The new trains were supposed to be introduced in 2020 but has been delayed.
“As they are replacing rolling stock which South Western Railway is giving up, this is clearly causing problems with trains being overcrowded as there are not enough carriages.
“Railfuture Wessex branch members have noticed some Class 450 trains in the Wessex branch area are getting overcrowded as they are running with fewer carriages, presumably because some of the carriages are diverted to South Western Railway metro services which were supposed to be operated by now with the new Arterios.
“South Western Railway have said they plan to start bringing in the new trains but they acknowledge they will have to run some short-formed trains until the Arterios come into service later this year.
“Clearly it is in the interest of rail passengers on the South Western Railway network that the new Class 701 Arterio trains are brought into service as soon as possible.”