Political Parties Unite Against South West Trains

Strongly worded letter demands improvement in local services

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Political Parties Unite Against South West Trains

Letter from London Assembly Members of South West Trains Boss

Longer trains in service before the end of 2013

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The main political parties in the London Assembly have come together to write a strongly worded letter to the Managing Director of South West Trains about overcrowding in the Putney, Wandsworth and Wimbledon areas.

Co-signed by Boris Johnson, Valerie Shawcross for Labour, Daniel Johnson for the Greens, Caroline Pidgeon for the Liberal Democrats and Conservative Assembly Member Richard Tracey the letter informs the train company boss, Tim Shoveller of their concerns about 'ongoing overcrowding on commuter services'.

Commuters in Chiswick have also complained that there are more people standing in the mornings on SWT despite the longer carriages.

Mr. Shoveller is told that the signatories are all recipients of letters from their constituents complaining about the service in the area particularly that in the morning rush hour a train arriving at stations in the area are often too full to board. The problem is causing ‘significant distress’ to passengers and is said to date back several years.

Despite being identified as a ‘pinch-point’ in a 2009 report on the capital’s rail network and significant investment since that time, there has been little evidence of an improved service in South West London according to the letter.

A South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance spokesperson said, "there is no overnight solution and we share our passengers' frustration. Improving reliability, boosting capacity and catching up on years of under investment all while carrying over half a million passengers every day is no easy or quick fix and we know much more needs to be done. We have been working with the government, which decides on new train investments, to develop plans to cope with future growth."

The letter acknowledges that platform lengths at Waterloo are limiting the amount of longer trains that can be used at peak periods and this situation will be improved from 2017 but South West Trains are asked what plans they have to improve passenger experience in the meantime.

Richard Tracey AM said, "We hope this coordinated effort by the Mayor and London Assembly leaders will produce results for long suffering commuters"

The train company's spokesperson added, "We have already started the biggest investment seen on this route for decades, including new trains and major improvements to stations. More than 100 additional refurbished carriages are coming into service to allow us to run longer trains in the immediate future, boosting capacity for passengers on some of our busiest routes. Platforms have already been lengthened at more than 60 stations to accommodate these longer trains."

The letter also criticised South West Trains for their failure to communicate properly with residents and government agencies.

February 9, 2015