Longer Trains to Serve Hounslow Loop

Ten-ten car services to increase capacity at local stations

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South West Trains have introduced new longer trains on lines through local stations this week which they say will substantially increase capacity on local services in Chiswick and Brentford.

The first ten-car train travelled from London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside through Putney on Monday, 10th March, initially with two five-car units running in fixed formation. The longer trains are expected to serve stations on the Hounslow Loop including Brentford, Chiswick, Kew Bridge and Syon Lane later this year.

There are a total of 36 x 5 car Class 458/5 units being introduced to enable 10-car trains to run at peak times on the route from Waterloo to Windsor, Waterloo to Weybridge and on the Hounslow Loop. This week has seen the introduction of two of these 5 car trains and the rest will be rolled out over the coming year.

The 10-car trains will be able to stop at all trains on the Hounslow Loop. Every station on the loop has had the platforms lengthened with the exception of Syon Lane, Hounslow and Isleworth, where South West Trains say they have special arrangements in place that will see selected doors opening on the 10-car trains - this is a common arrangement in place at many other stations across the UK.

The ‘new’ trains are in fact about fifteen years old, but have been fully refurbished and look brand new inside. There will be 36 new five-car units, 180 coaches in all, formed out of the 30 four-car units [120 coaches] currently providing the Reading services, and the 8 eight-car units [60 coaches used, and 4 eventually scrapped] which used to provide the Gatwick Express services.

The refurbishment programme is being spread over a number of months, so that there are not too many units out of service at any one time. The first two units in service this week consist entirely of former Gatwick Express stock.

The new trains can be identified from the front by the substantially larger quantity of yellow paint than existing trains. Unlike the existing blue-coloured trains, they do not ‘screech’ as they start and stop, and they do not contain any first-class seating. Inevitably there will be the odd teething problem upon introduction into service, and one coach was experiencing door problems for the first couple of days; a technical assistant was travelling on the train to assist with such problems.

Adapted from article by James Dixon originally published on PutneySW15.com

March 14, 2014