First MTR awarded Southern Western train franchise

First MTR South Western Trains Limited has been awarded the South Eastern Franchise following a consultation.

The consultation explained the government’s aim to bring together the operation of track and train so that one team of people is focussed on providing the best service to passengers.

MTR will run the franchise for seven years from 20 August this year.

This is the first franchise awarded since the Secretary of State set out his vision for the future of the railways in a speech on 6 December 2016.

It marks a new era in joined up working between train operators and Network Rail.

First MTR South Western Trains Limited will use the experience of one of its shareholders MTR, who operate the busy Hong Kong metro, to deliver smooth and rapid journeys for passengers travelling around London’s suburban network.

MTR will oversee a £1.2 billion investment that will aim to improve journeys for millions of train passengers.

The next franchise will see 22,000 extra seats in London Waterloo each morning, a fleet of 90 new trains, more frequent services and faster journeys.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Following on from our announcement on the start of the South Eastern Franchise consultation, this deal is more great news for rail passengers.

“First MTR South Western Trains Limited will deliver the improvements that people tell us they want right across the South Western franchise area, from Bristol and Exeter, to Southampton and Portsmouth, to Reading, Windsor and London.

“We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century and this franchise will deliver real changes for passengers, who can look forward to modern trains, faster journeys and a more reliable service.”

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