Station makeovers across the south
South West Trains began running one of the busiest parts of the rail network in 1996, stretching from London Waterloo to Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset and further into the West Country. That meant taking responsibility for 186 stations across the network, of all shapes and sizes, many dating from the 1830s.
From regular maintenance to major upgrades and new innovations, passengers want safe, smart stations, accessible to all different users, with up‐to‐date information on screen and good protection from the elements. Until 2017, when the franchise moved from Stagecoach to First Group, South West Trains had installed CCTV in all 186 stations, with 406 help points to give passengers peace of mind. Six stations were rebuilt, two new stations were built, and 16 station forecourts were redeveloped. Adding over 4000 new car park spaces and over 8000 new cycle spaces has transformed how passengers get to their trains.
For some of the bigger refurbishments, South West Trains worked in partnership with Network Rail and local authorities to plan and fund the improvements.
A great example of honouring the railway’s past while preparing it for the future was the £3million investment in Southampton Central, bringing an art deco station building back to life. Along with a brand new forecourt, this gave the port city a much improved entry point for visitors, and brand new catering and waiting facilities.
Wokingham station also saw a major investment in 2013, responding to the boom in passenger numbers over the past two decades. Replacing a small 1970’s concrete building with a larger, brighter modern building has transformed the passengers’ experience. The new station included a new ticket office and new ticket machines, a café and waiting room, and step‐free access to all platforms.
Train companies are improving stations across the country, with a commitment to creating vibrant, attractive stations at the heart of their communities. In the next two years alone, more than £78million is being spent on refurbishing 178 stations, and stations with step‐free access have increased from 450 to 560 over the last five years. Investing in stations is central to train companies commitment to raise customer satisfaction, and so remain the top‐rated major railway in Europe.