AFTER 21 years running the South West Trains franchise, the end of its tenure came at 02.00 on August 20.
SWT ran the first franchised train on February 4, 1996, from Twickenham to Waterloo, and held a grip on the franchise for more than two decades.
Taking over is a joint venture between First Group and Hong Kong-based MTR, with First owning 70% of the operating company.
South West Trains becomes South Western Railway, with SWT trains being given vinyl stickers externally.
SWR is headed by managing director Andrew Mellors.
A formal launch was delayed until early September because of upgrade work at Waterloo.
New train liveries are in the pipeline, but SWR has already announced a new fleet of 90 five- and 10-car EMUs that will be built by Bombardier on the ‘Aventra’ platform in Derby.
The Siemens Class 707 fleet, which entered service with SWT right at the end of that franchise (see p82), will remain with SWR until 2019.
Read more in the September issue of The RM – on sale now!