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South West Trains
Member Name: ANDREWSJK
South West Trains
Date: 21/01/02, updated on 11/02/02 (368 review reads)
Advantages: Pretty coloured trains!!, Meet lots of people !!!, They go fast.
Disadvantages: No seats on way home., Can't see in the dark., Don't have a bookshop.
Here I am again doing yet another serious op for you, full of information and overflowing with detail. But first I must tell you that my daughter, Kiedis has joined Dooyoo so watch out for more of the same !!! Also I went with harmonyk to Greenwich Market at the weekend, and what a jolly day it was. Also I am privileged to exclusively reveal that Tony Blair is no relation to Lionel Blair, even though the fancy footwork is similar.
Right, enough news, on with the facts, or my impression of South West Trains. Well....... Eeerrrr....they have a web site, www.swtrains.co.uk, where you can go for details of all their routes and prices !!! Perhaps you might have needed to know that ??
South West Trains is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach Group. Now this in itself is interesting because I spent several years of my life commuting to London from Northants on a Stagecoach coach, and today I'm commuting to London from Southampton on a Stagecoach train, wow !!!
South West Trains run 1,690 trains every weekday, serving 217 stations and employing about 4,500 staff, fancy having to make up the pay packets for that many ... "£10 for you, and £5 for you".., you'd need a mountain of cash !!! Come to think of it, you'd need a lot of trains !!!
London Waterloo is the hub of the network, also housing London Underground as well as Waterloo International terminal for Eurostar services to Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel. The Eurostar Terminal is very fascinating to watch, as it Clapham Junction station, a massive area of rail and platforms, said to be the busiest station in Europe. However I diverge from the subject, very unusual for me....
South West Trains cover Hampshire, Surrey, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Devon, Somerset, Cornwall, East and West Sussex and Greater London, in short a b... huge area !!! 132 million passenger journeys a year are made (I counted them, lol !!!). The franchise was taken
on in 1996. And since then a total of 12,000 additional peak seats have been added. It would have been useful if they were in trains !!! (rofl !!!). I digress, the number of trains run by South West Trains has also increased by 155 trains each weekday, and 969 trains per week in total. What do you mean "Have I counted those as well ??" Of course, as it equates to a 20% rise since franchising, and my ops are always crammed with facts.
Island Line is also a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach Group and operated train services on the Isle of Wight.
Why am I telling you all this, well as you know I've recently moved to Southampton, and although it was great fun taking the Bluesmobile to work on the M3, all the other drivers didn't think so !!! Also it is extremely dear, and would have required a new car every 2 years, covering 160 miles a day just for commuting. I looked at National Express Coaches, they are white !!! Oh, and also reasonably slow, and not particularly cheap. So I looked at South West Trains, they are red and orange. Well, I enquired about an annual season ticket, from Southampton to London, £3,284 per year, not bad all things considered.
The season ticket is in the form of a Gold Card, the benefits of which are :-
1. 1/3 discount on off peak travel for me and up to three other adults.
2. If I had that many, up to 4 children could travel with me off-peak for £1.
3. Harmonyk has paid an additional £1, and has got a card offering similar benefits.
4. I can upgrade to First Class at weekends and Bank Holidays for £3.
5. I will be issued with 6 tickets during the year entitling me to free travel at weekends on any of South West Train services, Cornwall here we come !!!
6. I am anxiously awaiting my free quarterly newsletter, containing news, views and information.
7. There is a dedicated Gold Service helpline to answer my questions. Has anyone GOT a question, so I can make use o
f this service ???
8. I can also renew my ticket by phone, post or fax .
Right, how am I finding the service, well I walk down my road, turn left for 50 metres then.... No really, my service runs from Poole, through Bournemouth and parts of the New Forest and I join it just outside Southampton, then there are stops at Southampton Central, Southampton Airport. Eastleigh and Winchester before going fast for the last 65 miles to London. The morning train is at 6.36 a.m, arriving at Waterloo at 8.01 a.m, and the evening train is at 5.15 p.m, arriving in Southampton at 6.40 p.m. There are ten carriages on the train including first class, two restaurant carriages, toilets and telephone booths.
The seating is comfortable, and there are tables available, but seats on the return journey are at a premium, often requiring one to stand which is a draw back. Also the evening train splits at Southampton, half the train going to Weymouth and the other half to Poole, so one must be in the right carriage !!! That's what I'll tell harmonyk when I've had one too many !!! So far the service has been 100% reliable, and if in the right carriage the other passengers are very friendly, though at the moment I'm catching up on some reading, in future I might need a lap top computer to work with !!
Another drawback, it's pretty dark at 6.30 a.m, so all the lighting needs to work on the platform, and one can't see all the cruise ships in port !! Art1954 would like it as some say there's.... oh, I'll tell you another day.
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