Richmond Council has welcomed the Government announcement of a new overground train provider, along with their commitment to provide more space, more services and faster journeys.
The Government announced that First MTR South Western Trains Limited has been awarded the South Western franchise which will run for seven years from 20th August 2017.
The company will use the experience of one of its major shareholders MTR, who operate the busy Hong Kong metro, to deliver what they claim will be “smooth and rapid journeys for passengers travelling around London’s suburban network”.
Cllr Peter Buckwell, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Transport, welcomes the new operator. However, has said he will be asking for an urgent meeting to discuss how their vast list of proposed improvements will benefit Richmond upon Thames, and when.
In the announcement, First MTR South Western promised additional seats from Waterloo at peak times, new trains with more space for passengers and improved facilities, faster trains through the borough to Reading and Hounslow, earlier first and later last trains between London and Twickenham and more Sunday services.
Cllr Buckwell, said:
“Of course I welcome this announcement. And, know that MTR does have a very good reputation in Hong Kong for their services.
“I would now like to meet with the company to find out what their modernisation programme looks like for local commuters and stations in this borough. Not only improving trains, but also discuss how stations themselves can be improved.
“They are promising real change for passengers, modern trains, faster journeys and a more reliable service. As they deliver their proposed improvement programme, I look forward to working with them closely to ensure that residents in our borough benefit from any changes.”