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South West Trains to gain a further 17 Class 450s

450091 and 450084 emerge simultaneously from Clapham Yard 450091 and 450084 emerge simultaneously from Clapham Yard

photograph by Colin Duff

An additional 17 new Class 450 units for the South Western fleet have been ordered by the Department for Transport at a cost of around 70 million (including spares). The new trains will provide over 4,500 extra seats for passengers on Basingstoke, Alton and Reading services. The trains will be procured from Siemens, then owned and leased by to the incumbent South Western franchisee. This will enable to run more 12 car trains at peak times to increase capacity on busy commuter routes. The extra trains will help boost service reliability and performance by improving boarding times at stations along these routes. Most of the new trains will be in service by the end of 2006. They will be commissioned at Bournemouth T&RSMD.

Ten of this batch of units are now in the country and eight are in service. However, ' new business plan consequent upon them retaining the franchise will see these additional units also facilitating a cost-cutting fleet cascade resulting in the lease on class 442 units not being renewed.