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Wednesday 06 November, 2002

Strategic Rail Auth

SRA Announces SWT

Strategic Rail Authority
06 November 2002

                   SRA Announces New Approach for South West Trains

The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) today announced a way forward to 2007 for the
South West Trains franchise.  This involves a one-year extension to February
2004 and agreement of key principles with Stagecoach Group for a new franchise
extending beyond then to 2007.

The extension ensures the introduction of new trains and extra services. The
agreement focuses strongly on performance and includes:

•  Replacement of Mark 1 (slam door) trains

•  The details of a new performance plan

•  Introduction of additional Sunday and evening services

•  Completion of design studies for extending suburban platforms to increase 

SRA Chairman, Richard Bowker, says:

'This agreement enables South West Trains to focus on what matters to passengers
- recovering performance to a level that passengers deserve and expect, and the
replacement of slam-door trains with the biggest new train order in the UK. 
Taken together these will help to deliver a better, more reliable service for
its passengers, which is the ultimate goal for any train operating company.'

Notes to Editors

1. The SRA and Stagecoach Holdings plc signed Heads of Terms for a 20-year
franchise in March 2001.  The SRA today confirmed that the competition for this
long-term franchise was at an end.

2. The one-year extension to the current SWT franchise will expire in
February 2004.  The SRA and Stagecoach Group have agreed main principles for a
three year franchise to run from February 2004 to February 2007.

3. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requires all slam-door Mark 1 trains
to be withdrawn by the end of 2004. More than half of South West Train's fleet
must be replaced.  In April 2001 Stagecoach agreed Britain's biggest rolling
stock deal to acquire 785 Siemens Desiro carriages.

4. The SRA today announced plans for all domestic services into Waterloo to be
operated by SWT as part of its objective of having a single operator at each
major London terminal.

5. Stagecoach Holdings plc operates the existing South West Trains franchise,
serving a mixture of long and short distance journeys, with a high percentage of
commuters.  Services run from Waterloo via Greater London's southwest suburbs to
Woking, Basingstoke, Guildford, Weymouth, Portsmouth, Reading and Exeter.

     Media Enquiries: SRA Press Office 020 7654 6339/6387/6234

                      This information is provided by RNS
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