20/08/2017

Picture Archive Post 62

South West Trains 458005, Brentford, 11/06/14
South West Trains 458005, Brentford, 11/06/14
(© Aubrey)

458005 heads a service to Reading diverted via the Hounslow Loop, seen at Brentford in this photo. Unit 458005 was introduced in 2000, entering service on 25th February 2000, running services to Alton. The class was intended to run on Waterloo-Reading/Alton and Ascot-Guildford services. Due to the problematic issues with the 458s, this unit was prepared to return to Porterbrook, the leasing company in 2006 after numerous extensions to service. These problems included, but were not limited to unit end gangways, software, air conditioning and other physical workings of the trains.
Re-introduced in early 2007, this unit since ran with DDA compliant modifications. The Class 458s were then confined to the Waterloo-Reading service, running 8 car services. This was until 2013-2015, when these units were to be lengthened to 5 car using ex-Gatwick Express Class 460s. New unit end corridors based on the Desiro corridors were also fitted, albeit can only be used on the Class 444/450 in emergencies along with Dellner couplers. After conversion, these units ran on Waterloo-Windsor/Weybridge via Hounslow/Hounslow Loop services, with Class 450s replacing those on Reading services. This allowed services to be increased to 10 car maximum. This unit now runs as 458505.
The initial plan was for Class 707s to replace these Class 458/5s on their current services, returning the 458/5s to the Waterloo-Reading services. However, with the First-MTR takeover, these units, along with all electric non-Desiro units, will be replaced by new Aventras.

It has been 21 years since South West Trains (Stagecoach) started running across the South West of London and England. As one of the first rail franchises to be tendered and privatised, this set a new precedent for the future. With the exception of the Island Line being added onto the franchise in 2007, there has been no operational change on the South Western franchise.
Stagecoach had invested in replacing all slam door units, and the first foray into the replacement for that was the Class 458, a very troublesome set of units built by Alstom in Washwood Heath, Birmingham. Later on came the Siemens Desiros (Class 450 and 444), which provided the rest of the slam-door replacement. Class 460s off Gatwick Express (replaced ironically by Class 442s off SWT) were used to lengthen the Class 458s to 5 coaches per unit, and were reclassified into Class 458/5s.  Class 456s came from Southern to lengthen services to 10 car and provide extra peak hour services in 2014. Finally, the last trains that SWT introduced in their franchise was the Class 707 Desiro City, introduced with limited service on Thursday 17th August 2017 just so they have entered service under SWT.

The last service for South West Trains ran in the early hours of the 20th August 2017, with the 0142 Waterloo-Surbiton service formed of 455702 and 455705. Running via East Putney, this service arrived as the last service at 0218 at Surbiton.

The Last SWT Service
The last SWT service at Surbiton, 455702/455705
(© Aubrey)

The Last SWT Service
**Last Ever SWT**
(© Aubrey)

From 20th August 2017, First-MTR operate the South Western franchise as South Western Railway.

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