Welcome to the First MTR
South Western site for employees

Roadshows – from 9am until 5pm each day

Starting on Thursday (22nd June) and carrying on over the next few weeks we’ll be at locations across the south west network. These full day events from 9-5 will give you the opportunity to come by, grab a coffee and ask any questions that you may have about South Western Railway. We’ll be running presentations across the day outlining our proposals with a session afterwards where you will be able to ask questions about the new franchise. We appreciate this will be in your own time so we’ll be serving bacon rolls for the 11am presentation and sandwiches for any 1pm presentations.

If you can’t make the times of the presentations (outlined below by location), you can still come along at any time between 9am and 5pm to have a chat over some refreshments. We’ve tried to get locations as close to stations and depots as we could. Where this hasn’t been possible, we’ll arrange transport to get to the venue. We look forward to seeing you there.

Details of the roadshow are as follows:


Welcome to the First MTR South Western site for South West Trains employees. Over the next four months, we will be working with colleagues from Stagecoach to keep you updated on plans for the coming franchise. This site will act as an overview of our plans. As new information becomes available, we will update the site.

As with all new franchises, there will be some changes which will focus on providing our customers with the best service possible. We are building on the solid foundations of the existing franchise, so we do not propose to start everything from scratch. We do however want to understand what people think will work best. Alongside the information on our plans, you will see we have provided a series of Frequently Asked Questions and responses. These come from our shared experience of starting and ending franchises. If you have any suggestions for further questions you would like to see added to this site, please find the contact details at the bottom of the page.

At this stage we are not able to post responses to questions about changes to people’s roles and responsibilities as the aim of this site at this stage is to share general information about the new franchise rather than consult on specific changes.

We’ll be investing £1.2bn over the course of the franchise to raise the quality of every aspect of train journeys on the South Western network. A key part of this investment will be investing in our people.

Our aim is to increase our customers’ opportunity to travel with us. We will introduce new, more spacious carriages as well as refurbishing existing trains, delivering more seats at peak times during the day. We will introduce additional and faster journey times across the network with simplified fares as well as mobile and smart ticketing.

There’ll be a number of opportunities for employees working in the new franchise. We invest in our people, offering training and development across the business at all levels, giving you the opportunity to increase your skills and progress your career with us. We’ll introduce a staff app, making sure you have the information you need when you need it, where you need it. We’ve budgeted for improving staff accommodation and we hope to hear your idea on where this can be best invested. Once the new franchise is underway, we’ll get your feedback on what works best for you in terms of uniform. You’ll also receive the benefits enjoyed by other FirstGroup and MTR colleagues.

We look forward to working with you, sharing our ideas and building on your achievements.

Steve Montgomery (Managing Director, First Rail)

Jeremy Long (CEO – European Business at MTR)


Better trains

  • We will introduce brand new trains to the network, and will fully refurbish trains to the London-Portsmouth route to an as-new standard
  • We will significantly increase capacity
  • Comfortable 2 plus 2 seating on all Portsmouth fast trains to London by December 2018
  • Average age of the entire fleet reduced by almost half by December 2020
spacious new state-of-the-art train carriages to cover all of the Windsor, Reading and London Suburban routes by December 2020
more peak seats for our customers than today’s trains
more seats a day across peak times at London Waterloo by December 2020

Faster journeys

Mainline journey times will be reduced, with upto:

minute reduction in Weymouth-London and Poole-London journey times
minute reduction in Bournemouth-London journey times
minute reduction in Southampton Central-London journey times
minute reduction in journey times on fast trains from Portsmouth and 7 minute reduction on slower trains

We’re introducing more (and more frequent) services:

  • 400 more services on Sunday afternoons from 2018
  • Double the number of trains each hour to Reading and Windsor (from 2 to 4)
  • Reading will see 2 semi-fast and 2 stopping services every hour and Windsor will receive 2 extra semi-fast services via Hounslow
  • We will improve late evening frequencies and later last trains across the network

We’re making sure the South Coast is better connected, with:

  • 4 trains an hour between London and Portsmouth
  • Direct service along the South Coast connecting communities from Portsmouth to Weymouth
  • Second hourly semi-fast South Western Railway service between Portsmouth and Southampton

Delivering a better travel experience

We’re committed to making life better for our customers by providing:

  • Free Wi-Fi on-board mainland trains and at stations – with 5 times more bandwidth than today
  • Charging points on all trains by December 2020
  • 1,500 new car parking spaces across the network
  • 60 Electric Vehicle charging points at stations
  • Free infotainment on all mainland fleet
  • Toilets on all mainland trains
  • Live updates to passenger information screens on our mainland trains by December 2020

Delay Repay

We’ll also be bringing in Delay Repay for the first time, making it simple and easy for our customers to claim for late trains, with a fully automated process for those who buy season and advance tickets directly from us on smartcards.

A new app

We’re developing a new app for our customers making journeys smoother by highlighting less busy trains and carriages, so passengers know where on the platform to board.

Staffed stations

Making sure our stations are staffed from 06:00 to midnight on weekdays and Saturdays, at stations within the London Travel Card area with automatic ticket gates.

Simpler ticketing

We’ll make ticketing easier than ever by offering:

  • Mobile phone barcode tickets – available on the network for the first time, covering a wide range of journeys
  • A smartcard scheme across the franchise including pay-as-you-go functionality
  • Flexible season tickets
  • Discounts for 16 to 18 year-olds for the first time
  • Advance Purchase fares available to and from more destinations
  • New smartcards to use across the franchise
  • Easier to use ticket machines for customers

Investing in our people and the community

Development opportunities

Available across the business for staff to increase their skills

Employee representation

At board level, and staff champions to give employees a focal point to give their views and feedback


We plan to introduce the biggest rail operator apprenticeship scheme in Britain

Better technology

Wider roll out of smart devices for all customer facing staff

Living Wage

We’ll pay all our employees at least the Living Wage Foundation’s living wage

Reducing ticketless travel

We’ll install new gatelines at a number of stations and increase the operating hours at a number of locations

Helping the community

We work with the Prince’s Trust supporting disadvantaged young people on the network, and we’ll launch a £2.6m annual fund for community projects across the franchise from April 20

Staff accommodation

We’re investing in staff accommodation at various locations

Investors in People

We want to achieve Investors in People Gold status by 2022 (as achieved at other FirstGroup rail companies)

Staff app

To give employees up to the minute information on the network and the goings on around the business


We want to create a diverse workforce throughout the business

Excellent Staff benefits

Discounts at high street and online retailers and buy as you earn and save as you earn options etc.


First Group