An additional 17 new four-carriage trains for the south west trains fleet were announced by DfT today.

The new trains will provide over 4,500 extra seats for passengers on the busy Basingstoke, Alton and Reading routes to London Waterloo. The trains will be procured from Siemens and owned and leased by Angel Trains to the South Western franchisee.

The deal will enable South West Trains to run more 12-carriage 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 the year. They will be used by South West Trains and the new operator of the South Western Franchise when it commences on 04 February 2007.

Rail Minister Derek Twigg said:

"This is good news for passengers in the south west. The new trains will ease overcrowding on busy routes and boost reliability. Record numbers of people are travelling by train and these extra new trains will allow us to support future growth.

"We want to build on recent improvements to services in the south west, including £750m investment in rolling stock, a new timetable that has better matched services to demand and over 90% of trains on time since September 2005."

Stewart Palmer, managing director of South West Trains said:

"We are delighted that the Department for Transport has recognised the need to introduce more trains for the ever-growing number of passengers travelling on our busy network. These will provide a vitally needed extra 4500 peak seats."

Haydn Abbot, managing director of Angel Trains added:

"Including this new purchase, Angel Trains has now invested nearly £2.8 billion in new trains in the UK since privatisation. We're proud to be helping to improve the quality and reliability of train rolling stock and offering greater benefits to passengers."