RAIL passengers have been given a boost after a wave of improvements to the train network were announced.
In the next 12 months more than 100 extra carriages will be added to trains running to and from London Waterloo as part of a £120m scheme funded by the Department for Transport, South West Trains and Network Rail.
The investment will lead to 23,000 extra peak-time passengers travelling each day.
The 7.29am Portsmouth Harbour to London Waterloo train will go from five to 10 carriages and the 5.09pm one going back via Eastleigh will go from five to eight carriages.
The 5.39pm London Waterloo to Portsmouth via Eastleigh will go from eight to 10 carriages.
Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the changes were good news. ‘I use trains all the time and I never take the car to London,’ he said.
‘This is good news, not just for us but for everyone down the line.
‘Though this is long overdue, I’m now hoping old commuter trains will be replaced with long distance ones. They’re much more comfortable.’
Commuters have long campaigned about the conditions aboard trains to London, and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has supported them. Next year the 6.50am from Portsmouth Harbour to London Waterloo via Eastleigh will go from an eight to a 12 carriage train.
Network Rail said the plans were necessary because trains were nearly at capacity and feared commuters would soon be opted to use congested roads instead.
As previously reported in The News, £25m has already been set aside to improve signalling equipment on the Portsmouth to London Waterloo rail route.
A spokeswoman for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance said: ‘We operate one of the busiest commuter networks in Europe and carry over 200 million passengers a year. We are committed to providing extra capacity on some of our busiest services into and out of London Waterloo.
‘We are pleased to be able to deliver some improvements for passengers in Portsmouth as part of this multi-million pound capacity improvement programme.’