The first two Class 707 EMUs have entered passenger service on the Windsor routes – a few days before the franchise is handed over to First/MTR.
Thirty five-car Desiro City trains will be deployed in total by the end of the year. However, they will only be in service for a limited time.
A fleet of 90 Aventra EMUs from Bombardier ordered by the new operator will replace the Class 707s, which will be stabled and maintained at the Wimbledon Traincare Depot, from the middle of 2019.
The Class 707 carriages feature a combination of 2+2 and 2+1 seating and represent a 15 per cent and 31 per cent increase on the capacity of the five-car Class 458/5s and four-car Class 455s respectively.
First/MTR takes over from Stagecoach as the operator of the South West main line route at 01.59 on August 20.
Stagecoach has issued a thank you to its staff for all their hard work over the 21 years the company has held the franchise.
Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach Group, said: “I am very proud of the huge amount of work that’s been done over the past two decades to improve rail services for customers travelling with South West Trains.
“This is testament to the commitment of our 5,000-strong team of employees and the great partnership we have with Network Rail and other key suppliers. Collectively, they work hard day in, day out as one railway to deliver a great service to customers.”