The Anonymous Widower

A First Ride In A Class 707 Train

I had my first ride in a Class 707 train today, from Clapham Junction station to Waterloo station.

I had expected a few glaring faults, as South Western Railway is dropping the trains.

But there are some good features.

  • Wide doors and spacious lobbies.
  • Free wi-fi, unlike the closely-related Class 700 trains.
  • Power scokets, unlike the Class 700 trains
  • Large litter bins.
  • Reasonably comfortable and spacious seats.
  • Walk-through.

And a few bad ones.

  • No 4G signal booster.
  • No full-length walk-through as two five-car trains, rather than one ten-car train.
  • A high step into and out of the train.

But they are certainly better than Thameslink’s Class 700 trains.

The current schedule between Waterloo and Windsor and Eton Riverside stations appears to be something like this.

  • Waterloo to Windsor and Eton – 54 minutes
  • Turnback at Windsor and Eton – 31 minutes
  • Windsor and |Eton to Waterloo – 56 minutes
  • Turnback at Waterloo – 9 minutes

Which works out at a very neat two and a half hours for the round trip.

So for a two trains per hour (tph) service you need five trains.

The timetable is written around 75 mph Class 455 trains, but the Class 707 trains are 100 mph units with a shorter dwell time at stations.

In each direction, there are twelve stops, which will give savings of at least a minute at each stop, due to the faster acceleration and smoother regenerative braking.

So assuming a minute is saved at each stop, that brings the round trip time to 126 minutes. Reduce the turnback time at Windsor and Eton Riverside and I feel it would be possible to do the round trip in under two hours.

Which would mean that the current two tph service would need four trains.

From Twickenham station, the route is fairly straight and this may enable more speed improvements on the route.

The Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside service is a classic example of how running faster trains often needs less trains to provide the same or even a better service.


I could see trains taking forty minutes on this route.

With the possible savings on the Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside service, you can understaqnd, why this is the first route to receive the new trains.


September 28, 2017 - Posted by | News, Transport | , , , ,


  1. Very interesting read. However, a couple of suggestions in terms of the practicality of your proposals…

    1) The Windsor and Eton Riverside route would need to be 100% class 707 diagrammed and 100% class 707 availability. It is neither. There are 3x class 458/5 diagrams and 2x class 707 diagrams on the route. This is predominantly owing to storage locations of class 458/5 and 707 units in terms of maintenance cycles and train crew knowledge. Also it is nice to keep trains with toilets (458/5s) on the route – regardless of how unpleasant the toilets may be!

    2) This actually relies upon the entire ‘Windsor side’ (i.e. Reading, Kingston Loop, Windsor, Weybridge, Hounslow Loop and peak time extras) being class 707 formed – altering the timing points for the Windsor trains (if assumed all 707 hauled) would then result in them potentially catching up with other services formed of other rolling stock.

    3) The turnaround time (at WNR) is vital to service recovery should an incident, or service disruption occur. Timed too tightly, service recovery becomes near on impossible as necessary turnaround time is not given to allow lost time to be recovered at either end of the route.

    4) You must account for additional ‘pathing’ time and other such timetabled alterations – e.g. 2mins at Richmond to allow for any recovery of late running, also junction margins at Staines and at Barnes and at Whitton / Feltham junctions. So although the trains offer a potential improvement, the timetable constraints still stand and adjustments are still required.

    5) The station dwell time is potentially less than class 455s, but the actual mechanics of the class 707 (with everything going through a computer) slows down the process a lot! The local door (particularly cab door) release is very slow, and then the process of getting interlock is also exceptionally slow. I would go so far as to say these processes bring the station dwell time back to being highly comparable with class 455 stock. The 707s are probably far quicker than class 450s – as the 450 ‘plug doors’ add a significant amount of time at stations. I’d be interested to see how class 458s compare, as I’d say these have a much faster and ‘slicker’ dwell time than even class 707s.

    In a similar vein, the top speed doesn’t really alter much as the top speed on the route is definitely not in excess of 75mph, so regardless of whether the train is a 455 (75mph max), 458/5 (75mph max), 450 (100mph max) or 707 (100mph max) the trains will still travel at the same speed – most of the route is 60mph).

    Overall, like I say, very interesting and a reasonable, balanced review, but just a few points there to consider regarding your conclusion there.

    Hope this is of interest.

    Comment by Rob K | October 26, 2018 | Reply

  2. Thanks for your comments.

    I was doing an exercise to see what is possible.

    From what you say, there could be a lot of improvements, if the track layout was better. I would also expect shutting all the dreaded level crossings would help too.

    From my experience of the Class 345 trains as a passenger, which seem to have to be slowed to keep to the timetable, I suspect that when Aventras replace all the various suburban trains for SWR, things will be better.

    I think they all have toilets too!

    Comment by AnonW | October 26, 2018 | Reply

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