South Western Railway (often known as SW or SWR for short) is a British rail operator running services from London's Waterloo Station with routes covering Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire and further on to the chalk cliffs of the South Coast and the West Country. It also operates the Isle of Wight train service. Previously operating as Southwest Trains, South Western Railways received its franchise in August 2017 and is jointly owned by FirstGroup and the MRT Corporation. South Western Railway provides around 1,700 daily services, many of which are on four main lines. These are South Western Main, the Portsmouth Direct, the West of England Main and the Alton lines.
Take the train to Devon and visit Dartmoor National Park on South Western Railways. Credit: Unsplash
Pack your walking boots and head from London to Exeter for a spot of wild-camping on Dartmoor. Take the family to Lyme Regis to hunt for fossils on the Jurassic Coast. Get the train down to Salisbury to experience the equinox at Stonehenge or visit family and friends for some lunch on the South Bank with trains to Waterloo. Wherever you plan to travel, Omio will help you get there. Our comprehensive guide to South Western Railways covers everything you need to know from buying cheap South Western Railway tickets, discounts and offers, Off-Peak train tickets, South Western Railway timetables and what to do in case of disruptions to your journey. Read on to discover South Western Railways.
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Worried about delays and scrambling to do a South Western Railways journey check? Not to worry, the Omio app sends live updates and notifications if there are any changes to your journey. If you need any help along the way, there’s also a dedicated helpline to answer questions and make your journey enjoyable and hassle-free. As an official South Western Railway partner, Omio offers the latest deals for cheap South Western Railway train tickets Omio’s booking site is designed to make booking quick and easy, as well as finding you the best train tickets on your day of travel. With the Omio app, you can book on the go and get tickets sent directly to your phone with no need to print! Download the free Omio app today.
With hundreds of stations and destinations between London, the Isle of Wight and the West Country, we thought it would be handy to put together a list of the main stations and what you can expect at each one. So if you’re not sure where your destination station is located, or if you’re running late and need a coffee before you board, check out the dedicated pages to each station which includes facilities and their location.
Although there are 1,500 South Western train services every day, some are more popular than others. One of the most popular services is the London to Brighton train with a regular timetable of trains running to and from each city. These trains whisk holidaymakers and day-trippers from London Waterloo or London Bridge stations to the coast in just over an hour. It also provides a commuter service for city workers who live in Brighton. Other popular routes with a regular South Western Railway timetable include London Waterloo to Bournemouth (two hours), London Waterloo to Southampton (one and a half hours), London Waterloo to Exeter (three and a half hours), and London Waterloo to Windsor (one hour).
Not sure where to begin your South Western Railway adventure? Check out these popular South Western Railway destinations for travel details and nearby attractions:
Buying advance tickets from Omio is one of the easiest ways to bag cheap tickets with South Western Railways. If you’re unable to book too far in advance, here are some useful tips and ticket types to look out for in order to get the best deal for your journey:
Advanced: offers cheap advance tickets but only allows you to travel on the train date and time you have booked.
Off-Peak: available on trains to and from London as well as non-London trains. You can travel on any train as long as it falls within the off-peak hours for your destination.
Super Off-Peak tickets: available on trains to and from London as well as non-London trains. You can travel on any train as long as it falls within the super off-peak hours, this is a smaller window of time than the off-peak hours.
Semi-flex Return: travel on a booked train for your outward journey and travel back at any time during off-peak hours. The return ticket must be used within one month of the outward journey.
London Travelcards: add this to your ticket if visiting London and hopping on and off buses and the Tube, this ticket covers all city transport.
On most train routes both Standard and First Class tickets are available either as physical tickets or downloadable e-Tickets.
Season ticket: SWR offers season tickets for those making regular journeys by train. Season tickets can be annual, monthly or just for the week. Perfect for commuter passengers wishing to save money on their rail fare.
Flexi Season Ticket: working from home but need to commute to the city every now and then? The flexi season ticket is a great value alternative for those that don’t need a full season ticket. It offers 8 days of travel which should be taken within 28 days, that’s 2 days a week commuting to work.
GroupSave: Groups of three to nine people can save up to 34% on adult tickets when travelling together. Perfect for groups of friends and family taking a day trip.
Group Travel: travelling in a group of ten or more? Then it's possible to save up to 25% on Off-Peak tickets when you book in advance.
Children: all children under the age of 5 years can travel for free. There is a 50% discount for children aged between 5 and 15.
Explore the bays and cliff trails along the Jurassic coast in the South West of England. Credit: Unsplash
South Western Railway trains offer a range of discounted fares. Among these are the Ranger and Rover tickets that give unlimited travel in parts of the country, ideal for making the most of regional holidays. Examples of these tickets include the Freedom of Devon and Cornwall or a Heart of Wessex Ranger. Buying weekly, monthly or annual commuter tickets saves money while Railcards cater to different groups of people such as seniors, teenagers, disabled travellers and members of the armed forces. If you enjoy family days out take advantage of occasional South Western Railway 2FOR1 offers where entry to attractions is included with your train ticket (terms and conditions apply).
For those seeking a bit of comfort for their journey, South Western Railways offers first class carriages on routes between London Waterloo and Exeter St. Davids, Basingstoke, Alton, Warminster, Salisbury, Poole, Yeovil, Weymouth and Portsmouth Harbour. First class carriages have been designed to offer extra comfort, with wide leather seats, extra leg-room, large tables for working and charging points at your seat. First Class Advance Tickets are sold around 12 weeks in advance which is the best time to book your ticket. It’s possible to upgrade at any time before your journey, you’ll just have to pay the difference in fare price.
With an extensive choice of South Western train times, passengers can reach their destination whenever they choose to travel and whether their journey is for business or leisure. When it comes to SWR train times, the company offers a regular schedule every day of the year (except Christmas Day) with departures generally starting early morning and continuing until late at night. On some routes, a similar SWR timetable operates seven days a week while on others there are fewer trains on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Trains London to Exeter
Trains London to Bournemouth
Trains London to Southampton
Trains London to Portsmouth
Trains London to Bath
South Western Railway currently operates several train types. Class 159 'South Western Turbo' and Class 158 'Express Sprinter' operate on West of England routes while Class 442 'Wessex Electric' and Class 444 'Desiro' carry passengers between London and Portsmouth. The most common train, however, is the 450 'Desiro' which can now be found on most routes. These are all newer or refurbished trains with a smart dark green and silver livery.
Get the train to Wareham station and visit Corfe Castle, the 1,000 year old Norman castle in the Dorset countryside. Credit: Unsplash
With lush green fields, quaint pubs and some of the most idyllic beaches in the UK, southwest England is a haven from the country’s busier cities. South Western Railway is the gateway from London to glorious destinations hidden among the rugged moorlands or within historic coastal towns. Find out more about some of the more popular destinations below.
This port city is currently one of the coolest places in the UK, and with its mix of lively student energy, friendly West Country locals and plenty of independent shops and cafes, it’s easy to see why. Stroll along the harbour, enjoy a scrumpy cider at one of the many pubs, and marvel at the design and architecture of Clifton Suspension Bridge to get the full Bristolian experience.
The Isle of Wight
Just off the South Coast, you’ll need to get the ferry from either Southampton or Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight but once you’ve arrived, South Western Railway will help you get around. On The Isle of Wight, there’s plenty to do from admiring The Needles— impressive chalk stacks—to enjoying an afternoon tea in one of its many tearooms.
Poole is the second largest town in Dorset and is a two hours train ride from London Waterloo Station. Home to Europe’s largest natural harbour, the seaport is a popular spot for sailing and swimming. For landlubbers, Poole’s old town, which dates back to the Iron Age, won’t disappoint, as its myriad streets are a delight to explore.
To get cheap SWR tickets to Bristol, the Isle of Wight, Poole or any other destinations that South Western Rail travels to, make sure to book in advance with Omio.
Planned South Western Railway improvements include new or refurbished engines and carriages, extra commuter seats at peak periods, more Sunday services, better South Coast connectivity (which includes a new Portsmouth to Southampton service), more ticket options and standardisation of onboard facilities such as Wi-Fi, charging points and toilets. Although keeping the railway network well maintained is vital for the comfort and safety of all passengers, South Western Railway aims to keep disruption to a minimum. Much engineering work is carried out at the weekend, overnight or on Bank Holidays so always check before you travel. Alternative forms of travel are usually provided on affected routes.
No, most routes accept downloadable e-Tickets. When buying with Omio, you’ll have your tickets sent directly to your email or the app on your phone. All you have to do is show it to the conductor.
The cheaper Advance Tickets are non-refundable although amending the ticket for a different travel time is possible. For other tickets including season tickets, there are a variety of cancellation, exchange and refund options. Get in touch with our customer care and we’ll help you with any changes or refunds.
Facilities on South Western Railway trains are being constantly upgraded. Seats are comfortable, most carriages now have accessible toilets, plenty of luggage storage, Wi-Fi and charging points. Refreshments are available on most long-distance routes.
With booking assistance, wheelchair accessible ticket machines and ticket offices, pre-bookable personal help, ramps and accessible toilets at stations and on trains. South Western Railway asks that passengers call ahead at least four hours ahead of their journey to request the assisted travel service. South Western Railway is ensuring that all routes are fully accessible to passengers with reduced mobility.
Wi-Fi is available on all South Western Trains free of charge with high-speed 5G Wi-Fi being introduced to their services. There is also free Wi-Fi at all SWR stations.
Bikes are allowed on most SWR trains on a first-come, first-served basis. While foldable bikes can be stored anywhere in the carriage, there is designated storage for bigger bikes. On some routes, bicycle space needs to be reserved in advance. At busy times, bike restrictions are in place on some routes.
South West Railway trains allow each passenger to take up to two dogs on all its routes, they must be on a lead at all times during the train journey. Smaller animals can travel in suitable carriers.
As with all UK rail providers, South Western Railway does not allow children under 12 to travel without an adult.