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You are here: Home > Your journey > Accessibility > Train facilities

Train facilities

Over the past few years we have introduced some additional train types on some routes:

We have added additional train types onto both Gatwick Express and Southern routes. This has been necessary in order to provide much needed capacity across our network, enabling more passengers to gain a seat and access to our services.

Two types of train that have been introduced are refurbished older units which offer accessible facilities, but with some restrictions due to existing build of the trains. The class of train that have been introduced are class 442 and class 313. We have also introduced brand new 377s onto many of our metro routes, as well as the West London line.

All our trains are accessible to wheelchair users whose wheelchair is 700mm or less wide (with the exception of class 442 services *) and 1200mm or less long.

* Class 442 services 

Our Class 442 services have a reduced width available due to the single doors and the available width of the ramp, once deployed. The maximum width of the ramp is 695mm and the width of the door is 700mm. Mobility scooters cannot be accepted onto these services unless they fold down and can be carried on as luggage. This is due to the size restriction and turning circle available.

These trains are shown in our timetables with a square above the train running time and there are other train classes running most routes that class 442 will be using (please refer to the timetables). We have 24 x 5 car units in our fleet of over 300 trains.

Current 442 services include services to/from London Victoria to/from Gatwick Airport forming the Gatwick Express service, some express services to/from London from/to Brighton, and one service per day from Eastbourne to London Bridge and back

Class 313 trains

Our class 313 trains are three carriages long, used for routes along the south coast and they have the double doors similar to the majority of our fleet. There are 19 of these trains in our fleet of over 300 trains.

The 313s have accessible facilities included to enable wheelchair users and mobility scooters to board them with a dedicated accessible space, call for aid, onboard ramp and staff onboard each service. However, these trains do not have toilets on board. There are many stations with accessible toilet facilities on the routes the 313s will be calling at including: Brighton, Hove, Worthing, Angmering, Littlehampton, Barnham, Bognor Regis, Chichester, Havant, Portsmouth & Southsea, Portsmouth Harbour, Lewes, Newhaven Town and Seaford. There are toilets also at Shoreham by Sea, Ford, Bosham, Hilsea and Fratton, however these are not adapted for passengers using a wheelchair.

The longest route that the class 313 trains are scheduled to run on is the Brighton to Portsmouth route with a journey time of 1 hour and 18 minutes. We have analysed passenger buying habits on this route and over 90% of passengers travelling on these services make short journeys. If, however, you are travelling from Brighton to Portsmouth or will be on a train for a short while and are likely to need a toilet on this route, there are various options open to you:

  • Select an alternative service, for example: perhaps join one of the services from London
  • Stop at one of the stations on route with a toilet – accessible toilets can be found on the Brighton to Portsmouth route at: Brighton, Hove, Worthing, Angmering, Littlehampton, Barnham, Bognor Regis, Chichester, Havant, Portsmouth & Southsea, Portsmouth Harbour and standard toilets are available in addition at Shoreham by Sea, Ford, Bosham, Hilsea, and Fratton
  • Change at Havant or other stations after Havant onto a South West Train service, all of which have toilets on this route
  • Change at Hove for services coming from London going to Portsmouth

Timetable for this route:

13. Southampton, Portsmouth & Chichester to Brighton

Getting around our trains

Our services use various train types. Our newer trains (class 377 and 171) are compliant with the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (1998) (RVAR).

Section 46 of the Disability Discrimination Act gives the Secretary of State the power to make regulations to ensure that all new trains (post 1998) are accessible to as many disabled people as possible by meeting the regulations.

Southern operate approximately 900 carriages across its routes, over 730 of which are RVAR compliant. The remainder are older carriages, class 455, 313, and 442 which have been updated, where possible, to include many features to improve accessibility above the original build of the train.

How do I know which type of train I am getting on?

At the front and back of each train is a unique train identification number. The first three numbers will tell you which class of train you are about to board. For example, the next train you catch might have 377421 on the front. This will be a class 377 train and from the table below you will see that it is a RVAR compliant train. On the class 442 services the number is on the side of the train.

Features that can be found on our class 377 and 171 trains (which form the majority of our fleet of over 300 trains) include:

  • Double sliding exit doors operated by tactile, illuminated, low force buttons
  • Accessible toilet suitable for wheelchair users
  • Audible door operation
  • Audible and visual announcements throughout the journey
  • Interior designed to offer colour contrast
  • Dedicated spaces for wheelchair users integrated with seating in carriages. there is signage on board detailing how your wheelchair should be positioned for your safety whilst travelling
  • Call for aid buttons in the wheelchair accessible carriages
  • Many carriages of each train have wide aisles however, in some carriages we have provided more seating to meet demand, reducing the aisle width
  • Clearly signed priority seats within each carriage

Our other train classes:

  • Our older trains (non-RVAR) – classes 455, 313, and 442 have been adapted to offer as many accessible features as possible within the existing design. 
  • Class 442 trains (Gatwick express between Victoria and Gatwick and some to the south coast) have more restrictive door widths (single doors) and smaller accessible toilets and may not be suitable for some passengers. We are unable to accept any mobility scooters onto these services unless they fold down and can be carried on board as luggage

Table to show types of train, RVAR status and route they use:

Class of Train RVAR Area covered Toilets on

Toilets on

377 Yes All routes possible with the exemption of Brighton/Ashford and Uckfield/London Bridge routes Yes Yes
455 No  Metro/South London No No
171  Yes Generally routes to Uckfield and Ashford  Yes  Yes
442 No (unable to accept mobility scooters)  Gatwick Express services between Gatwick and London Victoria and peak services between London and the south coast Yes Yes, but with single door opening
313 No Some south coast routes mainly from Brighton to Hove, Portsmouth, Seaford and Eastbourne No No

* with exemptions

Priority seats

There are several priority seats which are clearly labelled in each carriage on all our trains, they are generally close to the exit doors so they are more accessible to passengers who need them. Southern’s Priority Seat Card started in March 2008 to offer assistance to passengers who found it difficult to gain a priority seat.

More information on Southern's Priority Seat Card

Need a hand getting on and off our trains?

We can provide help with boarding and alighting from trains, including the use of a platform to train ramp. If you are unfamiliar with the trains or stations you plan to use, or would like more information on the types of assistance we can provide, please contact the Assisted Travel Team. We advise that you give us 24 hours notice before travel – this ensures we have sufficient time to make arrangements and contact you to discuss any individual needs further.

At some stations, there are typically no station or on-board staff available to provide assistance. If you require help at these stations with getting on and off trains, or require the use of a ramp, please let us know your journey plans, so we can make sure staff are available. Otherwise, there may be a significant delay to your journey.