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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 introduced some additional train types onto some of both Gatwick Express and Southern routes. This has been necessary in order to increase much needed capacity across our network enabling more passengers to gain a seat and access to our services.

The two types of train that have been introduced are refurbished older trains 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.

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 the 07:14 from Eastbourne to London Bridge and 18:23 from London Bridge to Eastbourne, and the following new services from 11th December 2011 from London Bridge: 07:32 Brighton to London Bridge service (Mon-Fri) 17:57 London Bridge to Brighton (Mon-Fri).


Class 313 trains

Our class 313 trains are three carriages long and are used for routes along the south coast, they have the double doors similar to the majority of our fleet. There are 19 of these 3 car trains in our fleet of over 300 trains. They have accessible facilities included to enable wheelchair users and mobility scooters to board them with a dedicated accessible space, call for aid, onboard ramp, staff onboard each service, however, they 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, Seaford, Barnham, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Lewes, Angmering, Worthing, Newhaven Town, Chichester, Havant, Portsmouth & Southsea, Portsmouth Harbour and West Worthing. There are toilets also at Shoreham by Sea, Ford, Bosham, Hilsea and Fratton however these are not adapted for passengers using a wheelchair. These trains are shown in our timetables with an inverted triangle above the train running time, there are other services (mainly trains from London) running on the same routes that will have toilets onboard.

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 routes take 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, check the timetable to find services without an inverted triangle above it (see relevant timetable in this section)
  • 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, Seaford, Barnham, Angmering, Worthing, West Worthing, 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, 456, 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 and class 460 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, 456, 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
board?

Accessible
Toilets on
board?

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
456 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, eg Brighton to Hove, Seaford to Brighton, Brighton to Portsmouth 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 access of our 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 at least 24 hours before your trip.

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 at least 24 hours before your trip, so we can make sure staff are available. Otherwise, there may be a significant delay to your journey.

More seats and longer trains

We will be introducing longer trains on three key routes when the new winter timetable comes into effect on 11 December.

  • Platform extensions and power supply upgrades completed by Network Rail will enable us to increase the number of seats and carriages on the East Grinstead and Sydenham routes. Seat numbers in the morning and evening peaks will rise by 3,000 and 2,000 respectively.
  • Following stakeholder feedback, we will also be strengthening two services on the Redhill route to ease overcrowding.
  • More Class 313 trains will be running on the coastway to allow the Class 377 trains currently used on that route to be used on the East Grinstead and Sydenham routes where selective door opening (SDO) technology is required.

As not all of the platforms on these two routes will be extended, passengers requiring assistance or those with accessibility needs should always travel in the first eight coaches to enable exit from the train at any station. This is relevant for services going in both directions.