A NEW train franchise has launched its new brand along with offering 100,000 half-price advance tickets for passengers.

South Western Railway (SWR), which was originally Hampshire rail franchise South West Trains, showed off its new train design at Waterloo International Terminal.

Secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling, SWR managing director Andy Mellors and stakeholders from across the network were among those present at the launch.

The old South West Trains franchise, which has been operated by Stagecoach Group for the last 20 years, was part of a £2.4bn takeover deal.

The new company also plans to rebrand all rolling stock, website and booking system while 5,000 staff will get a new uniform.

Mr Mellors said that between now and 2024, the firm would invest more than £1.2 billion on new and refurbished trains, station improvement projects and the simplification of tickets.

He added: “We are eager to roll out these improvements which will make journeys better for our customers across the network.”

As well as giving people the chance to take a look at the new brand, SWR announced that 100,000 half-price tickets for passengers were made available to buy online. 

The offer includes travel to and from areas such as Weymouth, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth Harbour on to Bristol, Exeter and Bath Spa.

Mr Grayling said: "This is the start of a new era for people who use trains on the South West route.

“We are determined to improve journeys for passengers and under this deal passengers on South Western Railway will benefit from faster journeys, 90 new trains and more than 50,000 extra seats in and out of Waterloo each day during rush hour.

“We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century and alongside this massive investment in services we are also delivering major upgrades to Waterloo station.”