Who gave the franchise to South Western , when they did such a bad job with Southern Rail already?? Must of been some big back handlers going on. Please bring back South West trains, then we can get to where we need to go like we used to. Forcing people back in their cars and still putting up fares.
It's not the franchise holding groups who are wholly to blame. (First & MTR for South Western and Go Ahead for Southern) A great deal hinges on the franchise agreement and how that is written.
In the last franchise Southern had to get a sign off from the DfT to change train formations for commercial service changes such as football matches or Lewes Bonfire.
A condition of the East Coast and Great Western franchises is that they use 800 series units. If an operator didn't sign up to that they were disqualified even if they had other plans for new rolling stock.
About 10 years ago the DfT specified the train formations for a new Great Western franchise agreement. For local services around Bristol the DfT specified a 50% capacity reduction on some trains. (GWR ended up chartering fleets of buses to shift the commuter traffic around Bristol and Gloucester.) By the time the mistake was admitted and permission given to lease the rolling stock which was released it was too late, other operators had entered short term leasing contracts for the displaced vehicles. What Bristol lost Norwich, Leeds and Manchester gained.
The whole franchising set up is a vast money go round spiced up with restrictive franchise agreements. With that sort of micro management by the DfT I can see why Stagecoach are happy to be out of the railway business!