MORE Southampton residents are opting for coach travel over trains, following more than a month of rail disruption, it has emerged.

A study by National Express has seen increasing numbers from the city opting for coach travel as more work is undertaken to improve London’s Waterloo station.

The UK’s largest operator of scheduled coach services is reporting advanced bookings from Southampton to London have risen by more than 20 per cent over the next 12 weeks.

Demand for coach travel across all areas in the South West affected by the recent rail disruption is also up by 20 per cent, potentially due to more people seeing the benefits of coach travel.

During the August rail disruption, National Express added a total of 7,500 extra seats to boost capacity on services from key locations while it saw sales rise significantly as people scrambled for a reliable alternative to rail.

The platforms at Waterloo came back into use on Tuesday but Network Rail testing then identified a signalling issue.

Some stations on routes to Waterloo were closed on Tuesday morning and there were more problems caused by a broken-down freight train between Eastleigh and Southampton.

Network Rail said Waterloo had fully reopened following one of the “largest and most complex” upgrades in the station’s history.

A spokeswoman said a 1,000-strong team of engineers and trackside staff had been working 24 hours a day for the past three-and-a-half weeks.