Southern (train operating company)
26 August 2001 – 24 May 2003
25 May 2003 – 19 September 2009
22 June 2008 – 19 September 2009
South Central (incl Gatwick Express)
20 September 2009 – 24 July 2015
|Main Region(s):||London, West Sussex, East Sussex, Surrey|
|Other Region(s):||Hampshire, Kent, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire|
|Stations called at:||213|
|Route km operated:||666.3|
|National Rail abbreviation:||SN|
|Parent company:||Govia (Go-Ahead/Keolis)|
Southern is a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Govia operating the South Central franchise. It is a subsidiary of Govia, a joint venture between transport groups Go-Ahead and Keolis, and has operated the South Central rail franchise since August 2001 and the Gatwick Express service since June 2008.
Southern operates passenger services from London Bridge and London Victoria to Beckenham Junction, Epsom Downs, Leatherhead, East Grinstead, Uckfield, Caterham, Tattenham Corner, Horsham, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton, Eastbourne and Ore.
In March 2000 the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority announced its intention to relet the franchise from May 2003 with Connex and Govia the shortlisted bidders. In October 2000 the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority announced that Govia had been awarded the franchise and would operate it from May 2003. Govia negotiated a deal with Connex to buy out the remainder of its franchise, and the transaction was completed in August 2001. Govia trading as SouthCentral took over operations on 26 August 2001.
The franchise was originally to run for twenty years but in 2002 the Strategic Rail Authority changed the way it wanted investment funded and Govia was awarded a seven and a half-year franchise until December 2009.
In May 2004 the franchise was rebranded as Southern in a deliberate recall of the pre-nationalisation Southern Railway with a green roundel logo with Southern written in yellow in a green bar.
In April 2007 the Department for Transport announced that the Gatwick Express franchise was to be incorporated into the South Central franchise. This was part of a plan by the Department for Transport to increase capacity on the Brighton Main Line, involving the extension of peak-hour services from Gatwick to Brighton and Eastbourne from December 2008. This doubled the number of London to Brighton express trains during those periods.
The South Central franchise end date was brought forward to September 2009 upon the integration of the Gatwick Express service, in order to allow the new operator to be in place during major changes to the timetable in and around South London in December 2009. In the run-up to the bidding process for the franchise, reports emerged suggesting that Transport for London, the operator of the London Overground service, wished to take control of all overground services in South London, including the 'Metro' area of the South Central franchise. However, such a transfer never took place and the entire franchise was put forward for tender by the Department for Transport.
The Department for Transport has announced that, at the conclusion of the Southern franchise in July 2015, the South Central franchise will be merged into the Thameslink Great Northern franchise.
In March 2012 the Department for Transport announced that Abellio, FirstGroup, Govia, MTR and Stagecoach had been shortlisted for the new Thameslink Southern Great Northern franchise. The Invitation to Tender was to be issued in October 2012, with the successful bidder announced in spring 2013. However, in the wake of the InterCity West Coast refranchising process collapsing, the government announced in October 2012 that the process would be put on hold pending the results of a review.
The network of services operated by Southern includes Metro services in South London suburbs and regional services extending into the southern Home Counties. Almost all routes are south of the river Thames, with the exception of the West London service which crosses the city via Shepherd's Bush and runs up the West Coast Mainline to Milton Keynes. Along with the Thameslink route, this provides one of the few long-distance National Rail routes to run right across London instead of terminating at one of the London rail termini. Southern routes which do not serve London include the West Coastway and East Coastway Lines which serve stations along the south coast of Sussex, Kent and Hampshire.
Details of each route, including maps and timetables, are on Southern’s website (see External links, below). Its routes off-peak Monday to Saturday, with frequencies in off-peak trains per hour, include:
Southern use on-train announcements on all services. These announcements are automated and are voiced by Julie Berry (who also announces on Southeastern, Heathrow Connect, c2c, London Midland, National Express, Merseyrail, First Capital Connect and the Piccadilly line). A typical announcement would be as follows: "Welcome aboard the Southern service to Littlehampton and Eastbourne, calling at Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Haywards Heath, where the train will divide. Coaches one to four will continue to Littlehampton. Coaches five to twelve will continue to Eastbourne. Please ensure you are travelling in the correct part of the train. This is coach number five of twelve." and "We are now approaching East Croydon. Please mind the gap between the platform and the train". On the Class 377s the electronic displays also scrolls "Coach 5 of 12".
South Central inherited a fleet of Class 205, Class 207, Class 319, Class 421, Class 423, Class 455 and Class 456s from Connex South Central. Southern inherited a Class 73 and Class 460 Junipers from Gatwick Express.
A franchise commitment was to replace all the Mark 1 slam door stock resulting in Southern ordering 28 three-carriage, 139 four-carriage and 15 four-carriage, dual-voltage Class 377 Electrostars in September 2001 and March 2002 to replace the Class 421, Class 422 and Class 423s.
In August 2002 Southern ordered nine two-car and six four-car Class 171 Turbostars to replace the Class 205 and Class 207s. In 2006 a 10th two-car Class 171 was transferred from South West Trains.
In 2007 Southern ordered 12 four-car, dual-voltage Class 377/5 Electrostars to replace the remaining twelve Class 319s for transfer to First Capital Connect. In March 2008 Go Ahead purchased (rather than lease through a ROSCO) a further 11 Class 377/5s. However, all 23 ended up being sublet to First Capital Connect to provide extra stock for the Thameslink Programme Key Output Zero changes from March 2009.
In order to provide stock to operate the extended Gatwick Express services to Brighton, in 2008 Southern leased 17 Class 442 Wessex Electrics that had last been withdrawn by South West Trains in early 2007. After retaining the franchise in 2009, Southern leased the remaining seven Class 442s. The last of the Class 460 Junipers were withdrawn in September 2012.
In 2011 Southern announced that, because of thedelays in procuring the new trains for the Thameslink Programme, the 23 Class 377/5s on sub-lease to First Capital Connect would not be returned on time to deliver the operator's planned capacity increases, scheduled to begin with the December 2013 timetable change. As a consequence, Southern began a process to procure 130 new carriages. It was announced in December 2011 that Bombardier had been awarded a contract to supply 26 five-carriage Class 377/6s. In November 2012 it was announced an option for an additional 40 carriages was being exercised.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Cars per set||Routes operated||Built|
|Class 73||Electro-diesel locomotive||90||145||1||1||Thunderbird locomotive||1965–1967|
|Class 171||DMU||100||160||15 Total
171/7 - 9
171/8 - 6
|171/7 - 2
171/8 - 4
|Oxted Line (Uckfield branch)
|Class 313||EMU||75||120||19||3||West Coastway Line: Brighton – Hove/West Worthing/Portsmouth Harbour and Littlehampton – Barnham/Bognor Regis/Portsmouth & Southsea
East Coastway Line: Brighton – Lewes/Seaford
Also operate services between Brighton and Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Eastbourne and Ore during peak hours
|Class 377||EMU||100||160||182 Total
377/3 - 28
Other - 154
|377/3 - 3
377/6 - 5
|Entire Southern network (apart from the Uckfield and Marshlink lines).
377/5 and a number of 377/2 units in use with First Capital Connect sub-leased from Southern
|Class 442 (5Wes) Wessex Electric||EMU||100||160||17||5||London Victoria – Gatwick Airport/Brighton (Gatwick Express)
London Bridge – Eastbourne
Weekends: London Victoria – East Croydon – Brighton (Southern)
|Class 455||EMU||75||120||46||4||Suburban services from London Victoria and London Bridge on London Metro||1982–1984|
|Class 456||EMU||75||120||24||2||Suburban services from London Victoria and London Bridge on London Metro
To be transferred to South West Trains in 2014
|Class||Type||Cars per unit||Total Ordered||Notes|
|Class 377/6||EMU||5||26||Ordered as a replacement for the three 377/2 and twenty-three 377/5 units on loan from Southern to First Capital Connect.
The trains on loan to FCC won't be returned in time for lengthening services via Balham from 8 to 10 carriages.
|Class 377/7||EMU||5||8||Additional 8 dual-voltage units.|
|Class 387||EMU||4||29||Ordered for Thameslink, facilitating the release of existing trains Class 319 to newly electrified routes. In the longer term, these new trains will in turn also be cascaded. Delivery expected in 2015. This order has the provision of an extra 140 carriages.|
|Class 205 (3H)||DMU||1957–60||2004||Some Preserved.|
|Class 207 (3D)||DMU||1962||2004||Some Preserved.|
|Class 319||EMU||1987||2008||Transferred to First Capital Connect.|
|Class 421 (4Cig)||EMU||1964–66||2005||Some Preserved.|
|Class 423 (4Vep)||EMU||1967–71||2005||Some Preserved.|
|Class 460 (8Gat) Juniper||EMU||2000–2001||2011–2012||Transferred to South West Trains to form Class 458/5s.|
Southern, as part of its successful bid for the South Central franchise in 2009, made several commitments to improving services across the network. These included:
- Increasing the length of suburban services in South London to 10 cars between 2011 and 2013
- Increasing the service level on all routes in South London to 4 trains per hour (tph) until 23:00 each day, and the introduction of late-night services on Fridays and Saturdays
- The introduction of an hourly service on Sundays between Brighton and Southampton Central, and an increase in the number of late-night services between Brighton and Worthing
- The introduction of late-night services on the London to Uckfield route
- Installation of new ticket gates at 22 stations across the network
- Increasing the number of car-parking spaces at stations by 1,000 and the number of cycle spaces by 1,500
- Cleaning and refreshing of all stations and trains on the network
- Major refurbishments to seven stations: Brighton, Haywards Heath, Hove, Lewes, Redhill, Three Bridges and Worthing
- Class 456 units are to be transferred to South West Trains in 2014 after the 26 new 5-car Class 377/6 fleet enter service with Southern in 2013
The Thameslink franchise is to be merged with Southern's South Central franchise when the current contract expires in July 2015. The Thameslink franchise was due to expire on 14 September 2013 however the Department for Transport extended First Capital Connect's operation of the franchise while talks and agreements took place. Southern have ordered 116 new carriages for the Thameslink which are due to be delivered by 2015.
The franchise consultation paper released at the beginning of the 2009 franchising process stated that the ultimate franchise agreement would include a change mechanism to enable the DfT to incorporate additional routes into the South Central franchise, and it invited bidders to submit priced options for schemes put forward by stakeholders. One such scheme could, as indicated in the South Central Franchise Consultation Paper, be the reopening of the Uckfield – Lewes line, closed in 1969. In recent years, several interested parties have been examining the possibility of reopening the line.
The Key Smart Card
In 2012 Southern became the first rail company in England to use the ITSO card on its network. The Key is a smartcard similar to Transport for London's Oyster Card. Tickets for the smart-card are only available in Single, Return, Weekly, Monthly and Annual Season tickets. Southern plans to add a Pay-As-You-Go option in the near future however tests on this are still in-progress. There are three types of The Key smart cards, Child, Adult and Staff. All child smartcards need pictures on to prove the age of the holder, however Adults who only wish to use their Smartcard for Single and Return tickets will not require a picture. The befits of using The Key are that it is insured so if it is lost or stolen the card can be de-activated and the tickets transferred onto a new card sent out in the post. It is also conivinient as you don't need to take out a paper ticket as you can tap your wallet with the card in on the gate or validator post as you leave or enter the station.
The key allows you to buy Plusbus for the Crawley and Brighton areas. This is because Metrobus (which operates in Crawley) and Brighton and Hove Busses are owned by Govia, Southern's parent company. Brighton & Hove Busses also use the key on their busses however you are unable to use a B&H bus key on Southern and vice versa at the moment unless using Plusbus however southern is looking to change this by the end of 2013.
The key only operates at stations managed by southern and outside of London because The Key is not currently compatible with the Oyster card readers and Southern have been working with Transport for London and the Department for Transport to change this and the Oyster Card readers should be compatible by December 2013.
Southern operated a pilot for The Key between Brighton and Seaford in 2010 as these stations are only operated at by Southern trains (with the exception of Brighton) which was a success and so in 2012 it began to gradually expand across the network. Originally the only ticket typed avaialble on The Key were season tickets however in August 2013 Southern added Return and Single tickets to The Key.
In early 2006, Southern became the focus of attention from cyclists' groups as a result of its policy prohibiting the carriage of ordinary cycles during peak hours on trains destined for London and Brighton.
Southern and sister company Southeastern were criticised in January 2007 for not wishing to introduce Oyster Pay As You Go on its London routes, stating that it was not financially viable. In 2007 Southern introduced Oyster on its Watford Junction to Clapham Junction route, and the company later agreed in principle to the introduction of Oyster across its network, but did not give any firm timescale, managing director Chris Burchell saying
"There are still a number of outstanding issues that need to be discussed with TfL, but we do not believe these will prevent us making PAYG a reality on our network. We look forward to discussions with TfL on how we can make this happen as soon as possible for our passengers."
In its successful franchise bid in 2009, Southern said it was committed to rolling out Oyster Pay As You Go in the London area, but also that such a move was subject to industry agreement. Since 2 January 2010, Oyster Pay as You Go has been valid on all its London routes, along with most other train services in the London area.
Much of the criticism that Southern has faced surrounded major changes that were made to its timetables in December 2007 and December 2008.
In December 2007, Southern changed the arrangement for the splitting of services to and from London Victoria on the Arun Valley Line, opting to split trains at Horsham rather than Barnham. Some passengers criticised this change as it increased the journey time to and from London by up to 10 minutes from certain stations, whilst in the event of services running behind schedule, trains were sometimes not split at Horsham, and proceeded non-stop to Barnham, leaving commuters from the Arun Valley left at Horsham with the prospect of no onward trains.
In December 2008 further timetable changes were made, including the introduction of the extended Gatwick Express services. However, reliability and timekeeping on some of the new services were considered poor, leading to several public meetings being held relating to the problem. On 22 January 2009, Southern responded to some of these criticisms. During 2009 these services have recorded improved timekeeping and criticisms have since subsided.
December 2010 Timetable
Further changes to the timetable were made in December 2010; the first timetable change to include many of the requirements of the new franchise. Additional services were included at evenings and weekends. In the London area a 'metro' frequency of service was introduced on most routes with the extension of the weekday daytime 4 trains per hour norm to late evenings (up to around midnight), Saturdays and Sundays. In addition new late night services were introduced from London on Friday and Saturday nights with last trains leaving central London at around 0030 (times varying by route).
Outside London, a new later evening service was introduced to Uckfield from London Bridge, new late night services from Brighton along the west coastway (2303 and 0003) and direct services between Southampton and Brighton on Sundays.
Southern's plans for enhanced services between Victoria and Brighton with a new 4 trains per hour frequency were rejected at the last minute by the Office of Rail Regulation and therefore were not introduced.
- Companies House extract company no 6574965 Southern Railway Limited
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- Companies House extract company no 3010919. New Southern Railway Limited formerly South Central Limited.
- Rail (Peterborough). Issue 444. 18 September 2002. p. 6.
- Entrain (19) (Sheffield). 30 July 2003. p. 9.
- (DFT) Agreement signed to amend Gatwick Express and Southern franchises whitehallpages
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- "Thameslink Franchise OJEU Notice". Department for Transport. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
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- Gatwick Express: Brighton extension timetable
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- "Class 313s come to Southern". Southern Electric Group.
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- "Bombardier Wins Additional Order for 130 Electrostar Cars from Southern in the UK" (Press release). Bombardier. 28 December 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "DfT acts to ease Thameslink trains logjam". Railnews. 16 November 2012.
- Southern: Useful Information Retrieved 11 February 2010
- [Southern Useful Information http://www.southernrailway.com/southern/media-centre/useful-information/] - Southern. Retrieved 29th August 2013.
- "Procurement of New Rolling Stock". Southern. 15 November 2012. The option for 40 new vehicles from Bombardier appears in the manufacture and supply agreement for the order of 130 Electrostar vehicles from Bombardier announced by Southern on 28 December 2011. The MSA provides that the option for the further 40 vehicles expires on 31 December 2012. The 40 vehicles will be in 5-car formation with dual-voltage configuration and will cost circa £60 million in total, and it is expected that they will be delivered during 2014 for service entry in December of that year.
- "Bombardier to manufacture 116 new train carriages for Thameslink rolling stock cascade". Southern. 18 July 2013.
- Thameslink Southern & Great Northern Invitation to Tender Department for Transport 26 September 2013
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- "Green signal to reopen rail line". The Argus (Brighton). 21 June 2006. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- As of the 28th August 2013 also from https://www.southernrailway.com/smart-card/
- "Bicycle policy". Southern. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- "Oyster card". Southern. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- "Oyster cards for ALL trains". London Evening Standard. 31 January 2007.
- "Southern say yes to Oyster". Wimbledon Gazette. 3 February 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- "Rail revolt as trains dump passengers". West Sussex County Times (Horsham). 20 January 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
- "Commuters form pressure group". Eastbourne Herald. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
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