Integrated Kent

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Integrated Kent
375306 at Strood in June 2015
Current operator Southeastern
Main Region(s) London and South East
Franchise dates 1 Apr 2006 – December 2018 (Southeastern)
Stations called at 179
Stations operated 174
Route map

Southeastern TOC route map 2010.svg

Integrated Kent is a railway franchise for the provision of passenger services. It was formed by adding High Speed 1 services from London St Pancras to the South Eastern Passenger Rail Franchise services run by South Eastern Trains from London Blackfriars, London Bridge, London Cannon Street, London Charing Cross and London Victoria to Hayes, Bromley, Medway, Ramsgate, Dover Priory, Folkestone and Ore and various destinations within including Orpington, Sevenoaks, Dartford, Tunbridge Wells, Ashford and Canterbury West. It also runs services between Sittingbourne & Sheerness-on-Sea and Maidstone West & Strood.


In December 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority announced that Danish State Railways/Stagecoach, First, Govia and MTR/Sea Containers had been shortlisted to bid for the franchise.[1]

April 2006 to March 2014[edit]

In November 2005 the Department for Transport announced Govia had been awarded the franchise with the services operated by South Eastern Trains transferred to Southeastern on 1 April 2006.[2]

The franchise was let for an initial eight years, with a two-year option dependent on performance targets being met. The total subsidy for the franchise is £585 million over eight years. The Department for Transport stated that the franchise area had already benefited from almost £700 million in investment on new rolling stock and improved infrastructure, and that given investment in the region the new operator will increase fares by 3% above inflation from January 2007 for five years to ensure there is a fair balance in cost between the taxpayer and fare paying passenger.

According to the Department for Transport, Govia committed to:

  • Invest around £76 million in passenger and staff facilities
  • Oversee the construction of two depots in East Kent to maintain the new and existing fleet of trains
  • Improve performance with all day PPM train performance of 91.6% by March 2010 and 93.74% by March 2014
  • Provide services which are additional to the base line DfT asked for in the Invitation to Tender
  • Run services to Dover[3] if safety concerns at Shakespeare Tunnels could be overcome.

The opening of the second phase of High Speed 1 in November 2007 made available train paths on the traditional network previously used by Eurostar, allowing Southeastern to increase certain services in December 2007.[4] In December 2008, as part of the franchise agreement, responsibility for the Redhill to Tonbridge Line was handed over to Southern. Southeastern high-speed services began full operations on 14 December 2009.[5]

In March 2009 the bay platforms at London Blackfriars closed for reconstruction as part of the Thameslink Programme. Southeastern services previously terminating at Blackfriars, mostly from Sevenoaks via the Catford loop, were extended to Kentish Town, St Albans, Luton or Bedford.[6] As a result of this change, Southeastern now operates these services jointly with Thameslink using 20 dual-voltage Class 319 sets (which remain in FCC livery) as well as newly built Class 377 Electrostars.[7] When the station fully reopened with new bay platforms in May 2012 these services continued to run, but in the evening and at weekend (when the station had been closed) instead of terminating at Victoria services now terminate at Blackfriars.[8]

High-speed commuter services to/from St Pancras International via High Speed 1 commenced in December 2009, and a preview service starting on 29 June from St Pancras and Ebbsfleet and Ashford.

On 5 May 2010 BBC Radio Kent reported from 6pm that further substantial taxpayer support had been given to Govia in respect of the Southeastern franchise, although the BBC web pages for Kent failed to simultaneously reflect the news item.

Having met the performance criteria, on 18 March 2011 the Department for Transport granted Govia a two-year franchise extension until 31 March 2014.[9]

In June 2012 the Department for Transport launched the consultation process for the new South Eastern franchise that is to replace Integrated Kent from April 2014.[10] However, this was put on hold after issues with the letting of InterCity West Coast.

March 2014 to December 2018[edit]

Following the Department for Transport's review after the cancellation of the InterCity West Coast franchise process, extensions were granted to the franchises due for renewal in the near future. In 2013, the coalition government extended Southeastern's franchise, without competitive tender, from 31 March 2014 to June 2018. [11]

According to the Department for Transport, Govia committed to:

  • New digital display screens at key stations by April 2015, and improved customer information systems by the end of December 2015
  • Improved connections between London, North Kent and East Kent from a new hourly high speed service via Gillingham, Ramsgate, Dover and Ashford
  • Oyster card acceptance extended to Dartford, Swanley and Stratford International by December 2016
  • A peak-time Hastings Business Express service, providing faster journeys into London
  • Extra evening and weekend services between Dartford and London Victoria

The Southeastern franchise is now set to be extended until December 2018, the Public transport operator Govia (Go-Ahead Group / Keolis)'s contract has been announced.[12]

December 2018 onwards[edit]

From 2018, Transport for London announced that they would like (subject to DfT approval, which has not yet been given) to take over the London suburban parts of the franchise, rebranding the routes as London Overground from that point.[13]

However on Wednesday 6 December 2016, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has rejected Transport for London’s plan to take over Southeastern suburban services from 2018. [14]

In June 2017 the Department for Transport announced an Abellio/East Japan Railway Company/Mitsui consortium, incumbent Govia, Stagecoach and Trenitalia had been shortlisted to bid for the next South Eastern franchise.[15][16]


  1. ^ Green Light for High Speed Services for Kent - Four Bidders Selected for new Kent Franchise Strategic Rail Authority 22 December 2003
  2. ^ Department for Transport announces integrated Kent franchise Department for Transport 30 January 2006
  3. ^ BBC story announcing high-speed services to Dover
  4. ^ "Additional services in December 2007 timetable" (Press release). Southeastern. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2008. 
  5. ^ "High-speed travel for commuters". BBC News. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  6. ^ "Train times 22 March – 16 May 2009 Thameslink route" (PDF). First Capital Connect. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2009. 
  7. ^ "First photos of FCC 377s released". Today's Railways (84). Sheffield. p. 67. 
  8. ^ "New Train Timetable". Southeastern. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  9. ^ Southeastern franchise to tun to 2014 Go-Ahead 18 March 2011
  10. ^ South Eastern Franchise Consultation Department for Transport 21 June 2012
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Southeastern franchise extended until December 2018". Chronicle Live. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ West Coast Partnership and South Eastern rail franchise bidders Department for Transport 22 June 2017
  16. ^ South Eastern franchise bidders announced Railway Gazette International 22 June 2017