Southeastern (train operating company)
1 April 2006 – 24 June 2018
|Main region(s):||Greater London, Kent|
|Other region(s):||East Sussex|
|Stations called at:||179|
|National Rail abbreviation:||SE|
|Parent company:||Govia (Go-Ahead Group / Keolis)|
London & South Eastern Railway Limited, trading as Southeastern, is a British train operating company in South East England. It provides the majority of commuter/regional routes in South East London and Kent as well as some parts of East Sussex along three main routes: the Southeastern Main Line from London Cannon Street and London Charing Cross to Dover via Sevenoaks and the Chatham Main Line between London Victoria and Dover/Ramsgate via the Medway towns. Southeastern also provides services along High Speed 1 from London St. Pancras. On 1 April 2006 it became the franchisee for the new Integrated Kent franchise (IKF), replacing the publicly owned South Eastern Trains on the former South Eastern franchise.
Southeastern serves the main London stations of Charing Cross, Victoria, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, London Bridge, Waterloo East and St Pancras. The Southeastern network has a route mileage of 540, with 179 stations. About 70% of its services run to and from London.
It is owned by Govia, a joint venture between Go-Ahead Group and Keolis, which also operates the neighbouring Southern franchise, which overlaps with Southeastern in some areas. The company's formal name, under which it mounted its bid for the franchise, is London and South Eastern Railway (LSER).
The managing director is David Statham, formerly MD of First Capital Connect.
History of the franchise
Since the privatisation of British Rail, the franchise to run trains in this area has been held by three different companies. The first company to win the South Eastern franchise, on 14 October 1996, was Connex, which operated it under the name Connex South Eastern. Connex gained a reputation for unreliable services, but it was for "poor financial management" that its franchise was cut short by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) on 9 November 2003. Train services were then taken over by South Eastern Trains, a wholly owned subsidiary of the SRA/Department for Transport created for the purpose, until bidding for a new franchise was due. This would see the existing South Eastern franchise combined with the new high-speed services to be operated on High Speed 1 (formerly known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link) to form a new Integrated Kent Franchise (IKF).
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
The Olympic Javelin or Javelin was a high-speed train shuttle service operated by Southeastern over High Speed 1 during the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The service ran for the duration of both games, between St Pancras International station and Ebbsfleet International station, via Stratford International station, which is close to the Olympic Park. During the Summer Olympics a service of eight trains an hour ran between St Pancras and Ebbsfleet, calling at Stratford, replacing the usual East Kent highspeed service. Two of these were extended to Ashford and one to Faversham. Between 11pm and 1am the service between St Pancras and Ebbsfleet was increased to twelve per hour.
Announced as part of the successful London 2012 Olympic bid, it was an integral part of a plan to improve public transport in London in readiness for the Olympics, an area of the bid that was initially regarded as being poor by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The British Olympic Association applied to register Javelin as a UK trademark on 19 July 2005 and this was granted on 2 June 2006. The service was operated by Southeastern on High Speed 1 using the fleet of Class 395 trains, and because of this the class is sometimes referred to as the Javelin.
At St Pancras there is interchange with the Underground and with trains to/from the Midlands, Scotland, and the North of England. For track capacity reasons, Eurostar trains, which have never called at Stratford, did not do so during the games. It was expected that over 80% of Olympic spectators would travel to and from the venues by rail. Services to the Olympic Park were planned to offer a total capacity of 240,000 travellers per hour, some 25,000 of whom were expected to use the Javelin service.
Southeastern has three distinct sub-brands: Highspeed (grey), Mainline (green) and Metro (pink). The network map is coloured accordingly.
Southeastern introduced a full timetable of domestic high-speed services branded Southeastern Highspeed over High Speed 1 between London St Pancras and Ashford International on 13 December 2009; a limited preview service had been running since 29 June 2009. High-speed trains use High Speed 1 calling at Stratford International and Ebbsfleet International. Trains from London to the Medway towns and Faversham leave the high-speed line at Ebbsfleet and continue via the North Kent line and Chatham Main Line. Trains for Dover Priory and Margate leave the high-speed line at Ashford International. A limited peak-hour service now also operates between St Pancras and Maidstone West via Ebbsfleet and Strood.
When bidding for the franchise, Southeastern made a point of advertising part-owner SNCF's experience operating integrated high-speed train services on the French TGV network. A fleet of 29 six-coach Shinkansen-derived high-speed 'A-trains' were built in Japan by Hitachi for this route. Known as Class 395, this was Hitachi's first train sale in Britain. The colour scheme for the high-speed trains is dark blue. The services are marketed as Southeastern Highspeed, and some of the trains are named after British Olympians such as Steve Redgrave and Ben Ainslie.
At the same time there was the largest change to the timetable in the area in 40 years. With the fast trains now travelling over High Speed 1, the Charing Cross to Ashford stopping service was extended to Dover, Canterbury and Ramsgate.
Fares for journeys that include the High Speed 1 section of line (between St Pancras International and Gravesend) generally include a surcharge.
Southeastern is the key operator for Kent, and also serves East Sussex. 'Mainline' services connect central London with Dover, Folkestone, Hastings, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Ramsgate, Chatham, Maidstone and Canterbury. The backbone fleet on these services is the Class 375 Electrostar, although the Class 465/9 Networker is also used on some routes.
In December 2009 Southeastern saw 'Highspeed' trains stopping at 'Mainline' stations, and some longer timings on 'Mainline' services as trains called at more stations. Services to Tonbridge were maintained at six trains per hour off-peak, two per hour going forward to Ashford and beyond, two per hour to Hastings, and two per hour terminating at Tunbridge Wells. With high-speed services reaching Faversham, the half-hourly Victoria to Faversham stopping service was replaced with an hourly service to Gillingham and additional stops on the "fast" services to London Victoria. On the Maidstone East Line, services from London Cannon Street to Ashford International via Maidstone East and from London Victoria to Maidstone East and to Canterbury West via Ashford were replaced by a half-hourly Victoria to Ashford service. The Strood to Paddock Wood service was extended to Tonbridge. The Sittingbourne to Sheerness on Sea Branch Line also comes under 'Mainline' services, but is mainly operated by Class 466 Networkers.
Southeastern serves south-east and south London, its central stations being London Blackfriars, London Bridge, London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street, London Victoria and Waterloo East. 'Metro' trains serve Greenwich, New Cross, Lewisham, Dartford, Gravesend, Woolwich Arsenal, Hayes, Peckham Rye, Bromley South, Bexleyheath, Petts Wood, Orpington and Sevenoaks. Southeastern runs Class 376 Electrostar, Class 466 & Class 465 Networkers for 'Metro' services, although a Class 375 Electrostar is used on occasion.
Current weekday off-peak services, with frequencies in trains per hour (tph), are:
Services that operate during peak times only include:
(* tpd): trains per day
- London St Pancras International to Ramsgate via Ashford and Dover (7 tpd)
- London St Pancras International to Ramsgate via Chatham and Faversham (5 tpd)
- London St Pancras International to Faversham via Ashford, Dover and Ramsgate (1 tpd)
- London St Pancras International to Sandwich via Ashford and Dover (1 tpd)
- London St Pancras International to Dover Priory via Ebbsfleet and Ashford (3 tpd)
- London St Pancras International to Broadstairs via Chatham and Faversham (3 tpd)
- London St Pancras International to Maidstone West via Ebbsfleet and Gravesend (4 tpd)
- London Blackfriars to Gillingham via Bromley South (1 tpd)
- London Blackfriars to Rainham via Bromley South (1 tpd)
- London Blackfriars to Dover Priory via Chatham (1 tpd)
- London Blackfriars to Ashford International via Maidstone East (2 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Ramsgate via Canterbury West (2 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Folkestone Central via Ashford (1 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Dover Priory via Ashford (1 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Ramsgate via Dover Priory (1 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Ramsgate via Chatham (3 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Broadstairs via Chatham (2 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Hastings via Tunbridge Wells (5 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Ore via Tunbridge Wells (1 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Tunbridge Wells (5 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Ashford International (2 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Folkestone Central via Ashford (1 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Ramsgate via Dover Priory (3 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Ore via Tunbridge Wells (1 tpd)
- London Victoria to Sheerness-on-Sea via Chatham (2 tpd)
- London Victoria to Margate via Chatham (1 tpd)
- London Victoria to Rochester via Bromley South (3 tpd)
- London Victoria to Maidstone East via Swanley (2 tpd)
- London Victoria to Gillingham via Bromley South (7 tpd)
- London Victoria to Rainham via Bromley South (1 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Barnehurst via Bexleyheath (6 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Crayford via Bexleyheath (3 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Sevenoaks via Grove Park (11 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Barnehurst via Sidcup (2 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Gravesend via Sidcup (2 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Slade Green via Sidcup (1 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Gillingham (Kent) via Greenwich (2 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Slade Green via Greenwich (2 tpd)
- London Cannon Street to Gravesend via Greenwich (2 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Slade Green via Bexleyheath (3 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Orpington via Grove Park (8 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Sidcup via Hither Green (3 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Strood via Sidcup (2 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Gillingham (Kent) via Sidcup (2 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Crayford via Sidcup (1 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Barnehurst via Sidcup (1 tpd)
- London Charing Cross to Hayes via Catford Bridge (2 tph)
Oyster cards are now valid from all Zone 1–6 stations served by the company, including journeys on High Speed 1 between St Pancras International and Stratford International albeit at a special pay-as-you-go fare. Travelcards (including on Oyster) are however not valid on High Speed services only.
In late 2010 the company faced a barrage of criticism for its performance during extreme weather conditions in the south-east of England and there are also allegations that Southeastern deliberately runs reduced services to skew its official performance figures.
In 2014 a survey of UK rail passenger satisfaction showed Southeastern to be the lowest rated train operating company, with just forty percent of passengers believing that a good service is provided and a rating of only one out of five for value for money. Southeastern claimed that the reason for this is that people dislike going to work and that if the survey were to be retaken on a "sunny summer's day" the outcome would be better for the company.
However, in a survey (Best and worst UK train companies) carried out in February 2015 by Which? magazine, Southeastern continued to rank poorly, being rated as the second worst UK train operating train companies, with a customer score of just 44%. This was narrowly ahead of Thameslink and Great Northern, with 43%. Southeastern also achieved only 2/5 or 3/5 star ratings across the six specific categories assessed in the survey (such categories included Punctuality, Reliability and Cleanliness of toilets).
Southeastern continues to perform poorly in performance and passenger satisfaction in 2016, with the 2016 survey by "Which?" magazine finding Southeastern to be the joint-worst performing train operating company in Britain, with a customer score of just 46%. The Spring 2016 National Rail Passenger Survey further underlined Southeastern's continuing poor performance and passenger satisfaction. The company issued a joint response with Network Rail on the day of publication, primarily blaming outside factors and survey methodology.
Future of the franchise
On 21 January 2016, Transport for London announced that in 2018, they will take over the London suburban parts of the franchise, rebranding the routes as London Overground from that point.
Southeastern operates a fleet of about 367 trains, all of which are electric multiple units.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Carriages||Routes operated||Built|
|Class 375 Electrostar||EMU||100||160||10||3||Mainline routes||1999–2005|
|Class 376 Electrostar||EMU||75||120||36||5||Metro routes||2004–2005|
|Class 377 Electrostar||EMU||100||160||8||4||Mainline routes - Monday to Friday Peak Hours Only. Class 377/2/5s Sub-leased from Thameslink for the Thameslink Programme to cover for a shortfall in rolling stock after the transfer of the previous through services from Bedford to Ashford/Rochester from Thameslink to Southeastern. Rotated regularly with a daily swap of 2 units in Bellingham Sidings.||1999–2005|
|Class 395 Javelin||EMU||140||225||29||6||High Speed 1 services||2006–2009|
|Class 465 Networker||EMU||75||120||147||4||Mainline and Metro routes + metro/mainline branches.||1991–1994|
|Class 466 Networker||EMU||75||120||43||2||Metro and limited mainline routes.||1993–1994|
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Carriages||Routes operated||Built||Notes|
|Class 508/2||EMU||75||120||12||3||Rural routes (mainly branches)||1979–1980||Withdrawn 2008|
Southeastern are expected to receive 25 Class 377/1 units in coming years according to Department for Transport documents published in September 2013, relating to the new combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern Franchise. It has been announced that they will enter service with Southeastern in late 2017.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Carriages||Routes operated||Built||Years Operated|
|Class 377/1 Electrostar||EMU||100||160||25||4||Mainline and Metro routes||2002 - 2014||From Late 2017|
- South Eastern Trains
- Connex South Eastern
- Network SouthEast
- Southern Region of British Railways
- Southern Railway
- South Eastern and Chatham Railway
- South Eastern Railway
- London, Chatham and Dover Railway
- Commuter rail in the United Kingdom
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Southeastern (train operating company).|
- "South Eastern Franchise Consultation" (PDF). Department for Transport. June 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- Barrow, Keith (26 March 2013). "British government issues revised franchising schedule". International Rail Journal. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Company information, Southeastern, 2010.
- "Train firm loses franchise". BBC News. 27 June 2003. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- "Integrated Kent Franchise Stakeholder Briefing Document". Department for Transport. Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
- "Additional services in December 2007 timetable" (Press release). Southeastern. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "High-speed travel for commuters". BBC News. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- "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.
- "First photos of FCC 377s released". Today's Railways (84). Sheffield. p. 67.
- "New Train Timetable". Southeastern. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- "£20m bullet trains to serve Olympic Park". Olympic Delivery Authority. 28 October 2004. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- "Japanese bullet train on display". BBC News. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- "Our plans: Getting ready". Olympic Delivery Authority. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- Transport Plan for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – first edition (PDF). Olympic Delivery Authority. p. 64. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- Southeastern. "Olympics timetable High Speed". Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- "Case details for Trade Mark 2397248". Intellectual Property Office. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- Modern Railways. London: Ian Allan. January 2009. p. 1. Missing or empty
- "Countdown to Kent high-speed commuter service begins" (PDF). Railway Herald. Scunthorpe. 14 December 2008. p. 4. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- "Highspeed services". Southeastern. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "Vision for Southeastern". Govia. Retrieved 17 September 2009.
- "£250 Million Contract Signed for New High Speed Train Fleet for Kent" (Press release). Strategic Rail Authority. 1 June 2005. Archived from the original on 14 June 2006.
- "Jamie Staff Unveils High Speed Train" (Press release). Southeastern. 21 September 2009. Archived from the original on 6 October 2009.
- "First Class 395 'Javelin' named at Ashford International" (PDF). Railway Herald (195). Scunthorpe. 28 September 2009. p. 6.
- "Mainline services". Southeastern. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "Metro services". Southeastern. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "January 2015 timetable summary". SouthEastern. Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Rail performance results period 13". Network Rail.
- "Southeastern responds to snow criticism". News Shopper. Petts Wood, Kent. 20 December 2010.
- Millward, David (31 December 2010). "Rail passenger anger over Southeastern Trains delay compensation". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Southeastern: Why are we worst train company? Because you hate going to the office". Metro. London. 17 February 2014.
- "Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern Franchise: Invitation to Tender" (PDF). London: Department for Transport. September 2013. p. 75. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
- (PDF) https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s47935/Appendix%201%20-%20Letter%20from%20Southeastern.pdf. Missing or empty
- Southeastern official web site
- alwaystouchout.com on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (includes information about the high speed services)
South Eastern Trains
South Eastern franchise
|Operator of Integrated Kent franchise
2006 – present