Southeastern (train operating company)
London & South Eastern Railway Limited, trading as Southeastern, is a British train operating company owned by the Anglo-French joint venture Govia that provides passenger rail services in South East England. It is the key operator of commuter and regional services in South East London and Kent but also serves parts of East Sussex. Southeastern trains operate on three main routes: the Southeastern Main Line from London Cannon Street and London Charing Cross to Dover via Sevenoaks; the Chatham Main Line between London Victoria and Dover/Ramsgate via the Medway towns; and High Speed 1 from London St. Pancras.
1 April 2006 - 10 November 2019
|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)|
Southeastern began operations on 1 April 2006 as the franchisee for the new Integrated Kent franchise (IKF), replacing the publicly owned South Eastern Trains on the former South Eastern franchise. Southeastern has received a number of extensions since, and the current franchise is due to end on 22 June 2019. Govia has bid to continue operating the new South Eastern franchise from that date. In April 2019, it was announced that Southeastern and the Department for Transport were negotiating a further extension to 10 November 2019 with an option to extend until April 2020.
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 that 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).
In December 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority announced that Danish State Railways/Stagecoach, FirstGroup, Govia and MTR/Sea Containers had been shortlisted to bid for the new Integrated Kent franchise, which would replace the South Eastern franchise and include services on High Speed 1 operating from St Pancras. In November 2005 the Department for Transport (DfT) announced Govia had been awarded the franchise; the services operated by South Eastern Trains transferred to Southeastern on 1 April 2006.
The franchise was let for an initial eight years, with a two-year option dependent on performance targets being met. 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 passed to Southern. Southeastern high-speed services began full operations on 14 December 2009. Having met the performance criteria, in March 2011 the DfT granted Govia a two-year franchise extension until March 2014.
Following the DfT's review after the cancellation of the InterCity West Coast franchise process, extensions were granted to the franchises due for renewal with Southeastern's franchise extended until June 2018. It was later extended until December 2018.
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. 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 March 2014 to June 2018. and in 2016 further extended it until December 2018. The Invitation to Tender, detailing the improvements that must be made by the new franchisee, will be released in September 2017 and the contract will be awarded in August 2018.
Amidst a background of ongoing rail strikes nationwide, in September 2017, Southeastern cleaning staff, outsourced to employment agency Wettons, voted to stage industrial action in a row over pay and working conditions. The first strike by RMT-affiliated Wettons cleaning staff at Southeastern took place for 24 hours from 2030–2030 on 19–20 October 2017. There has been no further industrial action since, although negotiations between the RMT, Southeastern and Wettons remain ongoing.
As part of the 2018 Thameslink Programme several of the routes formerly operated by SouthEastern changed into Thameslink routes, including services to Sevenoaks and Gillingham. These services using the Class 700 now run from Bedford through the London Core via London Bridge and onto the Kent Mainline or the North Kent Line. In addition the former Charing Cross / Cannon Street services which started and terminated at Gillingham were extended to Rainham.
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 operated special high speed services using the Class 395 during the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, branded as the Olympic Javelin or Javelin. As a result, the class is still sometimes referred to as the Javelin.
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 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. Eight trains per 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.
At St Pancras there is interchange with the London 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.[not in citation given] 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 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 Class 377 Electrostars and Class 465/9 Networkers are 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 London, South London and on into Kent, its central stations being London Blackfriars, London Bridge, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, London Victoria and Waterloo East. 'Metro' trains serve Greenwich, New Cross, Lewisham, Dartford, Gravesend, Woolwich Arsenal, Hayes, Peckham Rye, Bromley South, Bickley, 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:
|High Speed Line|
|London St Pancras International to Faversham||1||Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham and Sittingbourne|
|London St Pancras International loop service via Chatham||1||Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Birchington-on-Sea, Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate |
Service returns to St Pancras via Sandwich and Ashford
|London St Pancras International loop service via Ashford||1||Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Folkestone West, Folkestone Central, Dover Priory, Martin Mill, Walmer, Deal and Sandwich |
Service returns to St Pancras via Ramsgate and Chatham
|London St Pancras International to Margate||1||Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Canterbury West, Ramsgate and Broadstairs|
|via Paddock Wood (Mainline)|
|London Charing Cross to Dover Priory||1||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Paddock Wood, Marden, Staplehurst, Headcorn, Pluckley, Ashford International, Westenhanger, Sandling, Folkestone West and Folkestone Central|
|London Charing Cross to Ramsgate||1||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Paddock Wood, Marden, Staplehurst, Headcorn, Pluckley, Ashford International, Wye, Canterbury West, Sturry and Minster|
|via Tunbridge Wells (Mainline)|
|London Charing Cross to Hastings||1||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells, Wadhurst, Battle and St Leonards Warrior Square|
|1||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells, Frant, Wadhurst, Stonegate, Etchingham, Robertsbridge, Battle, Crowhurst, West St Leonards and St Leonards Warrior Square|
|London Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wells||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Hildenborough, Tonbridge and High Brooms|
|via Gillingham (Mainline)|
|London Victoria to Ramsgate||1||Bromley South, Longfield, Meopham, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Chestfield & Swalecliffe, Herne Bay, Birchington-on-Sea, Westgate-on-Sea, Margate, Broadstairs and Dumpton Park|
|London Victoria to Dover Priory||1||Bromley South, Longfield, Meopham, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Newington, Sittingbourne, Teynham, Faversham, Selling, Canterbury East, Bekesbourne, Adisham, Aylesham, Snowdown, Shepherds Well and Kearsney|
|1||Denmark Hill, Bromley South, St Mary Cray, Swanley, Farningham Road, Longfield, Meopham, Sole Street, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham and Canterbury East|
|via Maidstone East (Mainline)|
|London Victoria to Canterbury West||1||Bromley South, Swanley, Otford, Borough Green & Wrotham, West Malling, Maidstone East, Bearsted, Hollingbourne, Harrietsham, Lenham, Charing, Ashford International, Wye, Chilham and Chartham|
|London Victoria to Ashford International||1||Bromley South, St Mary Cray, Swanley, Otford, Kemsing, Borough Green & Wrotham, West Malling, East Malling, Barming, Maidstone East and Bearsted|
|Medway Valley (Mainline)|
|Strood to Maidstone West||1||Cuxton, Halling, Snodland, New Hythe, Aylesford and Maidstone Barracks|
|Strood to Tonbridge||1||Cuxton, Halling, Snodland, New Hythe, Aylesford, Maidstone Barracks, Maidstone West, East Farleigh, Wateringbury, Yalding, Beltring and Paddock Wood|
|Sheerness Line (Mainline)|
|Sittingbourne to Sheerness-on-Sea||2||Kemsley, Swale and Queenborough|
|Woolwich Line (Metro)|
|London Cannon Street loop services via Woolwich Arsenal||4||London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green|
2tph return to Cannon Street via Crayford and Sidcup and 2tph return to Cannon Street via Barnehurst and Bexleyheath.
|London Charing Cross to Dartford||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green|
|Bexleyheath Line (Metro)|
|London Victoria to Gravesend||2||Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye, Nunhead, Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath, Barnehurst, Dartford and Greenhithe|
|London Charing Cross to Dartford||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath and Barnehurst|
|London Cannon Street loop service via Bexleyheath||2||London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath and Barnehurst|
Service returns to Cannon Street via Slade Green and Woolwich.
|Sidcup Line (Metro)|
|London Charing Cross to Dartford||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Hither Green, Lee, Mottingham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Albany Park, Bexley and Crayford|
|London Charing Cross to Gravesend||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, New Eltham, Sidcup, Bexley, Crayford, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe and Northfleet|
|London Cannon Street loop service via Sidcup||2||London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Hither Green, Lee, Mottingham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Albany Park, Bexley and Crayford |
Service returns to Cannon Street via Slade Green and Woolwich.
|Grove Park Line (Metro)|
|London Charing Cross to Sevenoaks||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Hither Green, Grove Park, Elmstead Woods, Chislehurst, Petts Wood, Orpington, Chelsfield, Knockholt and Dunton Green|
|London Cannon Street to Orpington||2||London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Hither Green, Grove Park, Elmstead Woods, Chislehurst and Petts Wood|
|Hayes Line (Metro)|
|London Charing Cross to Hayes||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Ladywell, Catford Bridge, Lower Sydenham, New Beckenham, Clock House, Elmers End, Eden Park and West Wickham|
|London Cannon Street to Hayes||2||London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Ladywell, Catford Bridge, Lower Sydenham, New Beckenham, Clock House, Elmers End, Eden Park and West Wickham|
|Bromley South Line (Metro)|
|London Victoria to Bromley South||2||Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction and Shortlands|
|London Victoria to Orpington||2||Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction, Shortlands, Bromley South, Bickley and Petts Wood|
|Bromley North Branch (Metro)|
|Grove Park to Bromley North||3||Sundridge Park|
Oyster cards are now valid from all Zone 1–9 stations served by the company, indeed the travelcard zones were extended to include stations such as Dartford after initial outcry by passengers being required to travel to Zone 6 stations such as Slade Green, Barnehurst or Crayford to "tap in" before continuing on their journey. Travelcards (including on Oyster) are however not valid on High Speed services, except between St Pancras International and Stratford International albeit at a special pay-as-you-go fare.
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 performed 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.
Southeastern operates a fleet of about 392 trains, all of which are electric multiple units.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Carriages||Routes operated||Built|
|375 Electrostar||EMU||100||160||10||3||Mainline routes||1999–2005|
|376 Electrostar||75||120||36||5||Metro routes||2004–5|
|377 Electrostar||EMU||100||160||25||4||Mainline routes -
377501-8 cascaded permanently from Thameslink in December 2016. Rest of 377/5 Fleet cascaded over to Southeastern in September 2017 with 377163/4 also joining.
|395 Javelin||EMU||140||225||29||6||High Speed 1 services||2007–9|
|465 Networker||EMU||75||120||147||4||Mainline and Metro routes + metro/mainline branches.||1991–4|
|466 Networker||43||2||Metro and limited mainline routes.||1993–4|
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Cars||Routes operated||Built||Withdrawn||Notes|
|508/2||EMU||75||120||12||3||Rural routes (mainly branches)||1979–80||2008||Stored or Scrapped|
Southeastern's drivers are based at the following locations;
Future of the franchiseEdit
In January 2016, Transport for London announced its intention to take over the London suburban parts of the franchise from 2018, integrating the routes into a proposed metro network. However, in December 2016, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling rejected Transport for London's plan to take over Southeastern suburban services from 2018.
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. On 10 August 2017, Trenitalia ceased interest in the franchise. Alstom joined Stagecoach's bid in February 2018.
The Invitation to Tender for the next franchise was issued in November 2017. There have been several extensions to the current franchise since then, and the winning bidder has yet to be announced as of May 2019. The winning bidder will take over the franchise on the 11th of November 2019.
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Media related to Southeastern (train operating company) at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- 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