Southeastern (train operating company)

Southeastern (train operating company)
South eastern logo.jpg
Unit 395008 at Ebbsfleet International.JPG
Franchise(s): Integrated Kent Franchise
1 April 2006 – 31 March 2014
Main region(s): Greater London, Kent
Other region(s): East Sussex
Fleet size: 402
Stations called at: 179
National Rail abbreviation: SE
Parent company: Govia (Go-Ahead Group / Keolis)
Web site:
Route map

Route map

London & South Eastern Railway Limited, trading as Southeastern is a train operating company in south-east England. 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 East Franchise. It serves the commuter routes to south-east London, most of Kent, and parts of East Sussex.



Southeastern serves the main London stations of Charing Cross, Victoria, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, London Bridge, Waterloo East and recently St Pancras. The Southeastern network has a route mileage of 540, with 179 stations. About 70% of its services run to and from London.[1]

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 Charles Horton, formerly MD of sister company Southern.

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.[2] 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).[3]

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 service 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 First Capital Connect using 20 dual-voltage Class 319 sets (which remain in FCC livery) as well as newly built Class 377 Electrostars.[7]

Southeastern Brands

The London and South Eastern Railway operates under the principal "Southeastern" or "Southeastern Railways" brands.[citation needed] Although it continued to use the logo and livery of its predecessor for its first year of operations, a new company logo was adopted early in 2007; stations and some trains have been repainted in the new corporate colour scheme. The company is sometimes mistakenly referred to as "South Eastern Trains (SET)" due to the similarity in name with the previous operator.[citation needed]

Southeastern has three distinct sub-brands: Highspeed (grey), Mainline (green) or Metro (pink) and coloured its network map accordingly.


Typical Highspeed Train

Southeastern[8] 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, although public preview services 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.[9] A fleet of 29 six-coach Shinkansen-derived high-speed 'A-trains' were built in Japan by Hitachi for this route.[10] 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 personalities associated with speed.[11][12]

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.

To use the train service over the High Speed 1 section of line generally requires payment of a surcharge.


Typical Mainline Train

Southeastern[13] 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 is also used.

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.


Typical Metro Train

Southeastern[14] 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, Orpington and Sevenoaks, and also run a joint service with First Capital Connect Thameslink route with a service from Sevenoaks via Catford to Kentish Town or further north. Trains change company operation at London Blackfriars. Southeastern runs Class 376 Electrostar, Class 466 & Class 465 Networkers for 'Metro' services, although a Class 375 Electrostar is used on occasion.

On New Year's Eve, some Metro services operate all through the night.

Current routes

Current weekday off-peak services. Originating from central London, these services are:[15]

  • St Pancras International to:
  • Victoria to:
    • Orpington via Beckenham Junction – 4tph
    • Dartford via Bexleyheath – 2tph
    • Ramsgate and Dover Priory via Bromley South, dividing at Faversham – 2tph
    • Gillingham via Bromley South – 1tph
    • Ashford via Maidstone East – 2tph

Other services include;

In addition to the above, there are peak-only routes, including:

  • London St Pancras to Broadstairs via Chatham
  • London St Pancras to Maidstone West via Gravesend
  • Cannon Street to Broadstairs /Ramsgate via Chatham
  • Bedford to Ashford[1]


  1. Worked north of Blackfriars by First Capital Connect. Weekend trains terminate at Victoria instead.

Future expansion

Olympic Javelin Shuttle

The Olympic Javelin[16] or Javelin[17][18] is a planned high-speed train shuttle service announced as part of the successful London 2012 Olympic bid. It is an integral part of the plan to improve public transport in London in readiness for the 2012 Summer Olympics, an area of the bid that was initially regarded as being poor by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).[citation needed]

The service will run for the duration of the games, between St Pancras International station and Ebbsfleet International station, via Stratford International station, which is within the planned Olympic Park.[19] The British Olympic Association applied to register Javelin as a UK trademark on 19 July 2005 and this was granted on 2 June 2006.[20] The service is to be 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.[21][22]

At St Pancras there will be 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, will continue not to do so during the games, so spectators arriving from the Continent will change at Ebbsfleet.[19] It is expected that over 80% of Olympic spectators will travel to and from the venues by rail. Services to the Olympic Park are planned to offer a total capacity of 240,000 travellers per hour, some 25,000 of which will use the Javelin service.

During the Olympics a service of eight trains an hour is planned between St Pancras and Ebbsfleet, calling at Stratford, replacing the highspeed service. Two of these would be extended to Ashford and one to Faversham. Between 11pm and 1am the service between St Pancras and Ebbsfleet would be increased to twelve per hour.[23]

Thameslink Programme

By the conclusion of the Thameslink Programme in 2018, it is planned that the current off-peak services from Sevenoaks via Bat and Ball will be joined by trains from Orpington together with trains from Maidstone East and Paddock Wood via London Bridge. Thameslink services to Dartford, once mooted, are not now thought feasible because of timetabling constraints. Peak-hour trains are planned from Tunbridge Wells and Paddock Wood via London Bridge together with trains from Maidstone East, Sevenoaks and Orpington via the Catford Loop.[24]


Oyster Pay-As-You-Go is now available from all Zone 1–6 stations served by the company, apart from journeys on High Speed 1 between St Pancras International and Stratford International.

In late 2010 Southeastern increased the price of certain season ticket prices by an average of 7.8%.[25]


Figures released by the ORR rate punctuality at 90.5% (PPM) over the fourth quarter of financial year 2010/11, and 88.9% moving annual average (MAA) for the 12 months up to 31 March 2011.[26]

In late 2010 the company faced a barrage of criticism for its performance during extreme weather conditions in the south-east of England.[27] Many commuters have indicated that they would like to see Charles Horton MD removed from his post and that the franchise be taken from Southeastern,[28] and there are also allegations that Southeastern deliberately runs reduced services to skew their official performance figures.[29]

Rolling stock

Southeastern operates a fleet of about 322 trains, all of which are electrical multiple units.

Current fleet

Southeastern has, from the 22 March 2009 timetable change, started to operate Class 319 dual-voltage units shared with First Capital Connect (FCC) to operate most services via London Blackfriars as part of the Thameslink programme. Southeastern operates the service south of Blackfriars, FCC taking over their operation north thereof. This restored services that initially operated when the Thameslink route was opened in the late 1980s. Southeastern will also share some of the 23 new dual-voltage Class 377 units bound for the Thameslink route.[30]

 Class  Image  Top speed   Number  Cars per set  Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 375 Electrostar 375822 at Ashford International.jpg 100 160 147 3/4 Mainline and limited Metro routes. 1999–2005
Class 376 Suburban Electrostar 376015 at Woolwich Arsenal 1.jpg 75 120 36 5 Metro routes 2004–2005
Class 395 Javelin St Pancras railway station MMB 01 395018.jpg 140 225 29 6 High Speed 1 services 2007–2009
Class 465 Networker Southeastern 465002 at Lewisham 22 February 2011.jpg 75 120 147 4 Metro and limited Mainline routes. 1991–1994
Class 466 Networker 466022 new Southeastern livery.jpg 75 120 43 2 Metro and limited mainline routes+ metro/mainline branches 1993–1994

Past fleet

The arrangement with First Capital Connect for the services via Thameslink, coupled with the transfer of some routes to Southern, has allowed Southeastern to withdraw its small fleet of Class 508 EMUs and replace them with Networker stock cascaded from other services.

 Class   Image   Top speed   Number   Cars per set   Routes operated   Built   Notes 
 mph   km/h 
Class 508/2 Class508-Three Bridges4669.JPG 75 120 12 3 Rural routes (mainly branches) 1979–1980 Withdrawn 2008


Southeastern Class 375 Diagram.PNG Class 376 Southeastern Diagram.PNG Class 395 Southeastern Diagram.PNG

See also

Portal-puzzle.svg UK Railways portal


  1. ^ Company information, Southeastern, 2010.
  2. ^ "Train firm loses franchise". BBC News. 27 June 2003. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "Integrated Kent Franchise Stakeholder Briefing Document". Department for Transport. Retrieved 19 December 2008. [dead link]
  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". First Capital Connect. Retrieved 20 March 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "First photos of FCC 377s released". Today's Railways (Sheffield) (84): p. 67. 
  8. ^ "Highspeed services". Southeastern. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Vision for Southeastern". Govia. Retrieved 17 September 2009. 
  10. ^ "£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 15 July 2008. 
  11. ^ "Southeastern press release" (Press release). 
  12. ^ "First Class 395 'Javelin' named at Ashford International". Railway Herald (Scunthorpe) (195): p. 6. 28 September 2009. 
  13. ^ "Mainline services". Southeastern. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "Metro services". Southeastern. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Southeastern: 13 December 2009 timetables
  16. ^ "£20m bullet trains to serve Olympic Park". Olympic Delivery Authority. 28 October 2004. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  17. ^ "Japanese bullet train on display". BBC News. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  18. ^ "Our plans: Getting ready". Olympic Delivery Authority. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  19. ^ a b Transport Plan for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – first edition. Olympic Delivery Authority. p. 64. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  20. ^ "Case details for Trade Mark 2397248". Intellectual Property Office. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  21. ^ Modern Railways (London: Ian Allan): p. 1. January 2009. 
  22. ^ "Countdown to Kent high-speed commuter service begins". Railway Herald (Scunthorpe): p. 4. 14 December 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  23. ^ Southeastern. "Olympics timetable High Speed". Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  24. ^ Network Rail (2009). "Kent RUS Draft". Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  25. ^ Francis, Paul (4 January 2011). "MPs query Southeastern after payouts scrapped". Kent Messenger (Maidstone). 
  26. ^ "National Rail Trends Chapter 2". ORR. 
  27. ^ "Southeastern responds to snow criticism". News Shopper (Petts Wood, Kent). 20 December 2010. 
  28. ^ 853 (blog) (2 December 2010). "Could snow failure could end Southeastern's franchise early?". 
  29. ^ Millward, David (31 December 2010). "Rail passenger anger over Southeastern Trains delay compensation". Daily Telegraph (London). 
  30. ^ "Franchise changes for FCC and Southeastern". Railway Herald (Scunthorpe): p. 3. 25 August 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2008. 

External links

Preceded by
South Eastern Trains
South Eastern franchise
Operator of Integrated Kent franchise
2006 – present
New creation

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