Southeastern (train operating company)

Southeastern is a train operating company in the United Kingdom. It began operations in south-east England on 1 April 2006, replacing the former publicly-owned operator South Eastern Trains and serves the commuter routes to south-east London, Kent, and parts of East Sussex.


The London termini of its services are Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, London Birdge and Victoria. Southeastern operate on of track, with 182 stations. 82% of its train services run into London.

It is owned by Govia, a joint venture between Go-Ahead Group and Keolis, who also operate the neighbouring Southern operating company 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. 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 and stations, beginning with Waterloo East, have begun to be re-painted under the new corporate colour scheme. In August 2007, a Class 508 train was painted in a new trial livery, although the company has stated that the exact design is yet to be finalised.

The first electrostar to receive Southeastern's revised livery is No 375624. This unit was seen at London Victoria on 24 January 2008, (the unit being delivered after repairs at Ilford on 4 January), and pictured in The Railway Magazine April 2008 issue.

History of the franchise

Since the privatisaton of British Rail, the franchise to run trains in this area has changed hands three times. The first company to win the South-Eastern Franchise on 14th October 1996 was Connex, who operated it under the name Connex South Eastern. The company gained bad publicity, and their franchise was cut short on 9 November 2003. Train services were then taken over by South Eastern Trains, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Strategic Rail Authority/Department for Transport, until the bidding for the new Integrated Kent 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).

Current routes

Current services off-peak until the December 2008 timetable change. Originating from the London termini, these services are

Most trains to Cannon Street and to Charing Cross call here.

Other services include;

Future expansion

High Speed 1 and Olympic Javelin

Beginning in December 2009, Southeastern will operate high-speed domestic services on High Speed 1, including the Olympic Javelin service that is to run during London's 2012 Summer Olympics.

A fleet of twenty-nine six-carriage Shinkansen-derived high-speed ‘A-trains’ have already been ordered from Hitachi for this route. This is Hitachi’s first train sale in Britain. They will be known as Class 395 when in service. The first train will be named after Dame Kelly Holmes, a British gold-medal athlete, with further trains to be named after British personalities associated with speed. The colour scheme for the high-speed trains will be dark blue - using the same corporate colour as their logo.

High-speed services are expected to begin in December 2009, but the first four trains were delivered in 2007 for testing and driver training.

The new company have made a point of advertising part-owner SNCF’s experience operating and integrated high-speed train services on the French TGV network.

Current plans call for the company to operate up to seven high-speed trains per hour at peak times, with four trains per hour off-peak. These trains will only run at high speed on High Speed 1 itself; at some point each will switch over to conventional track and need to run at reduced speeds alongside conventional trains. In the table below, stations falling on the high-speed portion of the trip are boldfaced.

Peak hours
Route Frequency Stations called
London – Ebbsfleet 2 tph London St Pancras, Stratford, Ebbsfleet
London – Rochester 1.5 tph London St Pancras, Stratford, Gravesend, Higham, Strood, Rochester
London – Broadstairs 1.5 tph London St Pancras, Stratford, Ebbsfleet, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Birchington on Sea, Margate, Broadstairs
London – Dover/Margate 2 tph London St Pancras, Ebbsfleet, Ashford International (train divides) Wye, Canterbury West, Sturry, Minster, Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate
Sandling, Folkestone West, Folkestone Central, Dover Priory
Off-peak hours
Route Frequency Stations called
London – Faversham 2 tph London St Pancras, Stratford, Ebbsfleet, Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham
London – Ramsgate 1 tph London St Pancras, Stratford, Ebbsfleet, Ashford International, Canterbury West, Ramsgate
London – Dover 1 tph London St Pancras, Stratford, Ebbsfleet, Ashford International, Folkestone West, Folkestone Central, Dover Priory

These plans are still tentative, and the off-peak services have been changed from the Department for Transport specification. In July 2006 it was announced that the Shakespeare Tunnels would be upgraded by Network Rail to allow high speed trains to reach Dover Priory. A campaign was fought for the off-peak services on the Chatham main line to terminate at Faversham rather than Sittingbourne and as a result, the services will now run to Faversham but will not call at Higham. The calling pattern during the two hour peaks still has to be confirmed, the DfT specification shown above.

Mainline network

The opening of the second phase of High Speed 1 in November 2007 made available train paths that had previously been used by Eurostar, allowing Southeastern to increase services in December 2007.

  • An additional evening peak train from Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wells;
  • An additional evening service from Cannon Street to Faversham with connections to the Thanet coast;
  • Improved frequency of services between Beckenham Junction and Victoria and Orpington and Victoria, improving links to Bromley South;
  • Contra peak improvements on many Metro routes and on the main line via Tonbridge; and
  • Improvements made to Saturday services so they mirror, where possible, the Monday to Friday off-peak pattern

Major 2008/9 timetable change

Many people have seen the changes to the timetable from December 2007, but from December 2008, the timetable will be changed radically:

  • Southeastern will begin operating around 20 Class 319 trains with First Capital Connect. This will mean that from December 2008, services between Sevenoaks and Blackfriars via Bat & Ball will be operated solely by Class 319s, and because of their dual voltage capability, they will be extended into Luton, linking with St Pancras International. The 3 peak services from the Kent Coast to Blackfriars will be extended to St Pancras International.
  • December 2009 will see the St Pancras International Domestic services to Ashford, Ramsgate and Dover
  • Tunbridge Wells will lose its Horsham and London Bridge via Redhill services, being replaced by London Charing Cross services (These services will be handed over to Southern)
  • Strood to Paddock Wood services will be extended to Tonbridge.
  • An Additional stopping service will operate between London Victoria and Gillingham, serving Herne Hill, Beckenham Junction, Bromley South, St Mary Cray, Swanley, Farningham Road, Longfield, Meopham, Sole Street, Rochester and Chatham.
  • The two dividing services from Victoria to Dover Priory / Ramsgate will call additionally at Longfield and Meopham.
  • The proposal to have Sheerness to Sittingbourne services extended to Dover via Faversham have been rejected.
  • The London Cannon Street to Ashford International fast service will be dropped, the Victoria to Maidstone slow will be extended to Ashford and the Victoria to Canterbury West semi - fast will be terminating at Ashford.
  • Beckenham Junction will not be called at by any of the Victoria - Bromley South - Maidstone East - Ashford International services.
  • Passengers from stations between Slade Green and Deptford will only be able to travel to Cannon Street to avoid conflicting movements by sending them to Charing Cross, the compensation is that the line will receive 6 trains per hour.
  • The Barnehurst - Eltham - London line will receive 6 trains per hour, resulting in 2 additional off peak Cannon Street services. The fast services from Gillingham to Charing Cross will no longer run via Greenwich, but via Blackheath, and they will avoid conflicting movements.
  • The Plumstead to Cannon Street service is axed, compensated by fast services running via Blackheath from Charlton. The compensation is extra trains starting from Slade Green to Cannon Street via Greenwich.
  • Kent Coast to Cannon Street via Faversham and Gillingham services will be significantly reduced (but replaced by services to St Pancras). The Orpington - Grove Park - London services will be raised to 4 trains per hour, with 2 trains per hour continuing to Sevenoaks, allowing better frequencies to Chelsfield.
  • The Hayes and Sidcup Lines will retain 4 trains per hour, with no change.
  • Proposals to close Beltring and Swale have been rejected, as have proposals to re-introduce a direct service to London from Bromley North.

Sample frequencies from 2009 (to London)

Ramsgate - 5 trains per hour; 1 Javelin via Ashford, 2 via Faversham to Victoria, 1 Slow via Canterbury West to Charing Cross, 1 slow via Dover Priory to Charing Cross

Margate - 3 trains per hour; 1 Javelin via Ashford, 2 via Faversham to Victoria

Dover Priory - 5 trains per hour; 1 Javelin via Ashford, 2 slow via Tonbridge (one starting/terminating here, one continuing to/starting from Ramsgate), 2 via Faversham to Victoria

Ashford International - 6 trains per hour; 2 Javelins, 2 slow via Tonbridge, 2 via Maidstone East

Hastings - 2 trains per hour; 1 all stations to Sevenoaks, one semi - fast via Battle and Tonbridge

Tunbridge Wells - 4 trains per hour; 1 all stations to Sevenoaks, 2 Semi - Fast not calling at Orpington, 1 semi - fast calling at Orpington

Tonbridge - 6 trains per hour; 2 from Ashford, 2 from Hastings, 2 from Tunbridge Wells

Sevenoaks - 10 trains per hour; 2 to Kentish Town, 2 slow via Grove Park, 6 fast from Tonbridge and beyond

Orpington - 12 trains per hour; 4 to Victoria via Bromley, 2 to Cannon Street via Grove Park, 2 to Charing Cross via Grove Park, 4 Kent fast service from Tonbridge and beyond.

Maidstone East - 2 trains per hour from Ashford

Otford - 4 trains per hour; 2 from Ashford, 2 from Sevenoaks

Gillingham - 7 trains per hour; 1 slow to Victoria, 2 from Dover/Ramsgate, 2 Javelins, 2 semi - fast via Woolwich

Meopham - 3 trains per hour; 1 from Gillingham, 2 from Dover P / Ramsgate

Swanley - 3 trains per hour; 1 from Gillingham, 2 from Sevenoaks

Gravesend - 6 trains per hour; 2 Javelin, 2 slow via Sidcup, 2 semi - fast via Woolwich

Ebbsfleet International - 4 domestic trains per hour

Stratford International - 4 domestic trains per hour

Hayes - 4 trains per hour; 2 slow to Cannon Street, 2 semi fast to Charing Cross (fast from Ladywell to London Bridge)

Dartford - 10 trains per hour; 2 to Victoria via Bexleyheath, 2 to Charing Cross via Bexleyheath, 2 semi - fast via Woolwich and Blackheath from Gillingham, 2 to Charing Cross via Sidcup, 2 slow via Greenwich

Sidcup - 4 trains per hour; 2 Cannon Street loops from Woolwich and Sidcup, 2 from Gravesend

Slade Green - 6 trains per hour, all via Woolwich; 4 from Dartford, 2 Start at Slade Green

Woolwich Arsenal - 8 trains per hour; 2 Fast from Gillingham, 2 from Slade Green, 4 from Dartford. Only 2 to Charing Cross

Eltham - 6 trains per hour; 4 from Dartford, 2 beginning at Barnehurst

Lewisham - 14 trains per hour; 2 from Hayes, 2 from Orpington, 2 Cannon Street loops from Sidcup, 2 from Barnehurst, 4 from Dartford, 2 from Gillingham

Bromley South - 11 trains per hour; 1 from Gillingham, 2 from Dover P / Ramsgate, 2 from Sevenoaks, 4 from Orpington, 2 from Ashford

Herne Hill - 4 trains per hour; 4 from Orpington


Like its sister franchise Southern, Southeastern is committed to introducing Oyster Pay As You Go (PAYG) on its London routes but is yet to implement.


Figures released by the ORR rate punctuality at 92.3% (PPM) over the fourth quarter of the financial year 2007/8 and 90.5% (MAA) for the 12 months up to March 30 2008.

Rolling stock

Southeastern operate a fleet of about four hundred trains, all of which are electrical multiple units.

Current fleet

 Class  Image  Top speed   Number  Cars per set  Routes operated   Built   Notes 
 mph   km/h 
Class 375/3 Electrostar 100 160 10 3 Mainline routes 2001-2002
Class 375/6 'Electrostar'' 100 160 30 4

Mainline routes 1999-2001
Class 375/7/8 Electrostar 100 160 30 4 Mainline routes 1999-2001
Class 375/9 Electrostar 100 160 27 4

Mainline routes 2001-2003
Class 376 Suburban Electrostar 75 120 36 5 Metro routes 2004-2005
Class 465/0 Networker 75 120 50 4 Metro routes 1991-1993
Class 465/1 Networker 75 120 47 4 Metro routes 1993
Class 465/2 Networker 75 120 15 4 Metro routes 1993
Class 465/9 Networker 75 120 34 4 Metro and limited Mainline routes 2005-2006
Class 466 Networker 75 120 43 2 Metro routes 1993-1994
Class 508/2 75 120 6 3 Rural routes 1979-1980

Future fleet

Southeastern are due to receive two major new types of train for its expanded operations from the end of 2008. The twenty-nine 6-car Class 395 units are new high speed trains which will operate the CTRL-DS services along HS1 from 2009. Southeastern are also due to receive 20 Class 319 dual-voltage units cascaded from First Capital Connect which will operate services between Sevenoaks and Kentish Town via the Thameslink route. This will restore services that were initially operated when the Thameslink route was opened in the late 1980s. Southeastern will also receive some of the 23 new dual voltage Class 377 units intended for entry in 2009..
 Class   Image   Top speed   Number   Cars per set   Routes operated   Built   Notes 
 mph   km/h 
Class 395 140 225 29 6 High Speed 1 services 2006-2009 Based on Japanese Bullet Trains
Class 377 100 160 11 4 Thameslink services Sevenoaks to St Pancras 2009 Part of planned batch of 23 with First Capital Connect
Class 319 100 160 20 4 Sevenoaks to Blackfriars services 1987-1990 Built originally for Thameslink. Fitted with dual-voltage power equipment for running north of Farringdon when the Thameslink Programme is completed.

See also


External links

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