1 April 2006 - 16 October 2021 (with a possible extension to 31 March 2022)
|Main region(s)||Greater London, Kent|
|Other region(s)||East Sussex|
|Stations called at||180|
|Parent company||Govia (Go-Ahead Group / Keolis)|
|Predecessor||South Eastern Trains|
London & South Eastern Railway Limited, trading as Southeastern, is a British train operating company owned by Govia that operates passenger rail services in South East England. It is the key operator of commuter and regional services in South East London and Kent, and 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.
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, with the franchise scheduled to end on 1 April 2020 until a new contract was agreed on 30 March 2020, running for up to 2 years.
Southeastern serves the main London stations of Charing Cross, Victoria, 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 western areas.
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, and Southeastern's franchise was 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 weekends (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 dispute 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 on to the Kent Main Line 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 High Speed
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' livery 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.
"Olympic Javelin" redirects here. For the sport event, see Javelin throw at the Olympics.
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 an 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.[failed verification] 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, now using Class 375 Electrostars (replacing Class 466 Networkers) . Mainline services use a dark blue livery, similar to that of the "Javelin" high-speed trains.
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, and Class 466 and Class 465 Networkers for 'Metro' services, although a Class 375 Electrostar is used on occasion. The livery for these is white with the Southeastern logo, which was also formerly used for "Mainline" services.
As of May 2021, the current weekday off-peak service pattern, with frequencies in trains per hour (tph), is:
|High Speed 1|
|London St Pancras International to Ramsgate via Faversham||1||Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Birchington-on-Sea, Margate, Broadstairs
Supplemented during peak hours with an hourly service to Faversham.
|London St Pancras International to Dover Priory via Ashford International||1||Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Folkestone West, Folkestone Central|
|London St Pancras International to Margate via Canterbury West||1||Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Canterbury West, Ramsgate, Broadstairs|
|Chatham Main Line|
|London Victoria to Ramsgate via Faversham||1||Bromley South, Longfield, Meopham, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Chestfield & Swalecliffe, Herne Bay, Birchington-on-Sea, Westgate-on-Sea, Margate, Broadstairs, Dumpton Park||375,|
|1||Bromley South, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Margate, Broadstairs|
|London Victoria to Dover Priory via Faversham||1||Denmark Hill, Bromley South, St Mary Cray, Swanley, Farningham Road, Longfield, Meopham, Sole Street, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Newington, Sittingbourne, Teynham, Faversham, Selling, Canterbury East, Bekesbourne, Adisham, Aylesham, Snowdown, Shepherds Well, Kearsney|
|Sittingbourne to Sheerness-on-Sea (branch line)||2||Kemsley, Swale, Queenborough||375|
|London Victoria to Ramsgate via Maidstone East||1||Bromley South, Swanley, Otford, Borough Green & Wrotham, West Malling, Maidstone East, Bearsted, Hollingbourne, Harrietsham, Lenham, Charing, Ashford International, Wye, Chilham, Chartham, Canterbury West, Sturry, Minster||375,|
|London Victoria to Ashford International via Maidstone East||1||Bromley South, St Mary Cray, Swanley, Otford, Kemsing, Borough Green & Wrotham, West Malling, East Malling, Barming, Maidstone East, Bearsted|
|South Eastern Main Line|
|London Charing Cross to Ramsgate via Tonbridge||1||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Paddock Wood, Marden, Staplehurst, Headcorn, Pluckley, Ashford International, Westenhanger, Sandling, Folkestone West, Folkestone Central, Dover Priory, Martin Mill, Walmer, Deal, Sandwich||375|
|Peak Hours only: Waterloo East, London Bridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Paddock Wood, Marden, Staplehurst, Headcorn, Ashford International, Wye, Chilham, Chartham, Canterbury West, Sturry, Minster|
|London Charing Cross to Hastings||1||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells, Wadhurst, Battle, St Leonards Warrior Square||375|
|1||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Hildenborough, Tonbridge, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells, Frant, Wadhurst, Stonegate, Etchingham, Robertsbridge, Battle, Crowhurst, West St Leonards, St Leonards Warrior Square|
|London Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wells||2||Peak Hours only: Waterloo East, London Bridge, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Hildenborough, Tonbridge, High Brooms||375, 465, 466|
|Medway Valley Line|
|Strood to Tonbridge||1||Cuxton, Halling, Snodland, New Hythe, Aylesford, Maidstone Barracks, Maidstone West, East Farleigh, Wateringbury, Yalding, Beltring, Paddock Wood
Supplemented during peak hours with an hourly service to Maidstone West.
|Metro - North Kent Line|
|London Cannon Street to London Cannon Street via Greenwich (clockwise)||2||London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green...
Services continue to/from London Cannon Street via Sidcup (see below).
|London Charing Cross to Dartford via Blackheath and Abbey Wood||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford|
|Metro - Bexleyheath Line|
|London Charing Cross to Dartford via Bexleyheath||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath, Barnehurst||376,|
|London Victoria to Dartford via Bexleyheath||2||Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye, Nunhead, Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath, Barnehurst|
|Metro - Sidcup Line|
|London Cannon Street to London Cannon Street via Sidcup (anticlockwise)||2||London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Hither Green, Lee, Mottingham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Albany Park, Bexley, Crayford, Slade Green...
Services continue to/from London Cannon Street via Greenwich (see above).
|London Charing Cross to Gravesend via Sidcup||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Hither Green, Lee, Mottingham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Albany Park, Bexley, Crayford, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet|
|Metro - South Eastern Main Line|
|London Cannon Street to Orpington via Grove Park||2||London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Hither Green, Grove Park, Elmstead Woods, Chislehurst, Petts Wood||376,|
|London Charing Cross to Sevenoaks via Grove Park||2||Waterloo East, London Bridge, Hither Green, Grove Park, Elmstead Woods, Chislehurst, Petts Wood, Orpington, Chelsfield, Knockholt, Dunton Green|
|Grove Park to Bromley North (branch line)||3||Sundridge Park||465|
|Metro - Hayes Line|
|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, West Wickham
Supplemented during peak hours with a half-hourly service from London Charing Cross, additionally calling at Waterloo East and skipping New Cross, St Johns and Lewisham.
|Metro - Chatham Main Line|
|London Victoria to Orpington via Beckenham Junction||2||Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction, Shortlands, Bromley South, Bickley, Petts Wood
Supplemented during peak hours with a half-hourly service to Bromley South.
Oyster cards are now valid from all Zone 1–9 stations served by the company, the travelcard zones having been extended to include stations such as Dartford after an 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 at a special pay-as-you-go fare.
Figures released by NR (Network Rail) rate punctuality at 85% (Public Performance Measure) over period 12 of 2015/16, and 87.3% moving annual average (MAA) for the 12 months up to March 2016.
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 per cent of passengers believing that 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, rated as the second-worst UK train operating train companies 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.
|Family||Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Carriages||Routes operated||Built||Operated from|
|Bombardier Electrostar||375||EMU||100||160||10||3||Main line routes||1999–2005||2006|
|377/1||100||160||2||4||Main line routes||2003||2017|
|Hitachi AT300||395 Javelin||140||225||29||6||High Speed 1 services||2007–2009||2009|
|Networker||465||75||120||147||4||Main line and metro routes||1991–1994||2006|
|466||43||2||Metro and limited main line routes.||1993–1994||2006|
In April 2020, Southeastern agreed to lease the thirty Class 707 units from Angel Trains, in order to increase capacity on the Southeastern network. These units had been built for South West Trains and were subsequently operated by South Western Railway, who opted to replace them with new Class 701 units. The first four Class 707s were transferred from SWR to Southeastern in January 2021, with operation commencing in the autumn of 2021.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Cars||Routes operated||Built||Notes|
|707 Desiro City||EMU||110||177||30||5||Metro routes||2015–2018||In the process of being transferred from South Western Railway; entering service with Southeastern in the autumn of 2021.|
The transfer of some routes to Southern and Thameslink allowed Southeastern to withdraw its small fleet of Class 508 EMUs and replace them with Networker stock cascaded from other services.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Cars||Routes operated||Built||Withdrawn||Notes|
|508/2||EMU||75||120||12||3||Rural routes (mainly branches)||1979–1980||2008||All scrapped except for one car each from units 508201 and 508209, which are now in departmental use.|
Southeastern's drivers are based at the following locations;
Main article: South Eastern franchise
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 this plan.
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 withdrew its 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. The franchise competition was cancelled on 7 August 2019 and the DfT instead took up a further extension and the operator was to run services until 31 March 2020. However, a new contract was then agreed on 30 March 2020, running up to 16 October 2021, with a possible extension to 31 March 2022.