Franchise(s)South Eastern
Main region(s)Greater London, South East England
Fleet size
Stations called at180
Stations operated164
Parent companyDfT OLR Holdings
Reporting markSE
Dates of operation17 October 2021 (2021-10-17)–17 October 2027 (2027-10-17)[1]
PredecessorSoutheastern (Govia)
Other Edit this at Wikidata
Route map

SE Trains Limited,[4] trading as Southeastern, is a British train operating company owned by DfT OLR Holdings for the Department for Transport,[5] that took over operating the South Eastern franchise in South East England from privately owned London & South Eastern Railway (which also traded as Southeastern) on 17 October 2021.


During September 2021, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced it would be terminating the South Eastern franchise then-operated by the Govia-owned Southeastern as a result of revenue declaration discrepancies involving £25 million of public money were discovered.[6][7][8] On 17 October 2021, an operator of last resort (OLR), SE Trains Limited, took over operations under the Southeastern brand; at the time, the DfT stated the OLR would manage the franchise for a six-year period, the end-date being set as 17 October 2027.[1]

Southeastern has been one of several train operators impacted by the 2022–2023 United Kingdom railway strikes, which are the first national rail strikes in the UK for three decades.[9] Its workers are amongst those who are participating in industrial action due to a dispute over pay and working conditions.[10] These actions have let to Southeastern occasionally being unable to provide a full service level, and due to the often abrupt nature of the industrial action, which has included overtime bans and strikes, has sometimes not been able to arrange for rail replacement buses in time.[11][12]

On 1 June 2023, both e-scooters and electric skateboards were banned from being carried onboard Southeastern trains; the reason for the ban was that the lithium-ion batteries that power these compact vehicles posed a fire safety risk. Most electric bicycles may still be taken onboard however.[13] Over the summer of 2023, Southeastern opened multiple new secure cycle hubs at railway stations across Kent as part of wider efforts to making its stations more accessible to cyclists.[14] These additions came amid a £4.4 million station improvement programme covering both Kent and south east London headed by both Southeastern and Network Rail.[15]

During late 2023, Southeastern introduced digital season tickets, referred to as sTickets, enabling customers to purchase and store season tickets on their smartphones. They can be bought through Southeastern's website as well as its mobile application, incorporates anti-fraud measures, and is valid for travel across south-east London, Kent, and East Sussex.[16] Several other fare changes were made around this time, including the abolition of super off-peak tickets and various price rises.[17] Around the same time, Southeastern scrapped its plans to close many of its manned ticket offices across its network.[18][19]


Southeastern serves the main London stations of Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street, London Bridge, St Pancras, Victoria and Blackfriars. The network has route mileage of 540 miles (870 km),[5] covering 180 stations,[5] 164 of which it manages.[20]


Upon its takeover of the franchise, Southeastern initially operated the same routes and services as its predecessor. During December 2022, a new timetable was introduced that reportedly aimed to reduce congestion, improve reliability and better match demand following the COVID-19 pandemic.[21] One year later, it was announced that Southeastern was to put on an addition 100 trains per week as a result of timetable changes based on customer feedback and travel pattern analysis across Kent, East Sussex and south-east London.[22][23]

Several parties have called for the transfer of Southeastern's metro services to Transport for London (TfL).[24] Prior to the OLR taking over operations, TfL itself had announced its intention to take over the London suburban parts of the franchise and integrate them into a wider metro network.[25][26] Officials such as the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have publicly supported this move.[27][28]

As of December 2023, the weekday off-peak service pattern, with frequencies in trains per hour (tph), is:[29]

High Speed 1[30]
Route tph Calling at
London St Pancras International to Faversham 1
London St Pancras International to Ramsgate via Faversham 1
London St Pancras International to Ramsgate via Dover Priory 1
London St Pancras International to Margate via Canterbury West 1
Chatham Main Line[31]
Route tph Calling at
London Victoria to Ramsgate via Faversham 1
London Victoria to Dover Priory via Faversham 1
London Victoria to Gillingham 1
Sittingbourne to Sheerness-on-Sea 1
Maidstone Line[32]
Route tph Calling at
London Victoria to Ashford International via Maidstone East 1
London Charing Cross to Maidstone East (semi-fast) 1
South Eastern Main Line[33]
Route tph Calling at
London Charing Cross to Dover Priory 1
London Charing Cross to Ramsgate via Canterbury West 1
Hastings Line[34]
Route tph Calling at
London Charing Cross to Hastings (stopping) 1
London Charing Cross to Hastings (semi-fast) 1
  • Waterloo East, London Bridge, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells, Wadhurst, Battle, St Leonards Warrior Square
Medway Valley Line[35]
Route tph Calling at
Strood to Paddock Wood via Maidstone West 2
Metro - North Kent Line[36]
Route tph Calling at
London Cannon Street to London Cannon Street via Greenwich and Woolwich Arsenal (clockwise) 2
  • Services continue to/from London Cannon Street via Bexleyheath (see below).
London Cannon Street to Gravesend via Lewisham and Woolwich Arsenal 2
Metro - Bexleyheath Line[37]
Route tph Calling at
London Cannon Street to London Cannon Street via Bexleyheath (anticlockwise) 2
  • Services continue to/from London Cannon Street via Woolwich Arsenal and Greenwich (see above).
London Victoria to Dartford via Bexleyheath 2
London Charing Cross to Dartford via Bexleyheath 1
  • Waterloo East, London Bridge, Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath, Barnehurst
Metro - Sidcup Line[38]
Route tph Calling at
London Charing Cross to Dartford via Lewisham and Sidcup 2
London Charing Cross to Gravesend via Sidcup 2
Metro - South Eastern Main Line[39]
Route tph Calling at
London Cannon Street to Orpington via Grove Park 2
London Charing Cross to Sevenoaks via Grove Park 2
Grove Park to Bromley North (branch line) 2 Sundridge Park
Metro - Hayes Line[40]
Route tph Calling at
London Charing Cross to Hayes 4
Metro - Chatham Main Line[41]
Route tph Calling at
London Victoria to Orpington via Beckenham Junction 2

Rolling stock

At the commencement of operations, Southeastern retained the same electric multiple units as its predecessor. It promptly launched a refurbishment programme covering most of its existing rolling stock; £27 million alone was allocated to the refurbishment of its 29 Class 395 Javelin high-speed trains.[42][43] By May 2013, Southeastern had reportedly completed work on half of its 112-strong Class 375 Electrostar fleet under a £10 million upgrade programme; internal changes included the addition of new USB ports, at-seat electrical sockets, LED lighting, and energy meters.[44]

The previous franchisee had finalised a leasing arrangement for the entire Class 707 fleet and was in the process in the process of launching the type into service when the OLR took over.[45][46] Southeastern has continued this deal, thus the remainder of the 30 Class 707s shall enter service as they are released by South Western Railway.[3]

Various initiatives have been explored to improve train performance and capabilities and effectiveness. Southeastern formed a team with Siemens Mobility and Eversholt Rail to jointly develop a fully automated vehicle inspection system to inspect its vehicles; this technology, which uses numerous high sensitivity cameras and optical laser sensors, is to be first used at the operator's Ramsgate depot, and will be active from 2025.[47]

Southeastern has also examined the prospects for replacing older portions of its train fleet. In November 2022, the operator launched the process of procuring new trains via the issuing of a tender. Southeastern has sought between 350 and 640 new carriages for its services; these are projected to be introduced sometime during the mid-2020s.[48][49]

Current fleet

Family Class Image Type Top speed Number Carriages Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Bombardier Electrostar 375/3
EMU 100 160 10 3 Main line routes 1999–2005
375/6 30 4
375/7 15
375/8 30
375/9 27
376 75 120 36 5 Metro routes 2004–2005
377/5 100 160 23 4 Main line routes 2008–2009
Hitachi AT300 395 Javelin 140 225 29 6 High Speed 1 services 2007–2009
Networker 465/0 75 120 50 4 Main line and metro routes 1991–1994
465/1 47
465/9 24[2]
466 30[2] 2 Main line and metro routes 1993–1994
Siemens Desiro 707 City Beam 100 160 28[3] 5 Metro routes 2015–2018

Past fleet

In May 2022, two Class 377/1 units were transferred from Southeastern back to Southern.[50]

Family Class Image Type Top speed Number Carriages Routes operated Year withdrawn
mph km/h
Bombardier Electrostar 377 EMU 100 160 2 4 Main line routes 2022


  1. ^ a b "Service Contract South Eastern" (PDF). Department for Transport. 16 October 2021. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  2. ^ a b c Russell, David (May 2024). "GTR to lease Class 379s from Porterbrook". Units. Rail Express. No. 336. p. 22.
  3. ^ a b c "SWR keeps last two '707s'". Modern Railways. No. 903. December 2023. p. 87.
  4. ^ "SE Trains Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Company information - Facts, figures and future plans from Southeastern, the rail network linking London with Kent and parts of East Sussex". SE Trains Ltd. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  6. ^ "Southeastern stripped of franchise over undeclared funding". BBC News. 28 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Government to take over Southeastern after serious breach of franchise". The Guardian. 28 September 2021.
  8. ^ "British government takes over Southeastern franchise following franchise breach". International Railway Journal. 28 September 2021.
  9. ^ "Rail strike: RMT union votes for national action". BBC News. 24 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  10. ^ "The dates of the train, Tube and bus strikes this week, and how services will be affected". 20 June 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  11. ^ Smith, Roger (23 August 2023). "Southeastern announces effect on services due to RMT and ASLEF strikes".
  12. ^ Fradgley, Emma (5 December 2023). "Southeastern strikes: No trains to run as ASELF workers strike".
  13. ^ Fradgley, Emma (19 May 2023). "Southeastern trains to ban e-scooters and e-skateboards".
  14. ^ Smith, Roger (3 September 2023). "Southeastern opens new secure cycle hubs at six Kent railway stations".
  15. ^ May, Tiana (28 March 2023). "£4.4 Million Station Improvement Project to Enhance Southeastern Network".
  16. ^ Bailes, Kathy (14 December 2023). "Southeastern introduces digital season tickets".
  17. ^ Wilson, Chris (5 December 2023). "Train passengers in the southeast could be hit with higher rail fares after super off-peak tickets axed". The Independent.
  18. ^ Chamberlain, Darryl (5 July 2023). "Southeastern targets SE London stations for mass ticket office closures".
  19. ^ Davison, Emily (2 November 2023). "Southeastern ticket office closure plans scrapped".
  20. ^ "Explore our network - Take some time to check out our route map and plan your next trip". SE Trains Ltd. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  21. ^ "December 2022 Timetable Changes". Southeastern. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  22. ^ Fuller, Christian (11 December 2023). "Southeastern introduce 100 additional trains per week". BBC News.
  23. ^ Booth, Janine (8 November 2023). "Southeastern to run more trains, but admits this is not enough".
  24. ^ Entwistle, Alexander (2 March 2023). "TfL urged to take over Southeastern metro service".
  25. ^ "Transport Secretary and Mayor set out vision for rail travel across London and the south east". 21 January 2016.
  26. ^ "TfL to control all London commuter services and new metro network". Rail Technology Magazine. 21 January 2016. Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  27. ^ Gillett, Francesca (7 December 2016). "Sadiq Khan hits back after government blocks plan for TfL to take over suburban rail services". Evening Standard. London. Archived from the original on 17 August 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  28. ^ Mason, Rowena (7 December 2016). "Rail letter leak: Chris Grayling accused of putting politics over people". The Guardian.
  29. ^ "Train Timetables". Southeastern. Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  30. ^ "Timetable 8: High Speed Lines". Southeastern. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  31. ^ "Timetable 2: London to the Medway Towns, Sittingbourne, Sheerness, Faversham, Ramsgate and Dover". Southeastern. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  32. ^ "Timetable 3a: London to Ashford via Maidstone East". Southeastern. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  33. ^ "Timetable 1: London to Dover and Ramsgate via Tonbridge and Ashford". Southeastern. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  34. ^ "Timetable 4: London and Sevenoaks to Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Battle and Hastings". Southeastern. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  35. ^ "Timetable 3b: Tonbridge, Paddock Wood and Maidstone West to Strood". Southeastern. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  36. ^ "Timetable 5a: London to Dartford, Gravesend and the Medway Towns via Woolwich". Southeastern. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  37. ^ "Timetable 5b: London to Dartford via Bexleyheath". Southeastern. Retrieved 21 May 2023.
  38. ^ "Timetable 5c: London to Dartford and Gravesend via Sidcup". Southeastern. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  39. ^ "Timetable 6b: London to Bromley North, Orpington and Sevenoaks via Grove Park". Southeastern. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  40. ^ "Timetable 6a: London to Catford Bridge, Elmers End and Hayes". Southeastern. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  41. ^ "Timetable 7: London to Bromley South, Orpington and Sevenoaks via Herne Hill". Southeastern. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  42. ^ "First Southeastern '395' returns after interior refurbishment". 28 August 2023.
  43. ^ Griffiths, Rhys (14 August 2023). "Southeastern reveals refurbished high-speed train as part of £27 million investment in fleet".
  44. ^ Wilcock, Rich (16 May 2023). "Southeastern Trains hit halfway point in mainline fleet upgrade".
  45. ^ Clinnick, Richard (20 April 2020). "Southeastern signs deal to lease unwanted Class 707s". Rail Magazine. Peterborough: Bauer Consumer Media. Archived from the original on 19 October 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  46. ^ "Brighter, fresher, smarter new City Beam trains enter service in South East London and North Kent". Newcastle upon Tyne: London & South Eastern Railway. 27 September 2021. Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  47. ^ Budgen, Emily (27 October 2023). "Southeastern Rail Teams with Siemens Mobility and Eversholt Rail".
  48. ^ "And Maintenance Support for New Rolling Stock for Southeastern [Tender Notice]". Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  49. ^ Smith, John (10 November 2022). "Southeastern could see new trains as tender for hundreds of carriages issued". Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  50. ^ "Units numbers 377 163 and 377 164 transfer from Southeastern to Southern exact dates. - a Freedom of Information request to SE Trains Limited". WhatDoTheyKnow. 13 December 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2023.
Preceded bySoutheastern (Govia) Operator of South Eastern franchise 2021 – 2027 Succeeded byIncumbent