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Southeastern is a train operating company in the United Kingdommarker. It began operations in south-east England on 1 April 2006 as franchisee for the Integrated Kent Franchise (IKF), replacing the prior publicly-owned operator South Eastern Trains on the former South East Franchise. It serves the commuter routes to south-east Londonmarker, Kentmarker, and parts of East Sussexmarker.


Southeastern serve the main London stations of Charing Crossmarker, Victoriamarker, Blackfriarsmarker, Cannon Streetmarker, London Bridgemarker and recently St Pancrasmarker. The Southeastern network has a mileage of 480, with 182 stations. About 82% of its services run to/from 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 (LSER). 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 Eastmarker, 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 privatisation 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 14 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 Transportmarker, until the bidding for the new IKF 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).

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. In December 2008, as part of the franchise agreement, responsibility for the Redhill to Tonbridge Line was handed over to Southern.

In March 2009 the bay platforms at London Blackfriarsmarker closed for reconstruction of the station as part of the Thameslink Programme. Services which previously terminated at Blackfriars were extended to Kentish Town, St Albans, Luton or Bedford. Southeastern operate these services jointly with First Capital Connect using 20 dual voltage Class 319 as well as newly built 377 Electrostars.

Current routes

Current off-peak services. Originating from central London, these services are

  • [2] to:
    • - 2tph

Other services include;

  1. From 22 March, worked north of Blackfriars by First Capital Connect. Weekends trains terminate at Victoriamarker.
  2. From 29 June

December 2009 Timetable

13 December 2009 timetable changes on Southeastern services.

High speed services

Currently (as of November 2009) Southeastern run a weekday preview service over High Speed 1 between and , with a few services extending to , Ramsgatemarker via or Dovermarker. From 13 December 2009 Southeastern plan to operate a regular high-speed domestic service on High Speed 1 into and out of London St Pancras. 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 twenty-nine six-carriage Shinkansen-derived high-speed ‘A-trains’ have been delivered from Hitachi for this route. Known as Class 395, this is Hitachi’s first train sale in Britain. The colour scheme for the high-speed trains is dark blue - using the same corporate colour as their logo. The services are marketed as Southeastern Highspeed and the trains will be named after British personalities associated with speed.

When the full service is running trains will use High Speed 1 calling at Stratford International and Ebbsfleet Internationalmarker. Trains for the Medway towns and Favershammarker will leave the high speed line at Ebbsfleet and continue via the North Kent line and Chatham Main Line. Trains for Dover Priorymarker and Margatemarker via Ashford Internationalmarker will leave the high speed line at Ashford.The planned off peak service is for two trains per hour from St Pancras Internationalmarker to Faversham, one train per hour to Dover via Ashford and one train per hour to Margate via Ashford and Canterbury Westmarker.

Mainline services

On the Southeastern Main Line, there is planned a half hourly stopping service from London Charing Crossmarker, which will divide at Ashford Internationalmarker and continue to Dover Priorymarker and Canterbury Westmarker or Ramsgate via Dover and Ramsgate via Canterbury. Also planned is a half hourly direct service from London Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wellsmarker. These replace the half hourly stopping service from London Charing Cross to Ashford, the services to Dover and Ramsgate via Canterbury West and to Ramsgate via Dover and Margate via Canterbury West, which both divide at Ashford International together with the Tunbridge Wells to Tonbridgemarker shuttle. A new stopping service will be introduced between London Cannon Streetmarker and Orpingtonmarker via Lewishammarker. Services from to will be extended to Tonbridge.

On the Chatham Main Line the London Victoriamarker to half hourly service is replaced by an hourly train from Victoria to . The half hourly services from London Victoria to and will both additionally call at and , with one service also stopping at and the other at .

On the Maidstone East Line the services from London Cannon Streetmarker to Ashford Internationalmarker via Maidstone Eastmarker, from London Victoriamarker to Maidstone East and Victoria to Canterbury West via Ashford are replaced by a half hourly Victoria to Ashford service, one semi-fast and one stopping.

Other changes include:
  • Four trains an hour between Tunbridge Wells and Charing Cross
  • Three trains an hour at Longfieldmarker and Meophammarker
  • Medway Valley service (Strood to Paddock Wood) extended to Tonbridge.

Metro services

On the North Kent Line the service from London Charing Crossmarker to Gillinghammarker will run via Lewishammarker and Woolwich Arsenalmarker instead of via Greenwichmarker. The service from London Cannon Streetmarker to Plumsteadmarker via Lewisham and Woolwich will be dropped as a result.

Other changes include:
  • Six trains an hour between Greenwich and Slade Greenmarker.
  • Six trains an hour between Lewisham and Barnehurstmarker.
  • Four trains an hour between Hither Green and Orpington.

Future expansion

Olympic Javelin Shuttle

The Olympic Javelin or Javelin

is a planned high-speed train shuttle service announced as part of the successful London 2012 Olympic bidmarker.
It is an integral part of the plan to improve public transport in Londonmarker in readiness for the 2012 Summer Olympics, an area of the bid that was initially regarded as being poor by the International Olympic Committeemarker (IOC).

The service will run for the duration of the games, between St Pancras International stationmarker and Ebbsfleet International stationmarker, via Stratford International stationmarker, which will be situated within the planned Olympic Parkmarker. The British Olympic Association applied to register Javelin as a UK trademark on 19 July 2005 - this was granted on 2 June 2006. 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.Modern Railways, Cover date January 2009, front page. Published by Ian Allan Limited

The journeys from St Pancras Internationalmarker are expected to take seven minutes and those from Ebbsfleet Internationalmarker ten minutes, with trains running in both directions every six minutes. St. Pancras will allow for connections with the Underground, and trains to/from the Midlandsmarker, Scotlandmarker, and North of England. In order to release track capacity, Eurostar trains will not stop at Stratford during the games, so spectators arriving from the Continent will have to change at Ebbsfleet. The planned suspension of Southeastern Highspeed services during the Games is to be reviewed. It is expected that over 80% of Olympic spectators will travel to and from the venues by rail. Services to the Olympic Parkmarker are projected to have a capacity of 240,000 travellers per hour, with around 25,000 of those using the Javelin service.

Thameslink Programme

By the conclusion of the Thameslink Programme in 2015, 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. Services to Dartford are currently discounted due to timetabling reasons. Peak hour trains are planned from Tunbridge Wells and Paddock Wood via London Bridge together with trains from from Maidstone East, Sevenoaks and Orpington via the Catford Loop.


Like its sister franchise Southern, Southeastern is committed to introducing Oyster Pay As You Go on its London routes but is yet to implement. Oyster PAYG is available from Elephant & Castle, London Blackfriars and City Thameslink.


Figures released by the ORR rate punctuality at 93.5% (PPM) over the first quarter of the financial year 2009/10 and 90.3% moving annual average (MAA) for the 12 months up to 30 June 2009.

Rolling stock

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

Current fleet

Southeastern have, from the 22nd March timetable change, started to operate Class 319 dual-voltage units shared with First Capital Connect (FCC) to operate most services via London Blackfriarsmarker as part of the Thameslink programme. Southeastern operates the service south of Blackfriars, whilst FCC operates north. This will restore services that were 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 FCC.
 Class  Image  Top speed   Number  Cars per set  Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 375 Electrostar 100 160 147 3/4 Mainline and metro routes 1999-2001
Class 376 Suburban Electrostar 75 120 36 5 Metro and limited mainline routes 2004-2005
Class 395 Javelin 140 225 29 6 High Speed 1 services 2006-2009
Class 465 Networker 75 120 147 4 Metro and Mainline routes 1991-1994
Class 466 Networker 75 120 43 2 Metro and mainline routes 1993-1994

Past fleet

The arrangement with First Capital Connect regarding 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 75 120 12 3 Rural routes 1979-1980 Withdrawn 2008


See also


  1. "First photos of FCC 377s released" - Today's Railways, Issue 84, p67
  2. Vision for Southeastern Govia, retrieved 17 September 2009
  3. Southeastern Press Release
  4. Railway Herald Issue 195 p6
  5. London to Ashford International, Canterbury West, Folkestone, Dover and Ramsgate draft timetable
  6. London to Sevenoaks, Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Battle and Hastings draft timetable
  8. Medway Valley Line draft timetable
  9. [London Victoria to Gillingham, Sheerness-on-Sea, Faversham, Dover and Ramsgate (inc High Speed) draft timetable]
  10. London to Ashford International via Maidstone East draft timetable
  11. Southeastern: Mainline services from December 2009
  13. Southeastern: Metro services from December 2009

External links

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