South Eastern Trains

South Eastern Trains

Infobox Rail companies
image_filename=375609 at London Victoria.jpg
logo_filename=South Eastern Trains Logo.pngnameforarea=Region
regions=Greater London
secregions=Kent, East Sussex
fleet=approx. 350
franchise=South Eastern
9. November 2003 – 31. March 2006
parent_company=Strategic Rail Authority (publicly owned)

South Eastern Trains (SET) was a British train operating company, in public ownership, who provided train services in south east London and South East England from November 2003 to March 2006.

SET operated on 773 miles (1237 km) of tracks, with 178 stations. 82% of their train services ran into London (Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, and Victoria). They were replaced by commercial operator Southeastern.


SET was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) until the franchise was re-privatised on 1 April 2006. It assumed the services following the withdrawal of Connex South Eastern’s franchise on 9 November 2003. Part of the company’s public information leaflet at the time stated that SET ‘will operate the franchise until a private company is appointed to manage the new Integrated Kent Franchise (IKF)’. Some trade unions, such as [ the RMT] , opposed the plans to re-privatise (April 2004), and campaigned for SET to continue under public ownership.

Train fares, staff and schedules remained the same. In the ensuing 18 months the company announced staffing changes involving station staffs, but pointed out that 400 more staff were employed: 90 new jobs involved in station security and ‘revenue protection’ were created. Press articles claimed that large-scale cuts in services would be undertaken; in response to strenuous opposition by local councils, these were modified to some extent been, although some fears remained about the services in the Thames Gateway area.

The routes across Kent are a legacy of the conflict between the London, Chatham and Dover Railway and South Eastern Railway, leaving several towns with more than one railway station. The two companies effectively merged in 1899 into the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. This allowed some rationalisation (eg in Thanet, Sevenoaks, Ashford and Rochester) but this was never completed leaving a legacy of competing / unconnected routes (eg Gravesend, Canterbury, Whitstable, and Maidstone). Upon grouping in 1923, the SECR was incorporated into the Southern Railway. Around half the network was electrified at 750V DC third rail by World War Two (London to; Gillingham, Maidstone East, Maidstone West and Sevenoaks). The rest of the network was electrified under British Rail’s 1955 modernisation plan. Freight only lines and the Marshlink line were not electrified (Marshlink is now operated by Southern).

Under privatisation in 1996 the franchise was awarded to Connex as Connex South Eastern but the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) stripped them of franchise in June 2003 citing ‘poor financial management’, setting up the SRA-owned South Eastern Trains. During this period the very large fleet of Mk1 Slam door stock was replaced by modern Electrostar sets, requiring significant power upgrades. Before the full opening of High Speed 1, significant power upgrades were required over two main lines together with the reopening of a section of the Gravesend Branch Line to allow Eurostars to access Waterloo.

In 1 April 2006, the SET franchise was transferred to Govia, who operate it under the name Southeastern.

Train routes

Main lines

From London termini (Victoria, London Bridge, Waterloo East, Charing Cross, Blackfriars, and Cannon Street) unless otherwise stated;

*North Kent Line - services via Dartford to Gillingham
*Chatham Main Line - services to the Kent Coast via Bromley South and Chatham, dividing at Faversham to Ramsgate and Dover
*Swanley to Ashford (via Maidstone East) Line
*South Eastern Main Line - services the Kent Coast via Ashford and Sevenoaks
**Ashford to Ramsgate (via Canterbury West) line
**Ashford to Ramsgate (via Folkestone and Dover) line (Kent Coast Line)
*Ashford via East Croydon and Redhill
*Hastings Line (Hastings via Tunbridge Wells)
*London Bridge to Tunbridge Wells (via Redhill and East Croydon) - uses part of the Brighton Main Line
*Horsham to Tunbridge Wells (via Gatwick and Redhill) - uses part of the Brighton Main Line

uburban lines

The suburban services (called ‘Metro’ in the SET timetables) run to:
* Sevenoaks: two services - one via Grove Park, and one via Bromley South
* Hayes line
* Mid-Kent Line
* Orpington via Lewisham and via Bromley South
* Swanley
* Dartford via: North Kent Line; the Bexleyheath Line and the Dartford Loop Line.
* Bromley North Line

Rural lines

*Medway Valley Line, some services extend to Tonbridge, and the occasional service to Gatwick
* Sheerness Line

Integrated Kent Franchise

On 18 January 2005 Integrated Kent Franchise was put out to tender. This included the planned domestic high-speed trains running between Kent and London on High Speed 1 as well as all of the services which had been operated by South Eastern Trains.

Bids were submitted to the Strategic Rail Authority by April 2005, from Govia (the operators of Southern), DSB/Stagecoach, GNER/MTR, and First.

On 30 November 2005, the Department for Transport announced that the franchise had been awarded to Govia [] , who operate under the name Southeastern, in keeping with their other franchise, Southern.

ee also

*List of companies operating trains in the United Kingdom
*Southeastern (train operating company)

External links

* [ Official South Eastern Trains site]
* [ Kent County Council summary of IKF proposals March 2005]
* [ Kent County Council IKF update July 2005]
* [ Transport Briefing - Latest new on Integrated Kent Franchise and CTRL developments]

s-ttl|title=Operator of South Eastern franchise
years=2003 - 2006

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