Southeastern has issued a notice to train manufacturers that it’s looking to buy a new fleet of trains, with between 350 and 570 carriages to go into service by late 2027.

Southeastern says that it’s looking to buy the new fleet of trains to replace a “significant quantity of Southeastern’s ageing fleet”, with the main aim of reducing its cost of maintaining the older fleet of trains.

In the tender, the train company said that the core order will be between 350 and 570 carriages, with an option for up to 70 additional vehicles. The variability of the order is due to the company still working out the financing for the new trains, and how maintenance would be carried out. Southeastern is also looking at buying more trains in the future, if passenger demand requires it.

Although the tender document doesn’t say which trains will be replaced, Southeastern’s oldest trains are its Networker trains – Class 465 and 466, which average 30 years old at the moment, and the train company has 588 carriages for those older trains. That coincidentally matches closely the tender document requirement for replacement train carriages.

Class 465 train at Gravesend (c) Southeastern

The key requirements for the new trains are that they can work across the entire network, except HS1, come with toilets and air conditioning and have interiors that are suitable for metro and mainline operation.

They also need to come with battery capacity not only to support movement in depots where third-rail power is not available but also to be able to run for up to 20 miles on the mainline network without power, should there be interruptions to the power supply.

The contract would be for both supplying the trains and their ongoing maintenance, initially for between 6-10 years, with an option to extend to at least 35 years, the minimum expected lifespan of the new trains.

The companies that express an interest will be invited to negotiate the terms later in 2023 before the tender is finally issued.

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28 comments
  1. David says:

    I doubt Southeastern would actually be ‘buying’ the trains outright. Trains in the U.K. are leased from the ROSCOS which are basically banks. And since Southeastern is now basically just part of the Department for Transport I can’t see the government wanting to spend such a massive amount at the moment. Personally I’d rather they bought some more carriages for the high speed trains so they could have a lot more 12 carriage trains- 6 isn’t enough. Networkers are old but they do have the big advantage of a lot more seats compared to the newer designs of trains.

  2. PeterR says:

    Might the requirement “to be able to run for up to 20 miles without (electric) power” also allow the proposed service to Hoo to go ahead? Not quite adequate for Ashford to Rye though — Ashford to Ore is 25.5 miles.

    • James Miller says:

      There are also what could be called sweeteners. Supposing a train company offered Southeastern battery-electric trains with an Ashford-Ore capability, would they be more likely to get the order?

  3. Jack jaye says:

    If it ain’t broke why fix it?

  4. Mike Oxlong says:

    Who researches this rubbish
    >They also need to come with battery capacity not only to support movement in depots where third-rail power is not available but also to be able to run for up to 20 miles on the mainline network without power.

    Laden, unladen, maximum capacity. Is every carriage also a powercar? If the mainline network “Suddenly” loses power, then we’d be in a much more serious situation than wanting to perform a few movements.

    • ChrisC says:

      If this was a technical article in a technical magazine then you have a point but this is a news site and such details really aren’t relevant to the vast majority of readers.

    • Michael says:

      What an incredibly rude thing to say. This is a non-technical blog and nothing about what was said was inaccurate. If you want more info go read an industry mag.

  5. Kai Chung says:

    It’s about time the ageing Networkers were replaced with modern technology like the Piccadilly Line and the 2024 Tube Stock. The Networkers designs date from around 1989/1990 time which is ancient as far as microprocessor controlled trains are considering there are many obsolete electronics on board them.

  6. NG says:

    Surely it is Class 376 that need scrapping as soon as possible? And not the other “Networkers” ??
    Horrible things – 376 do not have toilets, along with miniscule, dark windows & uncomfortable seating.

    • Driver says:

      Apart from the 707 all of them need scrapping. But to be honest if they retrofit toilets on the 376 they can still squeeze a few good years out of them and besides they are lovely to drive unlike the networkers.

  7. At Stephanie says:

    Hi my name is Stephanie
    It would be great to get new trans in place. Because. It not good to keep go on stick every moth.wen people got plans to meet up with friends. And go out in London. To go .and see a show .and they have to cancel it .because off all of this train stick it need to stop naw it mack every one cross. And sress out because if it From Stephanie

  8. John says:

    The timing of this announcement is very worrying, coming as it does on the eve of SouthEastern making huge cuts to their suburban services.

    They risk finding themselves in the position where they’ll have insufficient trains to increase the service back to normal

  9. Loyd Leifman says:

    WHY!!!buy new trains when they can’t even run the existing trains on time.They hike prices yearly stating trains will run on time,but,as usual they never do.All these train companies are out to rip the public off whilst making millions in profit.They are no different to the energy companies.

    • Someone says:

      And bare in mind, staff haven’t had a raise in years…

    • Michael says:

      Brilliant Loyd, we have been ripped off for years.
      Pity there not so keen to give us cheaper fares.
      The more modern rolling stock is usually awful.
      A useless government which have no interest in decent
      Public transport.
      Also as a regular visitor to Europe I’m so impressed with
      The systems they have.Its embarrassing to compare

  10. Gary H says:

    Have never quite understood why Southeastern charge a premium ticket rate for using the supposedly high speed service between London St Pancras and Ramsgate ( via Whitstable, Herne Bay etc. ) High Speed ? It’s nothing of the sort. The first 18 minutes as far as Ebsfleet may be, but after that it’s the regular stop start stop start coastal bucket and spade Express service, and given the increased cost for the privilege of using the service, I’m not particularly enamoured or impressed with the Hitachi Javelin trains.
    London St Pancras to Herne Bay on ‘high speed’ 1hr 20,
    London Victoria to Herne Bay on regular service 1 hr 27
    Whoopee doo !!

    • Chris Fribbins says:

      You only pay the premium in on the journey portion from Ebbsfleet to St Pancras, the rest of the journey is priced the same as non-high speed, or from Ashford to St Pancras. HS1 charges are a lot higher than the traditional network.

  11. MilesT says:

    No Digital displays, Accessible toilets/doors, bike space, WiFi and AC/USB power ports in seats in the requirement?

    (Stadler would probably offer all of that as a matter of course)

  12. Knowallknownothing says:

    Class 375/6 trains are not even midway through their lifespan, Networkers will carry on until termination due to unavailability of crucial spare parts makes them impossible to run. Southeastern runs for the benefit of the railway and not passengers especially those in the metro areas.

  13. Knowallknownothing says:

    Ps the 11 December timetable change which had no consultation with the travelling public is a smoke screen, and whilst everyone will be up in arms about it they will then change it early next year to what they really want to run and everyone will say ah that’s much better and yet again Southeastern will have the last word and walk away laughing

  14. AndrewR says:

    Hooray!
    Southeastern trains smell horrible.
    New trains soon please!

  15. Timothy says:

    It’s now the time for Southeastern to order new trains. The Networkers are old and very outdated plus not being maintained very well. The 707s have shown they work well on Southeastern and are very reliable. So Southeastern need to do the smart thing and just order a 2nd batch of 707s, but they need to be 6 cars each so they can max out to be 12 cars and they do need to have 1 accessible toilet on board.

  16. Oggie says:

    The class 465 are now really old and need replacement the 376 just need new seat covers deep clean and a lick of paint, I really like the class 707 when your lucky to get one fresh and clean, so the sooner the better we get some new trains please.

  17. Paul says:

    I’m with the others who have said to order more of the 707’s. Just need a toilet and they could do the mainline work and suburban too. Proven reliability and drivers seem to like them. Win/Win

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