Southeastern has confirmed that it is looking for a fleet of new or upgraded trains to replace its ageing Metro service trains.

Class 465 train at Gravesend (c) Southeastern

Southeastern operates a mixed fleet of trains across its network, which includes HS1 services, long-distance services, and local metro services. The metro services are a mix of old Bombardier Electrostar trains, even older Networkers, and some newer City Beam trains acquired from South Western Railway.

The state-controlled company says that the order for replacement trains could be the largest investment in the Southeastern network since the introduction of the high-speed service in 2009.

Southeastern says that it has published an Invitation to Negotiate with a number of shortlisted bidders, and the options range from an entirely new fleet of trains, bringing in trains from other operators, or refurbishing the existing fleet. The timescales for introducing the trains will also be developed as part of the procurement process.

The latest Notice follows from an announcement in late 2022 that the train company would look to buy a new fleet of trains, with between 350 and 570 carriages, which closely matches the size of the fleet of Southeastern’s oldest trains, their Networkers.

Steve White, Managing Director, Southeastern, said: “Despite the sterling work of our people to keep our current Metro fleets in service, our customers will know only too well that many of the trains are tired and, in terms of accessibility and customer facilities, have fallen behind what is available elsewhere on the Southeastern network and across the country.”

At the moment, it’s too early to say what the new (or refurbished) trains will look like or what facilities they will have. However, in a video, Steve White emphasised the focus on providing level boarding between train and platform, although noting that with such a wide range of platform heights and curves on the network, that will prove a challenge.

And yes, toilets will be retained on the trains.

However, with the notice to bid just issued and expectations of a contract being signed next year, it could be several years before the first of the new or refurbished trains carry passengers.

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5 comments
  1. Martinez M says:

    Returning the time-tables to before the ‘new/improved and reliable timetable’ would be better!
    The timetables for the Woolwich, Bexleyheath and Sidcup lines are a total farce & of course it’s just as unreliable as it always has been.
    Long wait times even during peak times -loss of direct services to mainline stations. It’s basically an off peak service being priced at peak fares.
    The Networkers are still the preferred option (IMO). More seats and far more comfortable bar the lack of air-con.

    • Steven says:

      Completely agree. A fuller timetable of comfy trains with lots of seats is far preferable to a rubbish service of shiny new trains with a scattering of hard seats, lots of standing room and unnecessarily bright lighting.

  2. Alex says:

    At the risk of sounding like a pedant, the headline suggests that a new fleet is in the office, whereas it is only one of three options being explored, including dreaded refurbishment.

  3. Alex says:

    *Offing not office!

  4. Gordon says:

    “would look to buy a fleet”. Well Merseyrail have, but South Eastern will be leasing, I’d think, as now? A small point, mind.

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