Southeastern train reliability falls last year despite "best ever" claim

I’ve been emailed some information which doesn’t paint Southeastern in a great light. Firstly, they are up before Lewisham Council this week to explain issues with the service. In doing so, they claim that train reliability is the best it’s ever been:


The problem with this statement is that it’s not true. I’ve been emailed from a reader with figures obtained from the latest Modern Railways magazine showing that overall reliability is down the past year. Here it is broken down by each train type Southeastern operate on the Hayes line and other Metro services.

The first four are Networker trains from the early 1990s. The last type is newer stock which dates from around 2005:

  • 465/0. Reliability down 20.1%. 50 trains of this type.
  • 465/1. Reliability up 9.6%. 47 trains.
  • 465/2. Reliability up 31%. 15 trains.
  • 466. Reliability down 16.8%. 43 trains.
  • 376. Reliability down 7.9%. 36 trains.

A 31% increase is welcome on the 465/2’s but there’s only 15 of them. The downsides outweigh the benefits looking across all trains. Maybe Southeastern wrote this to Lewisham Council before the latest figures were out.

Looking at all train types across other franchises also reveals a pretty poor story for Southeastern. Out of 35 types of trains built since the 1990s theirs are down at 22nd, 25th, 28th, 30th, 31st in the list of reliability. The only ones below were one type at Southeastern’s management company Govias (also in charge of dreaded Southern and Thameslink) London Midland franchise and four types that are brand new, when teething troubles always have an impact.

Incidentally, TfL have improved their train reliability on routes taken over in 2015 in east London by 98% on one type of train and 240% (!) on another, though admittedly from a low base with that one. And those are on trains a decade older than most of those on Southeastern.

Other snippets of information is Southeastern admitting that HS1 routes are pretty much of no benefit to those in SE London:


And they again state they have asked the DfT for more stock and request that council’s keep pressuring the DfT, who have dithered and still havn’t confirmed how many trains, if any, will arrive and on what timescale despite promises in early 2016:


Under new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling who’d be surprised if none turn up? The high costs of operating High Speed services out in Kent will also likely deny SE London the services it needs despite being of no benefit. Another reason devolution needs to happen.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    8 thoughts on “Southeastern train reliability falls last year despite "best ever" claim

    • You seem surprised about the comment re HS services. They never were designed to benefit the commuters of SE London and I think that’s been clear from the outset?

      That’s no different to the commuters of the Home Counties not really benefiting from the long distance Intercity services provided by Virgin. Different services for different markets, not a one size fits all.

      • I know that but on occasion HS1 has been given as a reason not to invest in Metro services. Now the train company themselves pretty state it isn’t who can argue, but I bet the Department for Transport does when it comes to not providing enough trains or services in franchise discussions

    • I wonder if HS trains accepted Travelcards (they don’t at the moment) whether they would be useful for commuters going from King’s Cross to Woolwich as they could take HS to Stratford Intn’l and then get the DLR down to Woolwich? Would it lighten the load on the Greenwich line???

      • In an ideal world yes, but the line is about making money not benefiting passengers.

    • And the HS line is also now very busy and (surprise!) lacking rolling stock a few years after introduction thanks to the DfT. SE have been juggling stock on services which hasn’t pleased the punters – making a 12 carriage train into 6 to benefit another group who then got a 12-carriage service, for example, caused them grief. They lack enough for widespread 12-car running.

      • Thanks for the info. I’ve never used the Southeastern HS services.

    • I have always been happy with south Eastern compared to others. Delays or cancellations have never been their fault and cheap. Yes newer trains would be nice but who is going to pay for them? There isn’t anything really wrong except the need for longer trains. Older trains actually ventilate better due to having Windows!

      I would love tfl to take over though and think that is the adrenaline injection south east London needs. Sadiq has been a fantastic mayor but unfortunately being in the opposition means London won’t get what it needs.

    • Pingback: No additional DLR trains until 2022 – fromthemurkydepths

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