Southeastern’s new trains from South Western Railway due next week

The first of 30 new trains to move from South Western Railway to Southeastern are set to arrive next week.

While new to Southeastern, the stock has been in operation with South Western Railway since 2017. Yet even before turning a wheel in service they were deemed surplus to requirements by the then-new franchise holder. Southeastern are to now take over the lease. The new trains are very similar in external appearance to Thameslink stock working the Woolwich line. It’s worth pointing out again here that no franchise (the railway’s ownership was messy before – and is now changing yet again) owns the trains they operate – and approval for new stock and changes is almost always reliant on approval from central Government.

Trains with declassified first class (the 465/9s) may be the first to go

The first trains to move will assist with training and won’t be in passenger use or some time. What their eventual role will be remains unknown – with the pandemic throwing an additional spanner in the works. It’s unlikely to mean any net addition of carriages but replace some older Networkers which could be sent to scrap or reconfigured into use elsewhere in the country.

Workhorse of SE London for 30 years

The 30 new Class 707 trains will bring much-welcome air con, though do lack toilets. They have fewer seats than Networkers though will many miss the awkward middle seat in a row of three in particular?

Building work now underway on this tower in Lewisham

Passenger use has of course plummeted since March 2020. Many will ask whether extra capacity is even needed (ignoring the reliability factor of procuring newer trains). Well, if we take a broader view over a mid to long time-span the answer is likely to be yes. As regular readers will know I frequently cover new developments across south east London alongside overall plans and strategies such as the London Plan which establishes “opportunity areas”.

New homes – picture taken from train at Dartford

Many areas served by Southeastern are in line for major housebuilding – which follows large-scale plans already underway. Pass through Dartford, Kidbrooke, Lewisham and others for a glimpse of what’s happening now – let alone in five years.

New homes in Kidbrooke

I’m not including the Greenwich line here as Crossrail will assist. If we did, plans such as 1,750 homes near Plumstead station approved last month could be factored in. That development is far closer to the Southeastern line than Crossrail.

Approved last month

Most new developments are car-free and future residents will be reliant on public transport not just for work but also leisure journeys. While the peak crunch may be alleviated in the short term, in time it should grow again alongside off-peak travel.

Lewisham student tower. Changing work patterns mean little to travel from future tower occupants

With that in mind these new trains will help, but in 10 years may hit the limit of usefulness. They are a maximum of 10-carriages on a network built for 12. Network Rail have spent tens of millions enabling 12-car trains over the past decade. New 10-car trains do not make full use of new longer platforms.

But capacity constraints look to be something for the future, and with so many unknowns at least passengers have modern stock to look forward to. Stifling carriages in July may be go, though you may not have a seat to enjoy the cool.





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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.

    9 thoughts on “Southeastern’s new trains from South Western Railway due next week

    • And the South West trains have other exciting features like power points to charge laptops etc, at least those on the Waterloo to Weymouth route usually did.

    • I’d rather have the trolly bloke come through the train with a bite to eat or a drink than have a socket, but I read they are being took away

      • These are metro trains so no trolley on SE. Not much use for sockets either on short routes though a minority may use them

    • Thought they were replacing 376s not 465s for rush hour services and no bogs on board?

    • be prepared for complaints…. No loos, hard as nails seats & state of the art techno …that doesn’t work ..I travel a lot on these units…..awful

      • They will operate the same routes as 376 which have all those attributes.

        • When the 376s were introduced Southeastern promised to have toilets at all stations. Very few have been provided or upgraded.

          Have ridden on the 707 trains out of Waterloo – they are not that uncomfortable.

    • What routes will Southeastern will allow the Class 707s to be used on. And will they be replacing the Class 376 on the suburban services such as Dartford Loop, Hayes Line, Orpington and Sevenoaks services to & from London Victoria, London Charing Cross, London Bridge, London Blackfriars and London Cannon Street stations.

    • The onboard display is better and includes a clock. Plenty of room for standing, but I don’t think we will see the rush hour back for quite some time.

      @Ken: I have done the occasional longish journey from Waterloo and don’t think the ride is too bad, but I do have plenty of padding.


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