While the trains will be a big step forwards in many ways with air conditioning, it all seems a tad embarrassing to give names when the bulk of the fleet remains in poor condition.
It’s also the case they’ll be minimal Class 707 trains initially, and even when all arrive it’s only 30, leaving 160 Class 465 and Class 466’s after some were moved into storage.
What we’ll see is a small number of “City Beam” trains move over which have had money spent changing seat colours, while vastly more networkers are in drab and neglected condition after no serious work for 30 years beyond minimal changes for disabled access.
That didn’t rectify numerous broken seats and embedded dirt in various areas of trains and what is, to be frank, a pretty grotty environment to spend time. With a decent clean and spruce up fit for the 2020s they’d be good trains.
Then this week it was announced that £10 million was to be spent on long distance trains. Which is fine, but can they stop ignoring the mainstay of the London suburban routes?
Of course every time investment is mentioned since 2012 when the last franchise was due to end before it was extended to 2014, then continually to the present day, is “they’ll be going soon”.
But they havn’t. Nine years later now and they could be around another 10 years with the Treasury seeking severe cuts to rail. Don’t expect new stock.
In the meantime no one is making a decision on the next decade one way or another, so they become more and more tired.
To encourage people to switch to public transport it needs to be safe, affordable and appealing.
Southeastern Metro’s drift without any strategic planning for years hardly encourages people to ditch the car.
Discretionary travel is more important than ever right now.
The Class 707s will be replaced on South Western Railway with Class 701s, which have had a torturous introduction.
Southeastern’s “new” Class 707s were ordered with no toilets, and Southeastern passengers will not see any installed. Metro passengers on SE have been used to Class 376s without toilets so it won’t be a major shock, though SWR’s replacement new trains for the Class 707s do include toilets on suburban routes.
Oh and those Southeastern Class 376s? 17 years old and never had a refurb.