Southeastern prepare for PR campaign as they name “new” trains City Beam

Southeastern have launched a PR campaign for when second hand trains from South Western Railway begin operating from 12th September, with the name “City Beam” apparently to be used for the fleet.

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.

Courtesy Southeastern. Class 707 alongside Southeastern Networker

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.

Class 376s still sporting Connex livery

Oh and those Southeastern Class 376s? 17 years old and never had a refurb.

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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 prepare for PR campaign as they name “new” trains City Beam

  • South eastern in Greenwich is the line where theres no employees apparently working half the time, no one ever on trains to watch passengers and look after them. It’s like no one cares a jot.

    I avoid after dark after some dangerous incidents. City Beam all you like but without it feeling safe its a no from me. Driving, uber, cabs, tube (where there is much more staff) and buses are vastly better options. At least there’s a driver you can talk to. South Eastern is the runt of London transport. South western employ more staff and Southern are also better. Not for services so much as making a service that doesn’t make me on edge.

  • It all about the bottom line, Beth. Buses moved to one man operation years’ ago thereby dispensing with the conductor who was responsible for collecting the fares and could intervene if necessary. When the ‘Boris’ bus was first introduced, there was a show of having someone on the platform but their job was to help passengers on and off.

    Southeastern is doing the bare minimum with these 30 secondhand 707s and the travelling public shouldn’t be ungrateful. 🙄

  • the current trains to Victoria are dirty and dismal. Roll on Crossrail when I can bus/cycle it to Woolwich and pick it up there to West London

  • Such a genius move of Grayling to terminate those negotiations to transfer Southeastern metro services to TfL. All for political reasons, nothing to do with improving service to rail users.

  • That is very true Mike. Like the NHS transport should not be used like political pawns. Like the NHS transport is a essential to the suucess of any towwn or city.

    The powers that be need to listen to public transport users more and take their views and commenrts on board when making decisions.

    I would have like to have seen South Eastern handed over to TFL. the services may have improved and we may have then seen more staff visable at stations

  • The utter lack of reaction from the DfT / Southeastern to the delayed opening of the Elizabeth Line is simply embarrassing. Nearly three years after the new line was supposed to open, leading to faster path into the City and beyond on brand-new trains for a huge cohort of commuters, they have only now gotten around to replacing some of their ageing Networker stock. Abbey Wood was handed over to TfL, properly staffed and secured from first to last train and saw massive improvements in passenger safety and a decrease in fare evasion… and yet Southeastern commission new stations like Kidbrooke with no barriers at all, and continue to cut staff and ticket offices.

    Hopefully the end of the franchise system will inspire the DfT to do better and start fixing these systemic problems, flawed thinking and lack of forward planning, and go some way to helping the former franchises react faster to unexpected changes in their service provision.

  • The department of transport want to cut billions from the rail network and spread the failure of southeasterns lack of safety and staffing across the country.

    Heres one typical trip on southeastern last week from erith to greenwich:

    No ticket office open or staffed at Erith

    All entrances open with no need to prove I had a ticket

    Train an utter tip. Litter but also fittings and fixtures dirty and not cleaned apparently in months if not years. Seats falling off and bin fallen open.

    A group smoking near toilet

    No need to show a ticket when leaving at Greenwich as another open station with next to no staff despite being a major tourist area

    Why bother paying for this dross? A horrible environment and if a passenger pays they’re not checked regardless. Jokes to believe a small number of second hand trains and branding will fool anyone who uses this line

  • Rather replace the Class 376s and cascade them to Southern so that Southern can get rid of the Class 455 and Class 313. As Southeastern is to introduce the Class 707 “City Beam” Desiro City EMUs that have been cascaded from South Western Railway. Following the soon introduction of the Class 701 “Arterios”. And possibly Southern could order new Aventra or Desiro City rolling stocks if they don’t want the Class 376s but to replace the Class 455 and Class 313 with new trains.

  • The 376’s were never moving to Southern, it was just speculation. They’re very much staying where they are.


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