A number of Networker trains sent to storage over a year ago are being returned to service as newer City Beam trains due to move to Southeastern are delayed.
The remaining City Beams were supposed to arrive in September after one delay – but this now looks almost certain not to happen. SWR’s new Arterio Class 701 trains are years late and suffering a multitude of technical problems.
Thus 30 year old trains stabled in sidings near Cambridge for many months are now set to return to Southeastern – if they aren’t too clapped out.
One concerning issue in that regard is that another Networker train – which hadn’t previously headed to storage though was built by the same manufacturer – has now had to leave the fleet given apparent issues due to its age.
When built in the 1990s, the overall order was split between two companies.
Trains sent to storage were some of the most unreliable trains (the 485/2 sub class) that never saw retractioning in the late 2000s to aid reliability.
Another factor causing older stock to return is that a number of trains serving mid and long distance routes on Southeastern are believed to be heading to Southern to plug gaps there after 46 trains were scrapped in recent months causing many services to be shortened.
One of the first changes on the Southeastern was seen today as services from Victoria to Ashford switched to Networker operation.
The 465/9s Networkers with first class and far nicer interiors are set to run that route meaning fewer running along Metro routes in London. That makes sense as they’re not designed to be Metro stock, but they were nice to sit in after a day at work.
Southeastern still possess a wide variety of stock on Metro routes which goes against the thrust of other train operating companies, which is to simplify stock to improve maintenance.
They operate various types of 30 year old Networkers with different underpinnings, 16 year old Class 376s and now the late 2010s Class 707 City Beams.
Not ideal, and until a long-term plan is established, bumbling along with myriad stock seems to be the answer.