Plans to revamp 30 Southeastern trains next year will not see air conditioning or toilets added.
Southeastern’s Class 376 trains were the very last in the UK to be ordered without air con by Connex South Eastern in the 2000s – despite being based on the Electrostar platform which includes air con on all other electric models.
Older models such as the now 22 year old Electrostar Class 357 that operates commuter services on c2c include air conditioning.
Subsequent Electrostars such as those operating along commuter services on London Overground also have air con.
Despite that Southeastern claim they will not be retrofitted for potentially the next 20 years of service.
Work will be limited to seat covers and new flooring.
Southeastern’s newest trains are the Class 707s coming from South Western Railway which do have air con. So far 18 have transferred with 12 still to move.
When in service, all 30 units will still be the smallest fleet serving Metro areas by some distance, behind 36 Class 376s and far outnumbered by a total of 165 Networkers still in service with Southeastern (although some of course work longer distance routes) which recently achieved 30 years in service and will remain the bulk of the fleet with no plans for replacement.
If anything, they’re more tatty inside than the Class 376s. Both badly need a refurb, but nothing is planned for the Networkers which have existed in limbo for a decade now, and could well do so for another decade reaching 40 years in service.
The Class 376 refurbishment appears to be a modest affair, with tatty seat covers being the bulk of it. A refresh rather than refurbishment seems a more accurate description.
Even the exterior branding is now in poor shape.
In recent weeks Southeastern also announced refurbishment for long distance Javelin trains. Their other long distance trains – the Class 375 – are also seeing an upgrade.
Both are already in far better condition than the Metro fleet, and you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a completely different company given the stark difference between Metro routes and long distance services.
In London most stations are lacking staff if not completely unstaffed regardless of local housing increases (see Deptford and Kidbrooke for example).
Barriers wide open all day at busy stations (if they exist) and of course no passenger-facing staff on trains.
With future service cuts also coming to London routes serving both inner city and suburban stations plus a minimal upgrade for Class 376s and nothing for Networkers, the company now under DfT control doesn’t promise much to both commuters and leisure travellers.
For those lucky enough to live near the DLR and Elizabeth line, SE Metro show no real effort to compete and it seems obvious to drop Southeastern if possible.