Southeastern could see new trains as tender for hundreds of carriages issued

Southeastern could see new trains with a tender notice issued for the possibility of between 350 and 640 new carriages across the network.

The mainstay of the Metro fleet is currently the Networker which recently celebrated 30 years in passenger service.

There are 516 Class 465 carriages in service plus 72 Class 466 carriages giving a total Networker fleet of 588 carriages. Others are in storage.

Now 30 years old

The tender mentions an order of 350 – 570 carriages (with a potential add-on option taking carriages to 640).

Even the top end total (pre add-on) of 570 vehicles would not be enough for like-for-like replacement of Networkers, with 350 far from enough to remove all Networkers or sustain current capacity.

Southeastern also operate 36 Class 376s (a vehicle total of 180) and will eventually see 30 Class 707s with 150 vehicles.

Class 376 at Woolwich introduction

Both classes are five carriages in length which fail to utilise 12-car platforms. Let’s hope common sense prevails and variants of four are ordered to utilise longer platforms over coming decades.

Issues at Charing Cross and Woolwich Dockyard can be overcome with Selective Door Operation (SDO).

The Class 376 should see refurbishment in 2023, though it’s a limited affair with no air conditioning planned to be installed despite all sister Electrostar trains having it.

No toilets are to be added. The new tender does state toilets should be on future trains.


It appears given numbers in the tender that Southeastern would still be operating a number of Metro fleets, which contrasts with prevailing trends at other Train Operating Companies.

This tender issue by SE Trains Ltd – which is now run by the Department for Transport – is for introduction by 2027 which would give a 35 year lifespan for the Class 465 and 466.

Class 465 with new Lewisham cinema, shops and 600+ home development rising

It states “the new fleet must be manufactured and introduced into full, unrestricted operational service by October 2027”.

However, 2027 may be a tall order given just about every rolling stock introduction in the past decade has been late. In the case of the Class 701 at South Western Railway, it’s about three years late and counting.

That has delayed the transfer of all Class 707s to Southeastern.


Bids are likely from Alstom though they have seen major problems with the aforementioned Class 701s. Their Aventra platform is also used on the Elizabeth line.

The other main contender is Siemens. The Class 707 City Beams and Thameslink’s Class 700 are both produced by the company.

The tender states this, which may be ominous for Alstom:

“The business case will inform and determine which fleet or fleets are to be replaced and therefore will establish the final quantity for the core order In addition, follow-on options may be sought, to allow the fleet to be increased over time, depending on recovery of demand post pandemic Bidders will be required to propose a design based on an established platform, and demonstrate the ability to deliver on-time, obtain acceptance and introduce fleets into service in the UK, evidenced by previous procurements.”

One major concern is a net reduction in capacity and total trains based on rash decisions due to recent post-pandemic reductions.

The tube is already nearing 90 per cent usage on some days, and in the early 1990s the Networker order was trimmed due to a recession.

1990s cutbacks meant many years of overcrowding when passenger numbers bounced back.

New tower under construction beside Lewisham station

These trains will serve stations and lines due with thousands of new homes. A trip through Lewisham, Kidbrooke, Dartford and many other areas shows the scale of change.

Barely a day goes by when this site isn’t covering plans starting or approval being sought. Just this afternoon I covered plans for new homes set to be approved in Belvedere.

There are separate plans for thousands more homes in the near vicinity.

New homes beside Kidbrooke station

I also have a new post in the works right now about the next Kidbrooke Village plot.

TfL are building over 600 homes the other side of Kidbrooke station and this week Greenwich Council begun work at the site of hundreds of homes nearby.

Many homes are planned beside Bromley South station.

Convoys Wharf site overview

It’s a similar story in Greenwich and Deptford, where 3,500 homes at Convoys Wharf are finally underway.

The Charlton Riverside masterplan foresees up to 8,000 homes, with hundreds more near Woolwich Dockyard.

It should be noted though that this tender gives no guarantee an order will be made. The next stage is an Invitation to Tender in 2023.

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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.

    One thought on “Southeastern could see new trains as tender for hundreds of carriages issued

    • Surely they wouldn’t order five car trains for a network that recently saw millions spent on 12-car modern platforms?

      The epitome of short term thinking if that happens. Variants of four is far better so they can make four car run on branches/shuttles, eight car on lines to Victoria and eight/twelve on Dartford line and Hayes line to Charing Cross and Cannon Street.

      Do I detect the DfT looking to do bare minimum as the Networkers start to reach end of life?


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