Further City Beam trains transfer to Southeastern

The transfer of City Beam trains to Southeastern from South Western Railway has resumed after a year as further Networkers head to storage.

With the possibility of SWR’s new Class 701 trains finally entering service this year after four year’s delay, a further two out of 30 City Beams moved over recently bringing the total to 18.

Networkers will remain the biggest fleet by some distance on Metro routes

They will however not be increasing Southeastern’s fleet size and in turn further Networker trains will depart for storage and likely scrap. Firstly, with reduced services there’s no need and second, even if there was stabling space is lacking across the SE network for a net increase.

Bulk of fleet

When all 30 City Beams are in service with Southeastern their Networkers will remain the bulk of the fleet for some years to come.

Compared to 30 City Beam trains, they’ll be more than 120 Class 465 Networkers still running and around 30 Class 466 Networkers (which are the two-car variety). The Class 707 City Beams will thus remain a minority of the fleet serving Metro routes.

Networkers will remain main fleet serving areas such as Lewisham

The oldest Networkers are now approaching 31 years old and while a tender was put out for replacement almost a year ago this has yet to be confirmed by government who now own and operate Southeastern and must approve the measure.

Given they seem intent on rail cuts both to services and staffing levels there’s no guarantee they will approve new rolling stock – and even if they do arrivals will be years off.

Some Networkers are in extremely poor condition internally with broken fittings and years of grime across interiors

In the meantime further City Beams will be welcome for their air con in weather such as this weeks.

They do have fewer seats than Networkers given their tight three-seat configuration. Some people like those but personally I’ll always stand rather than wedge in.

They also have plug sockets and walk-through carriages.



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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.

3 thoughts on “Further City Beam trains transfer to Southeastern

  • Interesting that some people weren’t happy when it was a private company and now that it’s publicly owned they are still unhappy

    • It’s rather more nuanced than that. Public ownership comes under a few variations. There’s a public body that functions with operational and some degree of financial independence eg TfL and there’s micro management from the Dept for Transport at an extreme level (far more than British Rail for example) with the intention of deep cuts at the behest of the Treasury.

      The rail network was never fully private anyway in terms of regulation and finance. Govt set fares, type of trains and pretty much everything else under the franchised system. The rail companies were the middle man who took the flack for what comes from Whitehall.

  • British Rail were often starved of cash but had operational independence from central government with in-house expertise. They worked wonders by the end of their existence with what they had. Electrifying lines, building major new fleets and building stations like Woolwich Arsenal with relative pennies.

    Now we see government ministers and civil servants without much real idea of operating a railway intervene down to the minute level while also intent on funding reductions. It’s the worst of all worlds.


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