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.
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.
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.
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.