Southeastern has operated regional and commuter services in south east London, Kent and parts of East Sussex since 2006
Southeastern is operated by Govia, a joint venture between leading transport operators Go-Ahead (65 per cent) and Keolis (35 per cent). It is one of the busiest networks in the country and runs the UK’s first domestic high-speed service with Javelin trains.
After being awarded an initial six-year franchise from April 2006, Southeastern was granted a two-year extension to October 2014 after performance targets had been met. Following the review of franchising, a new Direct Award contract was agreed with Southeastern and the Department for Transport. The current franchise will end in March 2018.
Southeastern put its name to a set of proposals calling for a £50 billion investment in the region’s railways, which would help to deliver 5,700 new carriages by 2021 and 6,400 additional services per week.
The action was prompted after a poll of business leaders in October 2017 revealed that 57 per cent think rail will be key to attracting inward investment after the UK leaves the EU. The proposals, outlined in the In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity plan, include commitments to:
• Strengthen rail’s contribution to the economy
• Maintain customer satisfaction
• Localise decision making and investment
• Create more jobs and increase diversity.
Rail companies would double the number of apprenticeships offered over five years to twenty thousand with a total benefit of a hundred thousand new job opportunities in the rail supply chain by 2020. David Statham, Managing Director of Southeastern, said: ‘We welcome the launch of this initiative which will help us to deliver for passengers, strengthen the economy and build on the progress we’ve made this year.
‘The latest national survey indicated that eight out ten passengers said that they were satisfied with our services. We have already invested £78 million to transform our services so that our passengers get the best possible value for their money.
‘Next year will see new routes, more technological innovation, improved journey times, and the completion of the Thameslink programme to transform the network around London Bridge.
‘Working with industry partners, Southeastern will remain at the cutting edge of economic and community development in the southeast of England.’
Southeastern runs around two thousand metro, mainline and high-speed services each weekday from the southeast of England into London across 748 route miles, along twelve main lines.
Its trains serve more London terminals than any other operator (London Victoria, London Charing Cross, London Blackfriars, London Cannon Street and St Pancras International) and some of its services also run through London Bridge – with one of the busiest train platforms in Europe. Only twenty per cent of Southeastern passengers are leisure travellers, meaning eighty per cent are commuters.
The TOC has introduced more early morning services to London and more late night services out of London. Over 75 per cent (1,400) of its daily services go into and out of London and its services are heavily geared to meet a huge and growing demand for peak hour travel. More employees have been deployed on gatelines at key stations and more customer service staff are on hand to help passengers with information and provide advice when and where it’s needed.
Southeastern has improved the number of ticketing options available to its passengers, providing them with more options and better value for money payment methods. This includes the extension of Oyster to Dartford and Swanley, and between St Pancras International and Stratford International. Southeastern has also been working to increase off-peak travel by bringing in Advance tickets and a Summer campaign was run to offer passengers a twenty per cent online discount offer on off-peak tickets.
The company has also committed to spend a further £4.8 million in station improvements, carry out a deep clean of all stations: install 63 more self-service ticket machines at stations and ticket gatelines at Folkestone Central and Canterbury East.
One of the key factors of passenger satisfaction on the Southeastern network is information provision. This has been improved by the creation of a new and improved journey planning app called On Track and by installing customer information screens at 20 key stations across the network, the obligation was for only one or more. There are 21 operational information screens that sit within depots and rest rooms, providing employees with the most up-to-date information.
An even bigger improvement has been delivered through the provision of tablets for train crew and gateline staff which provide them with up-to-date information and put them in a better position to provide correct information to passengers during times of disruption. As well as this its in-house Twitter team answers service enquires 24/7. The TOC has also repainted all of its 165 managed stations.
Customer information systems have been upgraded and improvements carried out to the company’s eyewitness security system and CCTV monitoring service based in its Control Centre.
London Bridge station was reopened on January 2 after ten days of major engineering work, marking the countdown to completion of the £1 billion redevelopment after more than five years of work. The final section of the huge, modern new concourse and the final five platforms opened for the first time, allowing Cannon Street trains to resume calling at the landmark new station.
The vast new concourse, larger than the pitch at Wembley, unites all fifteen platforms for the first time and modern facilities make the landmark station fully accessible for all. There are two new entrances on Tooley Street, which will connect the north and south sides of the station, while the completion of the five new platforms will allow Cannon Street services to once again stop at London Bridge.
The tracks through and around the station have been entirely remodelled to modernise the infrastructure and to allow more trains to travel through London, reducing delays and bringing more reliable journeys to more destinations than ever before.
Work continued on the station concourse throughout the year, fuelling the reinvigoration of the area and improving the experiences of passengers every time they travel.