Southeastern Services Begin under Operator of Last Resort

Yesterday (17 October) marked the first day that Southeastern services started running under the DfT’s Operator of Last Resort, following the end of the franchise.

A Southeastern Class 707
A Southeastern Class 707

The British government announced last month that London & Southeastern Railway would be stripped of its franchise following a ‘significant breach’, costing the taxpayer 25m GBP. Despite the network now being in the hands of the government’s operator, the City Beam trains will continue to be rolled out and all tickets remain valid.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s Route Director for Kent, said:

“As Southeastern moves into new ownership, we’ll continue to work closely in partnership as we always have done to deliver the safe and on-time railway that passengers across the region deserve. We will continue to put passengers first and be responsive to the needs of everyone across the network.

“SE Trains officially took control of services from the previous owner, London South Eastern Railway (LSER), at 0200 on Sunday 17 October.

“SE Trains will work to rapidly complete the roll out of modern class 707 ‘City Beam’ trains, focusing on running clean, punctual services for passengers. The 30-strong fleet will create more space on busy metro routes, providing walk-through carriages and air conditioning to create more spacious and comfortable journeys.”

The government emphasised that the decision to place Southeastern in the hand of the Operator of Last Resort had nothing to do with Southeastern’s frontline staff, which it said had been “instrumental in delivering services throughout the Covid pandemic”.

The government will move Southeastern back into the hands of a private operator under a new Passenger Services Contract, which keeps the revenue risk with the government.

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