The Anonymous Widower

Southeastern Signs Deal To Lease Unwanted Class 707s

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

New trains made redundant before they even entered traffic are set for a new home, with Southeastern signing a deal to lease the 30 five-car Class 707s.

These pictures show Class 707 trains.

Having ridden in the trains many times, the trains don’t seem to have a major problem, except for the high step, which isn’t very wheel-chair friendly.

I can summarise the Class 707 fleet as follows.

  • Thirty trains of five cars.
  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Metro interior with lots of space, as I wrote about in The Space In A Class 707 Train.
  • Air-conditioing
  • 275 seats
  • Built in 2014.
  • Wi-fi

Looking at Southeastern fleet, they have a fleet of Class 376 trains.

  • Thirty-six trains of five cars.
  • 75 mph operating speed.
  • Metro interior.
  • 228 seats
  • Built in 2004

Could it be that the Class 707 trains will replace these?

  • They are ten years younger
  • They have more seats.
  • They are 25 mph faster and probably have better acceleration.

The Class 707 have better passenger features like air-conditioning, power sockets and wi-fi. They may also have shorter dwell times in stations, just because they are newer trains.

On the other hand, the fleet is six trains smaller.

I do wonder though, if the Class 707 trains are faster over a metro route, than the Class 376 trains, because of better performance, does this mean that fewer trains can work Southeastern’s metro routes?

Kent On The Cusp Of Change

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways discusses the improvements that may be made by the new franchisee of the Southeastern franchise.

In Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Elimination Of Slow Trains, I outlined the reasons for replacing the 75 mph trains in Southeastern’s fleet.

There are three sub-fleets of 75 mph trains.


  1. The Class 465 and 466 trains generally work in ten-car formations of 2 x Class 465 and 1 x Class 466 trains.
  2. The Class 465 and 466 trains have toilets, but the Class 376 trains don’t.
  3. The Class 465 and 466 trains work both Main Line and Metro services.
  4. Surely, 75 mph trains will slow up Main Line services.
  5. I doubt that Class 707 trains can run Main Line services, unless they were updated with toilets.

It should also be noted that the trailer cars of Class 465 trains may be needed to lengthen Class 165 and 166 trains, as I wrote about in Shuffling The Class 165 Trains, where I estimated that sixty trailer cars would be needed from the Class 465 fleet.

I can see an intricate strategy being developed with the following objectives.

  • Introduce the Class 707 trains on Southeastern’s Metro services.
  • Withdraw sixty Class 465 trains so they can donate trailer cars to lengthen Class 165/166 trains.
  • Reorganise some services, so Main Line services can be all 100 mph trains.

Southeastern may need to acquire some additional rolling stock.

The first two fleets are 75 mph trains, but the Class 379 trains are 100 mph units, that could be ideal to support Southeastern’s Main Line services.


The Class 707 trains look like a good replacement for the Class 376 trains.

But because there appears to be a need for trailer cars to strengthen GWR’s Class 165 and Cass 166 trains, there also appears to be a need to withdraw some Class 465 trains, which creates the need for some detailed planning.

April 20, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , ,


  1. It would be good to see these nearly new trains put to productive use after they leave SWR. I shall be sorry to see them leave ‘my’ region. In my view, they are among the best-looking modern units, particularly in the SWT red livery, which really suits them.

    Apart from being newer, the 707s’ quicker door opening and the wide through-train gangways will allow faster loading and better distribution of passengers in the peaks, and they’ll also be easier and quicker to clean because of the plain interiors.

    A higher maximum train speed is really an irrelevance on a commuter railway, where line speeds are low and congestion rarely allows any scope for getting above 60mph. It’s much more important to have faster acceleration/deceleration (long a feature of Swiss and German railways, for example, but sadly lacking here) and shorter dwell times. The latter can be achieved through smart, disciplined station working – but that’s rarely experienced these days – and faster door operation, as mentioned.

    The 707s are unlikely to offer anything better for the passenger in terms of comfort or convenience, but there’s no surprise in that. Almost all recent rolling stock has proved to be less comfortable than what went before (the outstanding example of an anti-passenger train being the ghastly 700s). Apart from wi-fi and disabled toilets, most new stock offers fewer facilities and duller, more spartan interiors than provided in their predecessors.

    The same lack of design flair in train interiors applies equally to modern stations, which follow a fashion for depressing, industrial-grey environments. Westminster underground station, as rebuilt for the JLE, is a prime example; perhaps the designer was inspired by the man-machine dystopia of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis! The proposed designs for Old Oak Common HS2 station appear to be part of the neo-Stalinist Amazon warehouse architectural aesthetic. These are stations as ‘passenger processing facilities’ in which the only welcoming, human-scale elements are likely to be retail outlets. But in a post-coronavirus world, how many retailers will be able to afford those sky-high rents and declining footfall?

    When trains and stations are specified, passenger comfort and convenience have clearly come a very long way behind operational, maintenance and price concerns – if they have been considered at all. That could prove to be a very bad strategy in what one major transport business has called ‘the new 1.5-metre economy’ – ie one in which social distancing is the norm for years to come. The lockdown may well spell the end of the traditional office, just as it has already permanently damaged high street retail and parts of the leisure industry. With many of their markets permanently affected, the railways will have to work a lot harder to retain customers. If TOCs fail to improve their offering, we could soon see a 1970s-style slide into over-priced, unreliable irrelevance – aptly summed up by the late lamented Sir Peter Parker as ‘the crumbling edge of quality’.

    TOCs could start the fightback now by specifying railway carriage seats that are as comfortable as those of the average private car or long-distance coach.

    Comment by Stephen Spark | April 20, 2020 | Reply

    • One point about your 1.5 metre economy is how many cars comply with this specification?!

      If anything covid19 could prove a boom for railways given the limitations of planes compared to trains and even more so the larger gauge trains that HS2 will allow including duplex double deck trains allowing passengers to spread out more than cramped aircraft.

      These trains are basically sister units to classes 700 and 707 and will thus work together with class 700 over stretches of route from
      London Bridge Station .

      Southeastern has suffered from having its contract renewed and so replacement of its PEP derived stock has still not been ordered and so this news should allow more capacity or withdrawal off any trains in a bad condition ahead of replacement orders arriving.

      I’m not sure whether these trains would be suitable for operation on the East London Line as that would allow extension of overground from New Cross onto Southeastern route providing through services from Dalston Junction/ Highbury and Islington to southeastern destinations.

      As for modern construction I suggest you sit in St Pancras International Station at the end of Eurostar platforms in January and experience how freezing cold the wind through the large Victorian entrance is !

      Comment by Melvyn | April 20, 2020 | Reply

  2. “Southeastern has “suffered” from having its contract renewed and so replacement of its PEP derived stock has still not been ordered ”

    Ttheir older stock being of the early 90’s I doubt they are desperate to replace their stock, it’s more likely they need additional capacity, thus these units.

    I would have thought the 458s would suit them better, having one more powered unit (DM-TS-TS-MS-DM) and the 707’s would better suit battery operation having three trailer carriages… And there is 36 of them rather then ‘just’ 30… If the 707s actually were to be equipped with batteries, they would better suit Southerns non electrified routes (Uckfield & Ashford – Eastbourne) since the 171 have been leased on to East Midlands Railways…

    Comment by Daniel Altmann | April 20, 2020 | Reply

  3. […] Railway is transferring thirty Class 707 trains to Southeastern. I wrote about the transfer in Southeastern Signs Deal To Lease Unwanted Class 707s. As each pair of Class 707 trains, could release two Class 465 trains containing four trailer cars, […]

    Pingback by Shuffling The Class 165 Trains « The Anonymous Widower | April 23, 2020 | Reply

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