Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Consultation for South Eastern rail franchise

The Department for Transport has launched a consultation for the South Eastern Rail franchise to improve services.

Passengers in the south-east are on track to get improved journeys, as the government seeks views on a new franchise.

Passengers in south east London, Kent, the Medway towns and East Sussex are on track to get improved journeys, as the Department for Transport (DfT) seeks views on a new franchise in the south-east.

South Eastern handles 640,000 passenger journeys on 1,900 train services every weekday. The government is keen that passengers, local councils and anyone with an interest in improved service on the South Eastern franchise take the opportunity to shape what the next operator will deliver.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling said:

"Passengers on a new South Eastern franchise from 2018 will enjoy modern trains with more space and a more punctual and reliable service."

"This consultation sets out what we expect the next operator to deliver for passengers, including working more closely with Network Rail to ensure a focus on performance, and innovative use of technology to improve both ticket buying and compensation if things do go wrong."

DfT’s ambitions for this franchise include:
  • creating more space for passengers by running longer trains and upgrading or replacing older trains
  • increasing reliability and reducing delays by the train operator working closely with Network Rail
  • improving compensations arrangements with a simple automated system
  • introduction of a smarter payment system, including mobile phones
  • improving customer service with staff able to respond quickly and effectively to passenger’s needs
These ambitions need an innovative new approach from the rail industry. As the Secretary of State set out in his speech on 6 December 2016, this will be the first franchise to have an integrated operating team between train services and infrastructure. This means that the new operator must form an alliance with Network Rail, working as one team to deliver a better railway for passengers.

Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport Matthew Balfour said:

"We welcome this consultation by DfT and would encourage everyone who uses the rail service in Kent to take part."

"This consultation will help Kent County Council to ensure the best rail service for all passengers using the new South Eastern franchise."

"Kent County Council is already represented in the DfT’s new franchise team. The council will respond to the consultation to ensure a better rail service for all Kent’s rail passengers in the new franchise."

Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE said:

"As one of the few London Borough’s without a tube line Bexley’s residents rely heavily on the rail service. This kind of opportunity to have a say on priorities for the future provider should not be missed. I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the survey or visit one of the information events so they can help inform the final decision."

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services Cllr Phil Filmer said:

"South Eastern is a major transport provider for Medway and thousands of our residents use the service every day. It’s therefore important that people living in Medway have their say on how their journeys could be improved and what sort of changes they’d like to see. By commenting on the upcoming consultation customers can help shape the future of travel in Medway and the surrounding areas."

People are today also being encouraged to respond to a Network Rail consultation about their Kent area route study. This contains their suggestions for improvements to the network in the south-east that will help it cope with the increased numbers of people expected to use the railway in south-east London and Kent in the next 30 years.

The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 23rd May 2017 and you can take part online here.

Add to that, as TfL are planning to take over most of the railway lines within Greater London and transfer them to the London Overground network, the opportunity to consult DfT about transferring South Eastern railway lines within London to TfL is open, so it might be worth sharing the consultation. You can view more on TfL’s plans on taking over the London rail services here. Both TfL and the London Mayor wanted to invest from their own budget to make improvements to the railway services within Greater London but I’m not sure how that stands now.

I should also mention that they propose removing the older trains. According to the Wikipedia page on Southeastern, the eldest are the Class 465 and 466Networkers’ which were built during the early to mid 1990’s.

To round the article off – here’s an update on the London Bus news from LOTS:

1) The BYD electric demonstrator that has been with Go-Ahead at Camberwell, EB 3 (LK16EZS), is likely to appear for trials in Brighton on route 50 shortly, in company with Wright’s StreetAir-EV WF LK16ETA.

2) Go-Ahead’s Citaros MECs 13, 14 and 18 are being repainted purple for use at Luton Airport, MEC18 being the first to appear in the past week. Fifteen other MECs are to be used as dual purpose driver trainers or rail replacement buses. In the case of both batches, the 21 seat + standee layout is retained.

3) The ten former Abellio E400s now with Big Bus as DA221-230 are starting to enter service on London sightseeing tours. They have been converted to part-open-top.

4) The incidence of double-decks on some single-deck routes has increased on.Stagecoach routes 165, 178, 296 and Go-Ahead (Merton) routes 152, 163, 200. These were to achieve sufficient single-decks for Stagecoach 167/549  and (from next Saturday) 362/462 and Go-Ahead 455.

As my regular readers will know, you can follow me on Twitter and Google Plus which is @CLondoner92

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Southeastern Class 465 Networker Dartford to London Charing Cross via Bexleyheath

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Class 465 Networker trains at Lewisham station

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