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Author Topic: SouthEastern to scrap first class entirely as just 28 annual ticket holders left  (Read 757 times)
ChrisB
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« on: October 01, 2022, 05:08:06 pm »

From MyLondon

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SouthEastern is making some bold changes to respond to the changes in 'post-Covid' travel across its London, East Sussex and Kent network. As well as making substantial changes to its timetable which will see most trains retimed and many re-routed, it is taking steps to improve the overall passenger experience. Notably, it is scrapping first class to make four million extra seats per year available to standard class ticket holders.

Just 28 annual season ticket holders currently pay for first class tickets on Southeastern services, meaning there are dozens of empty seats on each Southeastern train which has first class. The train operator has already removed first class on its South East London 'Metro' services and its high-speed Javelin trains which run to and from St Pancras and Stratford do not have any first class seating.

SouthEastern, like most public transport operators across the capital, has seen a collapse in the number of regular commuters on peak services. Whilst some continue to still travel at the height of the Monday to Friday peak and pay for first class, more are choosing to commute either midweek-only or go into the office for part of the working day. Passenger demand is now hovering between 60 and 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels on average across its network. At weekday peak times, this is just 56 per cent.

The routes in London affected by this change are Victoria-Ramsgate/Dover Priory, Victoria-Maidstone East/Ashford, Charing Cross-Ramsgate/Dover Priory and Charing Cross-Hastings/Ore. On these routes, there will also be some important timetable changes from December 11 and some trains will be lengthened or shortened to better utilise resources. c2c, Elizabeth line and London Overground are London's other train operators which do not have first class.

In addition to the declassification of first class on all trains, SouthEastern will also start rolling out e-ticket readers on its ticket barriers and smartcard ticket holders will start to be offered automatic delay repay. Some of SouthEastern's trains will also be refurbished in addition to the continued introduction of 'City Beam' trains across South East London routes.

Scott Brightwell, Operations and Safety Director for SouthEastern, said: “The way we all travel has changed post-pandemic, and many of our customers are now using our services differently and at varying times of the day. This new and improved timetable delivers a more consistent all-day service and means we’re providing trains, and space, where it’s needed most - which reflects the way people now travel. As we continue to recover from the pandemic, our focus remains on providing the most convenient and reliable railway for everyone who uses it."
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broadgage
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2022, 11:40:29 pm »

This is called progress. Reduce both the quality and quantity of first class  accommodation, and then when use declines remove it.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Timmer
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2022, 07:16:51 am »

This is called progress. Reduce both the quality and quantity of first class  accommodation, and then when use declines remove it.

Exactly. First class on Southeastern, and for that matter Southern, is a complete joke. Same seat as standard class with an antimacassar the only difference between the two. I predict Southern will be next but maybe retain it on the London to Brighton line as I suspect there’s still demand there.

Greater Anglia scrapped first class on all lines bar London to Norwich and even that isn’t anything to write home about.

SWR» (South Western Railway - about) have dumbed down first class on their class long distance 444s. Though to be fair, they did to this in order to retain the same number of first class seats in each set after Dft demanded more standard seats.

Talk was the same fate was to happen to first class on the 158s and 159s but nothing appears to have happened with just standard having a refresh with the original comfortable and spacious first class seating retained. I suspect the pandemic saved this from happening.

Bucking the trend in the decline of first class is state run Transport for Wales who are reintroducing it on long distance services between Swansea and Manchester. Who’d have thought that would happen. Couple this with MK4 rolling stock operating on this line and there you really do have a decent first class product.
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paul7575
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2022, 11:23:02 am »

Removal of first class completely on Southeastern services was first proposed by DfT» (Department for Transport - about) before their last planned franchise change, in around 2017, well before the recent changes to travel patterns.

Here’s an article about it in the Guardian at the time:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/15/southeastern-commuters-would-scrapping-first-class-improve-things

Then the ITT (Invitation to Tender) in Dec 2017 explicitly stated first class was to be removed from all services, but that franchise competition eventually hit the buffers, with a short extension and eventually OLR takeover. So I assume the relevant change went on the furthest back burner.

Just shows how long the decision making process actually is, and now they can blame conditions in late 2022 for a decision effectively made well over 5 years ago.

Paul
« Last Edit: October 02, 2022, 12:53:11 pm by paul7575 » Logged
IndustryInsider
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2022, 11:54:14 am »

Also worth noting is that their 'premium' route using Class 395 Javelin's to and from St. Pancras International has always been standard class only since the trains were introduced 13 years ago.
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2022, 05:08:46 pm »

I find myself wondering if the "end of first class" headline is actually a stalking horse and the big message should be "there will also be some important timetable changes from December 11". 

I used to commute to (from Petts Wood) out to Sevenoaks around 1970 and standing on Sevenoaks station at 17:30 to 19:00, there was a steady stream of 12 car trains from Cannon Street and Charing Cross heading southbound and on to Hastings, Ramsgate and Dover.  Many of these trains had two trips a day - into London in the morning peak, parked during the day at Blackfriars and in the platforms at Cannon Street (electric), and at Grove Park (diesel units), then back out in the evening.  I know much or most of that is gone, and I wonder what the "important timetable changes" will bring - perhaps Tonbridge to Hastings and Ore reduced to a shuttle, and Ashford via Canterbury to Ramsgate also.   Sadly, I would put nothing past the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) - why, sadly, they might even look at removing thought London trains to Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge ...
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paul7575
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2022, 05:40:04 pm »

I find myself wondering if the "end of first class" headline is actually a stalking horse and the big message should be "there will also be some important timetable changes from December 11". 

I used to commute to (from Petts Wood) out to Sevenoaks around 1970 and standing on Sevenoaks station at 17:30 to 19:00, there was a steady stream of 12 car trains from Cannon Street and Charing Cross heading southbound and on to Hastings, Ramsgate and Dover.  Many of these trains had two trips a day - into London in the morning peak, parked during the day at Blackfriars and in the platforms at Cannon Street (electric), and at Grove Park (diesel units), then back out in the evening.  I know much or most of that is gone, and I wonder what the "important timetable changes" will bring - perhaps Tonbridge to Hastings and Ore reduced to a shuttle, and Ashford via Canterbury to Ramsgate also.   Sadly, I would put nothing past the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) - why, sadly, they might even look at removing thought London trains to Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge ...

The associated timetable changes are known, they’re all listed in Southeastern’s detailed announcement:

https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/travel-information/live-travel-information/december-timetables

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Mark A
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2022, 09:34:05 am »

Running off peak and weekend Bexleyheath line trains into Cannon Street instead of Charing Cross hasn't gone down well.

Mark
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2022, 10:24:28 am »

Running off peak and weekend Bexleyheath line trains into Cannon Street instead of Charing Cross hasn't gone down well.

Mark

Makes sense, as this will save the flat cross over of Bexleyheath services at the North end of Lewisham station, reduces the number of potential conflicting moves and should generally improve the reliability of all services Lewisham is a real bottle neck at times.

The main inconveniences for Bexleyheath line passengers are if they want to get to Waterloo (via East) or the access to the Westend
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2022, 06:57:16 am »

And is it Southern who have done away with toilets in some of their stock?

Sounds like an appealing area to go on holiday, or a Friday/Saturday night out.
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2022, 07:04:47 am »

And is it Southern who have done away with toilets in some of their stock?

Sounds like an appealing area to go on holiday, or a Friday/Saturday night out.

It is DfT» (Department for Transport - about) policy for "metro" services not to have toilets
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Mark A
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2022, 11:14:29 am »


Makes sense, as this will save the flat cross over of Bexleyheath services at the North end of Lewisham station, reduces the number of potential conflicting moves and should generally improve the reliability of all services Lewisham is a real bottle neck at times.

The main inconveniences for Bexleyheath line passengers are if they want to get to Waterloo (via East) or the access to the Westend

If the pressure on the junction needs to be relieved, would it improve things if the four trains an hour that present themselves from Woolwich / Bexleyheath and heading for Charing Cross be halved rather than ceasing them?

From way out west, where we no longer have this sort of intensity of railways, it's difficult to picture all those junctions and routes.

Ah, a map.

https://cartometro.com/cartes/metro-tram-london/?r=cmf

Mark
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2022, 12:41:09 pm »


Makes sense, as this will save the flat cross over of Bexleyheath services at the North end of Lewisham station, reduces the number of potential conflicting moves and should generally improve the reliability of all services Lewisham is a real bottle neck at times.

The main inconveniences for Bexleyheath line passengers are if they want to get to Waterloo (via East) or the access to the Westend

If the pressure on the junction needs to be relieved, would it improve things if the four trains an hour that present themselves from Woolwich / Bexleyheath and heading for Charing Cross be halved rather than ceasing them?

From way out west, where we no longer have this sort of intensity of railways, it's difficult to picture all those junctions and routes.

Ah, a map.

https://cartometro.com/cartes/metro-tram-london/?r=cmf

Mark

There are also services to / from Victoria via Nunhead that cross over to plat 3 & 4 at Lewisham also quite a lot of freight make similar movements, so by making the Bexleyheath trains into Cannon St terminators it takes quite a bit of pressure off also London Bridge is where most passengers disembark to catch other services (Thameslink, Tube etc)
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broadgage
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2022, 01:50:18 pm »

And is it Southern who have done away with toilets in some of their stock?

Sounds like an appealing area to go on holiday, or a Friday/Saturday night out.

More progress.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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