With passengers returning to the tracks over the coming months, Southeastern is preparing to introduce its fleet of Class 707 trains.
The operator says that the class will enter service in the Autumn and will boost capacity on routes from Dartford, Sevenoaks and Hayes into London.
The modern trains will help to improve passenger experience and will replace a small number of Class 465s and 466 trains.
A full service will begin in 2022 when a sufficient number of Class 707s have transferred over from South Western Railway and have been refreshed, cleaned and updated ready for use on the Southeastern network.
Six Class 707s have arrived with Southeastern and are currently stored at Ashford, Grove Park and Slade Green depots. These six will be used for maintenance and driver training as well as station compatibility tests.
The next two 707s are expected to arrive in July 2021.
Angel Trains owns the Class 707s and were originally in service with South West Trains when they entered service in 2017. However, South Western Railway are taking on new Class 701 trains.
Southeastern says that the redundant Class 465/466s will be taken off-lease and sent for storage, but the majority of the class will remain in service.
David Statham, Managing Director at Southeastern said: “Bringing in modern, reliable trains with more space is an important part of the work we are doing to encourage people back to rail travel.
“Following a great effort by everyone across the railway, I’m very pleased to confirm that our new trains are getting set to carry passengers later this year.
“The Class 707 represents a big investment in our train fleet and I’m really looking forward to welcoming our customers aboard.”
Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris said: “This is a welcome upgrade for passengers on Southeastern’s network.
“As the nation starts moving again following the pandemic, passengers will benefit from modern, clean, reliable trains that will make it even better to travel by rail”.
Sambit Banerjee, Managing Director Rolling Stock and Customer Services for Siemens Mobility Limited said: “We were delighted to see the Siemens Mobility Class 707s moving over to their new home at Southeastern. It has been a great collaborative effort since then between Siemens Mobility and Southeastern operational teams to get the trains ready for service, which has continued throughout the Covid 19 lockdown.
“We look forward to supporting passengers travelling into London from the South East on comfortable, air-conditioned trains and continuing our great partnership with Southeastern.”
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