South Western Railway Class 707s could be bound for Southeastern
Thirty Class 707 electric multiple units delivered in 2017-18 could be transferred to the new South Eastern franchise.
The five-car Desiro City EMUs (707001-707030) were ordered by South West Trains in 2014, with delivery starting in 2017. However, before even one had entered traffic Stagecoach lost the SWT franchise to a FirstGroup/MTR joint venture that announced plans to replace them (and other EMU fleets) with Bombardier-built Class 701s from 2020.
Once this deal was confirmed, the ‘707s’ had no new home. The same applies to 36 five-car Class 458/5s rebuilt at considerable cost, and 91 Class 455s retractioned in recent years in a £40 million scheme. Twenty-four refurbished Class 456s are also homeless in the near future.
Now, RAIL sources have suggested that the Class 707s will transfer to the new SE franchise. Abellio, Govia and Stagecoach are bidding for the new deal, which will be one of the first to include close co-operation with Network Rail.
Angel Trains owns the Class 707s, which are all now in traffic with South Western Railway. Spokesman Annabelle Duke told RAIL the rolling stock company does not comment on live bids.
It is known that the new franchise is likely to include new trains. Another RAIL source suggested that two of the bidders are likely to buy new trains to replace the large Class 465/466 Networker fleet, which dates from 1992-93.
This contains 147 four-car Class 465s and 43 two-car Class 466s, and within the ‘465’ fleet, 97 are fitted with Hitachi traction packages that in more than a decade have yet to fail in traffic. The Japanese firm is understood to be one of the favourites to supply new-build stock to the franchise.
The current Southeastern franchise has been run by Govia since 2007. Its mixed fleet contains 112 Class 375s built by Bombardier between 1999 and 2004, 36 fivecar Bombardier Class 376s from 2004-05, 25 four-car Class 377s from 2009 (two from 2003), and 29 six-car Hitachi Class 395s (200709), as well as the Networkers.
Govia also operates the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise, which has taken delivery of 115 Class 700 Desiro City EMUs, and is taking delivery of 25-car ‘717’ Desiro City trains.