The fleet of 30×5-car Class 707 EMUs is to move from South Western Railway to Southeastern as part of the latter’s new contract, which began on 1 April. Announcing a management contract running for 18 months with an optional six-month extension, the Department for Transport promised there would be ‘space for thousands of extra passengers during the morning and evening peak times’.
The Siemens-built ‘707s’ were introduced to the South Western network in 2017 as part of the capacity improvement plans. They were ordered by SWR’s predecessor franchisee South West Trains and are owned by Angel Trains. However, SWR is to replace its suburban fleets of Classes 455, 456, 458 and 707 with a fleet of 90 new Class 701 EMUs built by Bombardier, which prior to the Covid outbreak were due to enter service from the middle of this year.
A spokesperson for Southeastern said: ‘We are dependent on the availability of existing rolling stock, and we are working with the industry on a plan to transfer 30×5-car Class 707 units which are currently in service on the South Western Railway network – only when they become available.’
The exact timing of the transfer is yet to be determined and will depend on how quickly the ‘701s’ are delivered. Of the fleets the ‘701s’ will replace, SWR originally planned to send the ‘707s’ off lease first, followed by the ‘458s’ and then the ‘455s’ and ‘456s’. However, this has since been reviewed, and an SWR spokesperson told Modern Railways the current plan is to hand back the ‘458s’ first, followed by the ‘455s’ and ‘456s’ and the ‘707s’ last.