South Eastern was a railway franchise for the provision of passenger services from London Blackfriars, London Bridge, London Cannon Street, London Charing Cross and London Victoria to Hayes, Bromley North, Ramsgate, Dover Priory, Folkestone Harbour and Ore and various destinations within including Orpington, Sevenoaks, Dartford, Tunbridge Wells, Ashford and Canterbury West. It also ran services between Sittingbourne & Sheerness-on-Sea, Maidstone West & Strood and Maidstone West & Three Bridges. It was replaced by the Integrated Kent franchise, which now includes services on High Speed 1 as well as the services included in the South Eastern franchise.
South Eastern franchise Wikipedia
It was operated from 13 October 1996 until 9 November 2003 by Connex South Eastern. The franchise was to be for a period of fifteen years to 2011 receiving subsidies of £535 million over the lifetime of the franchise. Annual subsidies were scheduled to decline year on year, from about £125 million during the first twelve of the franchise to about £2.8 million in the final year.
In February 2001 the Strategic Rail Authority took over responsibility for monitoring passenger franchises. By July 2001, according to a subsequent parliamentary report, Connex was aware of its own financial difficulties, but looked to sort out the situation itself, rather than involving the SRA. In December 2001 Connex asked the SRA for an extra £400-million of subsidies and a two-year extension of its franchise. This triggered a review by the SRA of Connex's finances, using advisers KPMG. By the end of 2002, the SRA had agreed to pay an additional £58.9-million of subsidy during 2003, in return for a strengthening of Connex's financial controls, more transparency and the end date of the franchise being brought forward to 2006.
However, over the course of the first half of 2003, following further adverse reports by other consultants, the SRA completely lost confidence in Connex and in June 2003 decided to terminate the franchise at the earliest practical point.
On 9 November 2003 South Eastern Trains, a subsidiary company of the Strategic Rail Authority, took over the franchise for a planned 18 months. It took on all the leased rolling stock and most of Connex staff including senior management. In the event it took over two years to relet the franchise to a private company.
On 22 December 2003 the SRA announced that Danish State Railways/Stagecoach, First, Govia and MTR/Sea Containers had been shortlisted to bid for the replacement Integrated Kent franchise.
On 30 November 2005 the Department for Transport announced Govia had been awarded the new franchise with the services operated by South Eastern Trains transferred to Southeastern on 1 April 2006.