Network SouthEast, which was one of the 5 BR sectors, was set up
on the 10 of June 1986. It was launched at Waterloo station by Chris Green, the managing
director. Its main aim was to provide an organisation to co-ordinate passenger
services in the south of England. It stretched from Exeter in the west to Kings Lynn in
the east. The northern boundary was Bedford. Network SouthEast too over from the London
and South East sector, which was instantly recognisable by its orange and brown
livery (nicknamed Jaffa Cake).
|History of Network SouthEast
The launch of NSE brought a new image to the railways of the south east. The initial
changes however, were more than just colourful trains. In the first four years of its
existence, passenger income rose by nearly 20%, and government support had fallen by 50%.
The sad thing is, however, people have always been quick to criticise BR and NSE. The
facts are that during NSEs existence, the average age of rolling stock had been
reduced by 5 years, three new lines were opened by NSE, and a dozen were electrified. over
70% of NSEs stations were refurbished and 310 were given a complete facelift and
modernisation. And it would not have stopped there either. Before privatisation came
about, NSE had planned route modernisation of the London, Tilbury and Southend route and
Thameslink 2000, a scheme to modernise the vastly successful Thameslink route.
You can find out more about the modernisation projects NSE did complete by visiting the
Route Modernisation page of this site.
And what have the privatised companies done so far then? Since
privatisation, only one new route has been opened in the NSE area, Heathrow Express.
However, construction started in the days of NSE, so it can hardly be described as an
advantage of privatisation. However, for many, Network SouthEast had achieved its goal of
creating the organisation co-ordinating rail services in the south east.
When first launched, the Network SouthEast livery had a lighter shade
of blue than the final version, and the stripes had distinct corners, as opposed to the
rounded example on the later livery. The BR double arrow symbol was also displayed at
either end. This view shows an artists impression of a class 119 unit in the older livery,
commissioned for the launch in 1986
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©Michael Rodgers 1998-2000.