We're celebrating 10 years of highspeed service

Over the past decade, over 100 million passenger journeys have been made on Southeastern’s Highspeed service, which first opened for business with a special preview service on June 29, 2009.

We’ve come a long way, and we’re only ten years old! To celebrate 10 Years of highspeed, we invited two enthusiastic ten-year-olds on a day out to see how the Southeastern highspeed line has shaped the Kent region since they were born. Watch our video to follow their adventure!

“We are incredibly proud to operate the nation’s first and only domestic highspeed service. Southeastern highspeed has played a key role in major events such as the London 2012 Olympics and been a catalyst for growth in the South East, generating economic, cultural and social value” says David Statham, Managing Director at Southeastern.

“Since its launch 10 years ago, we have seen a marked increase in the number of businesses wanting to invest and grow in the locations such as Stratford and towns across Kent we connect. We hope to have the honour of operating the Highspeed service for the next decade."

With an unrivalled average delay per train of less than five seconds on Southeastern’s highspeed service, and overall passenger satisfaction at 92% - one of the country’s highest ratings -  the service has proven itself to be best in class. Boosting the Kent visitor economy by £1 billion, a fleet of 29 trains have travelled 48 million miles connecting the capital with Kent.

Throughout Autumn 2019, Southeastern’s highspeed passengers will see both their local stations and the dedicated ‘Javelin’ trains decorated with a newly designed, 10th anniversary logo.  A specially branded train will join others, many of which are named after famous British athletes, or which carry commemorative poppy or rainbow liveries.

Cutting journey times

Southeastern’s highspeed ‘Javelin’ trains, built by Hitachi Rail using Japanese bullet train technology, travel at speeds of up to 140mph, making them the UK’s fastest domestic train. The service has dramatically cut journey times for passengers travelling into London from destinations across Kent, for example:

  • Ashford to London has seen a reduction of 43 minutes, from 81 minutes to 38 minutes.
  • Those living in Canterbury have had their journeys into the capital cut from 1 hour 45 minutes to just 56 minutes.
  • Journeys between London and Ebbsfleet have been cut by 33 minutes, from 51 minutes to 18 minutes.

The popularity of Southeastern’s highspeed service has led to significant growth in passenger numbers, with a compound annual growth rate of over 11% - more than double that on the rest of the Southeastern network.

Changes to journey times have transformed the opportunities available to people living in Kent. Highspeed infrastructure has delivered an estimated £1 billion boost to the Kent visitor economy and supported around 72,000 jobs.

Kent’s visitor economy has also benefited from the service, with tourists and leisure passengers now accounting up to 30% of all journeys made.

Olympic people-movers

During the London 2012 Olympics, Southeastern ran a special service to Stratford International, transporting around 25,000 people per hour. Since then we’ve named many of the trains after famous British athletes including Dame Kelly Holmes, Dina Asher Smith and Sir Steve Redgrave.

“Over the last decade we have seen exceptional growth in domestic services along the highspeed line. We believe highspeed rail is essential to the future growth of the UK, as it not only improves connectivity, but provides continued social, economic and environmental benefits to the communities it serves. We are proud to be flying the flag for highspeed rail in Britain and see HS1 as a model for the future.” Dyan Crowther, CEO, HS1 Ltd

“Hitachi Rail brought Japanese bullet train technology to the UK, delivering the iconic Javelin trains for the HS1 route. At the same time, we invested in a brand new facility  to maintain the trains in Ashford, creating 120 long-term skilled jobs in Kent. The 29 trains in the Javelin fleet are engineered to meet HS1’s dual voltage and multiple signalling systems, and their superb performance and reliability is a credit to the Hitachi teams who designed and maintain them.

“Our expert teams continue to work round the clock to ensure that Southeastern and HS1 passengers are able to rely on a world class highspeed train service, and have set the standard for Hitachi to go on to deliver further brand new intercity fleets, train maintenance operations as well as a manufacturing facility in the UK.” Andrew Barr, Global CEO of Hitachi Rail.