Network Rail and Southeastern are joining forces to deliver a better, more reliable and sustainable railway

Together, we are conducting a new trial to carry out essential track maintenance and critical safety inspections during the day between scheduled train services.

Most maintenance takes place late at night after trains have stopped running, but work and visual inspections take longer in the dark. Moving some of this work to daylight hours will be safer, help improve efficiency and support the reliability of customer journeys.

Daytime inspections free up nighttime shifts to complete other maintenance work and more quickly fix faults such as those now identified from thermal imaging cameras on trains. This can help prevent future delays to your journeys.

This new approach will enable us to deliver reliability improvements to customers quicker and save money on more costly nighttime engineering work, which can be reinvested elsewhere on the railway.

When are the trials?

After careful evaluation, we've selected two routes in Kent for this daylight maintenance trial. These routes were chosen to strike the right balance between ensuring we gather valuable insights on the benefits of the trials while minimising the impact to Southeastern customers.

The first trial will take place on the Medway Valley Line, between Paddock Wood and Strood, weekdays only, from Monday 1 July to Friday 19 July (15 days). During this period, there will be a temporary change to the service between 09.00 and 15.00, with one train running per hour instead of the usual two. We've carefully planned this trial to minimise disruption to your journeys.

The hourly service will be able to accommodate all the customers that usually travel during this less busy part of the day. Our customer demand data shows that services then, typically, have fewer than 50 people on board, and there should be plenty of space for customers on the hourly service.

The second trial will take place on the Maidstone East line, between Maidstone East and Ashford International, on weekdays only from Monday 22 July to Friday 9 August (15 days).

The regular hourly service will continue to run during this time, with one small adjustment. The 09.30 service from Maidstone East to Ashford will be temporarily suspended. This is because the 08.25 service from Victoria to Ashford will take a different route via Sevenoaks after Otford to accommodate the maintenance work.

We appreciate your understanding while these works are carried out.

We will keep the trials under review and make an assessment on next steps once the trials are completed.