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Delays explained

Reasons for delays on Southeastern trains, including weather conditions and engineering works.

Delays explained further

We hate announcing delays as much as you hate hearing them, but sometimes things don’t work out to plan.
If you’re confused by the odd reasons given for delays then read on for what terms like ‘leaves on the line’ really mean. Get insights into the problems caused and how we’re working closely with Network Rail to minimise them.

Beat the heat

When the temperature soars, things really heat up for our rail infrastructure – and it can’t cool down with a cheeky pint or an ice cream at the beach. Metal rails in direct sunshine can be as much as 20°C hotter than air temperature, and have been known to get as hot as 51°C! And because they’re made from steel – they expand when they heat up, so rails may buckle, and points can expand.

When our monitoring systems tell us that a section of track is likely to expand, we’ll put in place speed restrictions to reduce the chance of rails buckling, so you may find your journey a little slower than usual. We work with Network Rail well in advance to make sure that your railway is ‘hot weather ready’, then keep a close eye on the forecast and check the infrastructure throughout the summer.


Find out more about how we beat the heat here.

Improvement works

Engineering projects, improvement works, do genuinely make our trains more reliable, and allow us to have more trains and faster services on the network.
Our trains run on 20,000 miles of tracks managed and maintained by Network Rail. Improvement work on our network is carefully planned up to two years in advance, and we do everything we can to minimise disruption. This is why most improvement work is done at night, at weekends and over public holidays. Occasionally, however, they do over-run.

Points failure

A points failure means that one of the sections of track at a junction that lets trains move from one line to another has broken. 
These points can get clogged up with dirt, leaves, branches and other debris. They can also expand when it’s very hot. Network Rail manages the infrastructure our trains run on and is doing a number of things to make the points on our route more reliable including:
  • Monitoring them remotely
  • Introducing new designs for points and their components
  • Painting some points white so they absorb less heat

Fixing things fast and getting compensation

We work with Network Rail to try to reduce disruption, and fix things as quickly as possible when things go wrong. 
But if you have been delayed by more than 30 minutes, you can claim Delay Repay compensation.
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