Network SouthEast - History

History

Before the sectorisation of BR in 1982 the system was split into regions: those operating around London were London Midland Region (Marylebone, Euston, St Pancras and Broad Street), Southern Region (Waterloo, Victoria, Charing Cross, Holborn Viaduct, Cannon Street and London Bridge), Western Region (Paddington) and Eastern Region (King's Cross, Moorgate, Broad Street, Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street). It has been claimed that the move to sectorisation of the main BR businesses - commuter services in the south-east of England, long distance intercity services, local services in the UK regions, parcels and freight - was due to the desire of the Conservative government of the time to reduce the level of public subsidy for the railways.

Upon sectorisation, the London & South Eastern sector took over passenger services in the South-East of England. The livery of this sector was nicknamed Jaffa Cake. The livery was composed of chocolate brown, orange and grey colours.

In 1986, under new chairman Chris Green, L&SE was relaunched as Network SouthEast, along with a new red, white and blue livery.

On privatisation, NSE was split into various franchises and the Waterloo & City Line sold to London Underground for a nominal sum of one pound.

The last passenger train still in NSE livery was lost on 15 September 2007, when a Class 465, 465193, the last still in NSE colours, was sent to Stewarts Lane TMD by Southeastern for revinyling into Southeastern livery. However, there is still a departmental bubble car, used for route learning, in original NSE livery operating on the Chiltern Lines.

Beginning in 1983, BR’s operating regions were replaced with several business sectors: InterCity for principal passenger trains, Network SouthEast (NSE) for London commuter trains, Provincial for other local trains (including commuter rail outside London), Railfreight, and Parcels. BR’s regions were retained for infrastructure management purposes. The aim was to introduce greater budgetary efficiency and managerial accountability through sectorisation, rather than privatising BR outright. Although BR owned all five sectors, each sector was given primary responsibility for various assets (rolling stock, tracks, stations), and control resided with the primary user. Other sectors could negotiate access rights and rent facilities, using their own resources.

Sectorisation brought big changes to London with the creation of Network SouthEast. In contrast to BR Provincial, which was intended to operate interregional and other subsidised services, NSE was expected to cover most of its operating costs from revenues. Not all London commuter traffic was profitable, but NSE charged fees to other BR sectors using its tracks, and used more profitable commuter and express flows to cross-subsidise branch line operations. As before, the central government remained the source of capital funding for Network SouthEast.

Although NSE did not own or maintain infrastructure, it exercised control over almost all carrier core functions. NSE set its own goals and service standards in consultation with BR, and created its own management structure and oversight. BR allowed NSE to decide about scheduling, marketing, infrastructure enhancements, and rolling stock specifications on NSE-assigned lines and services. NSE owned its equipment, which it painted in its own colours, as other sectors (and PTEs in the other metropolitan areas) were doing. NSE was able to exert much greater control and accountability over both its operating budget and service quality than BR could under its Regions. Relations were generally good between NSE and other sectors, although operating pressures sometimes forced staff to use equipment and assets belonging to other sectors to meet immediate needs.

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