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I have never written a negative review about any other train company, but this is extremely bad service that I have to use daily to commute to my job. About 8/10 services are delayed/cancelled, most times without reason. There is terrible communication towards the passengers and no information is given, nevermind an apology for the late running of the service. I would avoid using these trains like a plague if I could! Also, when they do arrive, the trains have never enough carriages and passengers are forced to wait for another train, or stand cramped like sardines and breathing in each other's face! For example at peak times in London Bridge they would send a 4-carriage train, when the demand of people would request at least double if not triple of that! Very bad management indeed. They also cancel trains withint 2-3 mins of arriving leaving people stunned, without explanation. And the fact that you can only request refund after half hour delay, that gives them the power to be late for up to 29 mins without people being able to do anything about it! And we end up paying HUGE amount of money for those services....truly shocking! Try not to use this service.... Unfortunately I had to give it a star because there was norating below that, it doesn't even deserve one star!
Why do I bother? might as well get a coach if I want to go to London seeing as its probably cheaper. The trains are grubby, loos always seem to be conveniently out of order when I need to go (maybe just bad luck) they are never on time either! I was waiting for about an hour just to go from Ramsgate to Birchington and in the end ditched it and rung someone to give me a lift home. I honestly don't know how they are allowed to keep the franchise! what do we pay our taxes for? for rubbish like this!. My friend recently got a fine because the guards at the station didnt believe that she couldnt get a ticket, the machine she tried to use was vandalised and the ticket office was shut. She got on anyway and was going to pay but there was no ticket man... or so she thought! when she got off he was in the carriage just before hers and when she told the guard at the station this he still said she had to pay the fine even though he could clearly see that the ticket man was on the carriage before her as he leaned out the doors, complete jobsworths!! she paid up there and then but what could have been a simple hand over of a few quid turned into a £20 fine for nothing! everyone it seems is rude and doesnt want to help you.
I use the train quite frequent now and its not been too bad but I just dont agree with the prices and how much of a pain it is to get home of a night from places like Dumpton and Ramsgate, just seems that everything goes mental leaving you stranded for ages and if you only have money for your train ticket and nothing else your pretty much screwed!. South Eastern needs to buck up its ideas! no wonder people fair dodge all the time! no one really thinks highly of the service and thats down to South Eastern not improving it.
I have been using South Eastern Trains for the past two and a half years, commuting to London on the Dover/Ramsgate line. During the Spring and Summer months, trains tend to arrive on time. Arriving into the London terminals at the advertised arrival time does tend to be a bit of a lottery though - the age old problem of congestion at London Bridge - I suspect that a train has turned up on time when this happens and throws the whole timetable out of kilter...
Generally I've found the South Eastern workers to be quite friendly and helpful in Kent, however, once you venture into London or if there happens to be a problem then they disappear from sight in a manner even Houdini would be impressed by.
I haven't had a tetanus jab in a while so I wouldn't risk venturing into one of the toilets on the trains, however, I have been assured by other commuters that on the rare occasions when the toilets are not locked - they are as horrific as they smell. As far as the general cleanliness goes I believe the trains are cleaned - when I say cleaned I mean a cleaner walks through the train and collects the leftover papers and food wrappers - I doubt very much that any of the seat upholstery has seen any cleaning products. My advice would be look at the seat before you sit down - a friend of mine ended up with ketchup down her back after not following my advice...
Would I recommend SET, no chance, £5,500 a year to sit on a mouldy carpet covered seat, frequent delays with no information and that's if you are lucky in the summer... If you are going to commute to London, make sure your employer is very understanding or take a job with parking outside of the congestion charge - it's cheaper even with fuel prices.
Been commuting to London for about 6 months now from Maidstone to the City of London. There is only one direct train from Maidstone to the City per day and the return service in the evening and its not even run by Southeastern! they have to get First Capital to run it for them, but Southeastern still get my fare and are still in charge of the service but tend to cancel it when ever there's a issue. Southeasterns own trains are very dirty and poorly cleaned, they would probably argue its difficult to keep a commuter train clean but somehow First Capital manage it! Delays are frequent and information from train/station staff is often out of date and slow coming. Ticket prices go up by extortionate amounts every year (13% last year) with no improvement in service.
I don't have a choice, but if you do, please don't travel with Southeastern!
I have endured this poor service for the first 20 years of my life! As a teenager I lived around the Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells area and unable to drive I was completely reliant on Southeastern. They are so bad! I was regularly late for school/work through no fault of my own but because they're trains are simply so unreliable and constantly late. The part of the line between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells is closed as soon as 2cm of snow hits the ground! They are also very expensive and have repeatedly raised fares far above the rate of inflation.
When I moved to London a couple of years ago I thought I would finally be free of Southeastern ...but no. I live in Greenwich so have to get Southeastern trains everyday into central London. And AGAIN I find myself delayed impossibly often. My nearest station is Maze Hill which is unmanned for much of the day so should there be any delay there isn't anybody to give you any information.
My singular worst experience was being fined £26 on the spot because I had failed to notice my young persons railcard had expired 3 days earlier and had under payed by £2. When I appealed this Southeastern took the measured decision to raise my fine to £80. They threatened me with court action and in the end I was forced to pay.
The staff are rude, uncompromising and ignorant. On a number of occasions I have been accused of fair skipping when in fact the ticket machine at the station hasn't been working. They get away with their bad service because customers have no choice but to pay up and put up with it.
I never really used trains very often until I met my wonderful boyfriend online in October 08. He was perfect for me in so many ways - gorgeous, intelligent, kind, funny - the one minor fly in the ointment being that he lived in Eastbourne, some 160 miles from my home in Nottingham.
Pretty soon, we found ourselves travelling back and forth on a regular basis- he always by train, myself by a combination of coach and train due to being a bit scared of the tube!
Generally, I find myself hopping on a South Eastern train from London Victoria, heading for Ore , with me hopping off at Eastbourne . Return journeys have gone various routes, one directly from Eastbourne to London Victoria, and one route that goes from Eastbourne to Brighton, and then onto London Victoria from there .
Having used the trains, I have only ever had one train be late either in arriving or departing from the station. The one time a train left the station late, the intended route being Eastbourne -Brighton - London - Dreaded Tube - Nottingham , it was inconvenient, but worked out in my favour a little .
The train was ten minutes late leaving Eastbourne station, and naturally, it arrived in Brighton ten minutes late, just as I saw the train I SHOULD have been catching to London Victoria pull out. I'm a natural worrier, and anxiously approached the station guard to ask what I should do, and within about 3 minutes was seated on a train travelling directly to London St Pancras, bypassing the tube altogether, and still getting me there *just* in time to catch my train back to Nottingham .
South Eastern Trains cover Kent, South East London, and East Sussex.so chances are if you're in that neck of the woods, you'll be using this company, and I have to say that overall its been a very pleasant experience . On most occasions the trains have been clean and tidy, with plenty of space available in the storage racks and plenty of seats . Obviously, when travelling during the holidays, as I did today, the service is much busier, and sadly this showed a little . When boarding the train this morning just before nine am, I was greated with tables that still had litter on them, copies od the Metro strewn across the floor, and a bin stuffed full of rubbish . Given that the train hada twenty minute period of waiting in the station, it would have been nice for it to be clean, but I did at least manage to grab a table for myself and my daughter, and after moving some beer cans (who drinks that early!) we enjoyed a trouble free journey to London Victoria. The train had a couple of stops for attachment of carriages , and became a little crowded towards the last part of the journey, but considering it' the end of the Easter holidays, not bad at all really .
The trains temperature is usually quite confortable, and there are electronic signs letting you know what the next stop is, as well as regular annoucements letting you know which station is next. For someone that panics when travelling as much as I do, this is very welcome, as are the friendly attitudes of the guys that come and check your tickets. I have never seen anything less that warm service from these guys, and a couple of the staff have actually been so friendly as to make me feel my presence on thre train was giving them an honour!
On the services I have used, they have a buffet wagon, which sadly is as overpriced and as limited in range as any other. Expect to pay £1 for 2 shortbread fingers, £2.80 for a can of lager, around £3 for a sandwich and about £1.25 for a cup of veggie soup that tastes like it's out of a vending machine. I would recommend taking your own food and drink on board to get better value for money, and luckily, the stations from which I have use South Eastern trains have all had various food outlets inside .
At Eastbourne there is a Subway and a WHSmith, as well as a small coffee concession, and just outside the station are a few cafes that also offer take away options. At the London Victoria end, there is Burger King, M&S, Yo! Sushi and a variety of other places, so the optons are never too limited.
I tend to buy my tickets in advance and then pick them up from the machines in the station , so I never have to queue to get them on the day . Eastbourne station never seems to have a queue for tickets, although the same cannot be said for London Victoria, so if travelling out from London then advance tickets are the way to go .
Overall, my experience with South Eastern trains has been mostly very good, with excellent customer service, good puntuality, and generally quite a clean and cosy environmont . I do think they let themselves down on cleanliness at busy travel times though, something that I feel they could improve on, as no one wants to travel back in a carriage covered n beer cans and discarded copies of the Metro. I will be taking one star off for this, but that is still a respectable four stars , and a train service I would recommend!
I am a student, and so not a commuter, but I do use South Eastern trains to reach London and my friends who live in neighbouring towns. The service from Sevenoaks I've found is generally reliable, though there are as ever, problems with delays.
The new trains are much nicer than the old ones, much cleaner and generally made up better. However, they can be very cold in the mornings and during the winter, and there is a problem with cleanliness. There are always hundreds of old newspapers and people's rubbish left around. Another issue is seating: there is a lot of space taken up by first class seating, which is hardly ever needed! There is usually a trolley service though, which is nice.
The price of tickets rises constantly it seems! There are discounts to be had: young person's railcard, family railcard and senior savers and of course it's cheaper to travel off-peak, but generally an adult travelcard sets me back twelve pounds! And just two stops is about five pounds: not really worth it, but what can you do?!
Service: The trains are pretty frequent, especially to london and the fast trains are very useful for getting to and from London.
Until i started working in London, i had never really used trains as a means of public transport, i've always used buses and taxis (well my Dad).
So from 2nd February 2004, my morning commute would start from Beckenham Junction train station. The good thing about Beckenham Junction station is it has a tram line there too, so you can easily get to Croydon or Wimbledon without too much hassle.
** South Eastern Trains**
South Eastern Trains covers Kent, South East London, and East Sussex. Around 145,000 commuters use the train service every morning.
We all know we don't have the best transport system in the world, and South Eastern Trains proves just that. I hated my 20 minute journey to and from work each day, it was the worst part of my day. I train i usually got in the mornings stopped at Bromley South before it stopped at my station, so time it got to me, it was packed and getting on it was a bit of a struggle. This was the case 4/5 days a week, which is 80%.
The trains in the morning were not always the cleanest, and in the winter freezing cold. Over the pasat four years i have experienced nothing but problems with train cancellations, or train delays.
I totally understand from time to time South Eastern will experience problems, but when the problems are every other day, you start to think something not right, and needs to be done.
I've been to Europe many times and used their trains, and i have never experienced problems. Considering trains in Europe travel all over Europe, its strange they can still be reliable and not cause their customers delays or cancellations.
** Customer Service**
What time do you think stations are at there busiest? 6.30am - 9am maybe? so why does Beckenham Junction station only have 2 people selling tickets. It really frustrates me because if i need to line up for a ticket, i'm normally always clock watching so i don't miss my train. There is nothing worse than missing you train by a few minutes then waiting 15-20 minutes for another, and then having to explain to your boss why your late. Please can you get more self service machines?
Other than that, i always find the customer service staff at my local station spot on. When a passenger has booked an assisted journey, the guys at the station are always ready and waiting for the passenger (e.g wheelchair bound passengers etc).
My train station isn't the best, its old and needs alot of work done. I'd like to see a more secure station, with improved CCTV, improved car parking system, and just a brighter and more welcoming station.
I have been to a lot of different South Eastern stations, and none of them have been great.
** The cost of Tickets**
You would like to think that because they cannot offer customers what they promise, they could lower the cost of tickets, but instead it is always rising, by around 6%.
Their are a lot of different types of tickets that can be used on South Eastern Trains, these are Off-peak Day, Anytime day and groupsave. I would only usually buy day tickets if i am off work for a while so won't be needing the train, however, if you get the train to work everyday, you would be better off buying a season ticket. Which gives you unlimited travel on the route you have chosen. You can get weekly, monthly, 6 monthly and annual season tickets.
If you work in London, a lot of companies offer a free annual season ticket, this works out A LOT cheaper than buying your ticket weekly or monthly.
** One thing that really annoys me about South Eastern Trains**
The amount of first class seats they have, when 90% of passengers buy std class tickets. Its very annoying because most of the time i have to stand up on the train, but when you walk up the carriages and see 4 different areas just for 1st class passengers, and it only has one passenger using it, you think to yourself this space would be better used as std seating.
I once tried to sit in First class with a group of other standing passengers, but the ticket conductor soon told us to move or pay the full price for first class. I would never normally sit in first class, but the train was packed, it was even coming difficult to stand on the train it was that busy. The conductor soon made an announcement saying any standing customers may use the first class seats, but any first class ticket holders will get a refund, why should they get a refund, just because a few std passengers have sat in the empty seats. Do customers on planes get refunds when airlines upgrade passengers?
** Final thoughts**
The only good thing that has come out of me using South Eastern Trains is the very nice guy i met. I wouldn't of met him if the train wasn't overcrowded and more or less sitting on this guys lap. Thanks South Eastern!!!
** A Few Facts **
South Eastern Trains is a train operating company operating services in Kent, South East London and part of East Sussex. They serve over 176 stations including London Charing Cross and London Bridge.
Approximately 143,000 people commute into London on South Eastern's trains every weekday morning. South Eastern operate around 1,800 journeys each day, 1,400 of these daily journeys go into London.
South Eastern Trains is owned by Govia which also owns the Southern Train Company which in turn is the UK's busiest rail operator, responsible for 28.7% of UK passenger rail journeys
South Eastern Trains has quite a good website (www.southeasternrailway.co.uk). From here you are able to look up any information you require on their stations, timetable, fares and just general guidance.
You can buy tickets from the website, but it does only work for annual or 6 monthly tickets.
There are many different kinds of tickets that can be used on South Eastern Trains, including Anytime Day, Offpeak Day and Groupsave. These types of tickets are best if you are going to your destination as a one-off trip.
If you are going to be travelling regularly (as I do to London for work) it is best to buy a Season Ticket., it also allows you unlimited travel on your chosen route. There are weekly, monthly, 6 monthly and annual season tickets.
- Weekly Tickets -
Weekly Season tickets are normally less than the cost of five daily peak returns and are valid for a full seven days from the start date. They can be purchased via any ticket office or self-serve ticket machine.
- Monthly Tickets -
For a monthly ticket you will need a photocard. You just need to purchase a passport sized photograph and fill out a form which is available any South Eastern station. Once you have that you can then get a monthly ticket. These can be purchased at any South Eastern station. Monthly season tickets offer an average of 11% discount on the price of buying four 7 day (weekly) tickets.
- Annual & 6 Monthly Tickets -
Annual and 6 monthly season tickets can be bought online up to 4 weeks prior to the start date of the ticket.
Annual tickets are a very good buy, but obviously do cost a lot at first. Annual Season tickets give you 52 weeks travel for the price of 40, plus extra benefits under the Gold Card Scheme.
Unfortunately South Eastern does not accept Oyster pre-paid cards.
As I have mentioned before South Eastern has over 176 Stations. Each of these varies in the amenities they offer passengers. The more regularly used and more prominent stations have more amenities such as shops etc.
You can check information about each station on the website under Plan My Journey and then Station Information. Each station is listed with details of their opening times, their address, station facilities (including shops, toilets etc.), a link to a timetable for route/s the station is located on and accessibility help (e.g. accessible ticket machines, wheelchair access etc.).
South Eastern operates an "Assisted Travel" booking system. This allows people who need assistance for their journey (e.g. wheelchair bound passengers etc.) to let the stations they are travelling know what they require.
They have an online booking for that can be filled out and ask that 24 hours notice is given. However if you need the assistance sooner or want to discuss anything there is also a telephone number that can be used.
**Live Running Information**
South Eastern does try to update their passengers as regulalrly as possible realating to the running timss of the trains. There is a live running information service available on the website which is fantsstic to see if there are any delays.
There is also a list of upcoming engineering works so that you can plan your journey around that if needs be.
The South Eastern website is a fantastic place to gather all the information you may need to plan a journey or just to buy a ticket.
South Eastern itself has had its ups and downs with me, but generally my trains I get daily all run on time (by that I mean are no more than 3 or 4 minutes late!).
One main problem I have is that the ticket prices are extremely expensive I feel for the service that is offered. Of course ticket prices vary, depending on how far you travel etc. but the monthly ticket I get to and from London for work is very high. South Eastern doesn't tend to offer much in the way of anything "special" relating to service for its passengers, it does just seem to "trundle" along.
I am also a bit annoyed at the lack of facilities at the station I use. I understand that it is not a main station, but the fact that it is only open for 3 hours each morning can cause problems if you are travelling in the afternoon and you require a ticket. I have had many ticket inspectors not believe when I have said that the Ticket office is closed.
Buying tickets (season) is generally pain free as now all of the details are stored on a computer and it is relatively quick, but again because my particular station only opens for a couple of hours Monday to Friday I find it hard to "beat the queues" as suggested on their website.
As far as train companies go, South Eastern is not the worst one I have used, but it isn't really one of the best either. For the money we (passengers) pay I would expect a bit more in the way of customer service.