British Railways Business Unit Structure

On 4th January 1982  5 "business sectors" were formally created to run services although infrastructure, etc, remained the responsibility of the regions.   The majority of BR(S) services came under the control of the London and South East (Passenger) Sector, which covered an extensive area around London roughly below a line drawn from the Wash to Portland Bill (not that anyone living at the extremes believed they belonged to the South East) but also including the former LSWR main line to Exeter.  The LSE sector projected a series of liveries for all its rolling stock, two-tone brown for main line, two-tone blue for outer suburban and two-tone green for inner suburban services.  Of these liveries only the two-tone brown was ever applied becoming nicknamed as "Jaffa Cake" due to its wide orange stripe being sandwiched between deep brown (chocolate) upper and light brown (biscuit) lower colours. These colours were only widely used on class 309 (Clacton) and class 411 (Hastings refurbished) stock.

Following the appointment of Chris Green as its Director the sector was re-branded on 10 June 1986 amid much publicity as Network SouthEast.  In addition to the infamous repainting of lampposts and platform seats to bright red and the proliferation of large digital clocks, plus the relivery of all rolling stock into bright red, white, blue, and grey "toothpaste" colours, all services were organised and branded into sub-sectors.  These route brandings changed with time but services run on the former Southern Region were done so (at some time or another) under the headings of:

South West South Central South East
Island Line
Portsmouth Line
Solent & Wessex
South Western Lines
Waterloo & City
Wessex Electrics
West of England
North Downs (Reading to Redhill line)
Oxted Line
South London Lines
Sussex Coast
Uckfield Line
Kent Coast
Kent Link
Marsh Link
Other Network SouthEast sub-sectors North London Line
Thameslink (south of Blackfriars)
Other passenger sectors running over the Southern Region were:
Intercity Cross Country (misc. north to south coast services)
Gatwick Express
London and Continental Railway (Eurostar)
Regional Railways (Wales/west of England to south coast services)
The first significant development during this time was the establishment in 1984 of the Gatwick Express service using refurbished Mk2 stock.  The second significant development was during 1986 with the reopening of the Snow Hill tunnel between Farringdon and Blackfriars stations and electrification provided by third rail. This allowed for the first time in many years frequent through London services, the early boundaries being Bedford in the north and Brighton in the south with many shorter journeys in between.  These services were run under the branding of "Thameslink" using new dual voltage (750v DC third rail / 25kV AC overhead) class 319 units. These services proved to be a considerable success prompting pressure for more of such innovations, and we are still waiting for them.

On 29th April 1991 under the British Rail "Organisation for Quality" restructuring the regional structure was dissolved and full responsibility for all aspects of organisation and running the railway passed to the business sectors.   Under Network SouthEast the former Southern Region was split into three divisions largely corresponding to the former BR(S) sections and the SR divisions.  The South West and South East divisions were headquartered at Waterloo (but with temporary accommodation in the Blackfriars Road whilst office accommodation at Waterloo was refurbished).  The South Central division was headquartered at Stephenson House in Croydon. Route brandings for each division remained as in the above table.

The Waterloo and City line was sold to London Underground Limited in 1994 in preparation for the privatisation of the railways as it was not thought viable to be part of a Train Operating Company franchise.

Also in preparation for the privatisation in 1995 shadow franchises were formed out of the divisions, the shadow franchises applicable to the former Southern region being:
South West Trains, Island Line, Regional Railways Wales and West, North London Railways, Network South Central, Gatwick Express, Thameslink, Thames Trains (North Downs plus Paddington commuter services), Intercity Cross Country, Network South Eastern, and the London and Continental Railway.

This page only includes details of the passenger sectors as the author does not feel qualified to compile a definitive list of freight sectors that actually operated on the Southern Region.  If you can provide accurate details of which freight sectors operated in the south please contact the .

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This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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