By 1991 Network SouthEast had an annual turnover of £1000 million, with assets valued at £4700 million. Introduction of new rolling stock such as the 1988-deployed Wessex Electrics, had brought the average age of stock down from 21 years to 15 years, whilst more progress was being made to reduce this age even further. Also in 1991, the sector reported carrying two million passengers a day on its network and handled 42% of all commuting into the capital. At the time, Network SouthEast was the largest rail commuter network in Europe and the largest railway system in the world under single ownership.
In 1985 the British Rail Board had set the sector (then known as ''London & SouthEast'') a number of quality targets to meet over the subsequent years. The necessities outlined maintenance and cleanliness of both rolling stock and infrastructure, with additional requirements for 90% of booked services to run and 90% of services to arrive on time (a maximum delay of five minutes was acceptable). Shortly after the re-branding of the sector, a huge task was launched to improve the 930 stations along served routes, whilst proposals were put forward to open others. Within five years, the sector had managed to open 12 new stations, rebuild 98, modernise some 273 and finally, repaint 592 stations in the unmistakeable shade of Network SouthEast plain red (apparently inspired by the paint scheme of the DIY chain ''B&Q''!). To augment this impressive list further, ten non-electrified routes received third rail over the five year period (nine of which I can remember!): Bournemouth to Weymouth; Tonbridge to Hastings; Sanderstead to East Grinstead; Blackfriars to Farringdon (via re-opened Snow Hill tunnel); Portsmouth to Southampton; Audley End to Cambridge; Watford to St Albans Abbey; Royston to Cambridge; Stratford to North Woolwich. Another route which was electrified in 1993 in connection with the Channel Tunnel was that of Redhill to Tonbridge, although in this instance, it will not be included as a scheme directly instigated by Network SouthEast, even though this sector enjoyed the benefits of running EMUs on the line.
One of the largest station refurbishments to take place during the Network SouthEast era was
that of London Liverpool Street Station. The work began in 1985, the final full year of the ''London
& SouthEast'' branding, and the task took seven years, completion coming in 1992. The extensive
work involved the removing of the 1894 eastern trainshed roof to allow the construction of offices
over the top - sadly customary at the time. However, customer facilities were vastly improved
with new train information boards installed, along with new walkways. This is Liverpool Street
is its NSE heyday on 3rd October 1990. Mike Glasspool
On 21st August 1992, Class 47 No. 47714 was seen stabled in the yard at Exeter St David's, wearing
Network SouthEast ''revised'' livery. These locomotives took complete charge of Waterloo to Exeter /
Newton Abbot workings in Spring 1992, when the last Class 50s were taken off the route. Class 159s
were scheduled to arrive in force on this line in September of the same year. Mike Glasspool
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