Govia awarded Thameslink franchise

Govia has won a seven-year contract to operate Britain’s biggest rail franchise, Thameslink.

The Go-Ahead/Keolis joint venture will start operating the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise in September, taking over from First Capital Connect (FCC).

The TSGN franchise will replace the existing Thameslink and Great Northern franchise. From July 2015 it will include the South Central franchise, which is currently operated as Southern and Gatwick Express.

Govia Thameslink Railway Limited will oversee the introduction of the new Siemens Class 700 and Bombardier Class 387 electric rolling stock, and Class 319 cascade. During the franchise, Govia also plans to order 108 new carriages for Gatwick Express and 150 new metro carriages to operate between Moorgate, north London and Hertfordshire.

In addition to the new trains, Govia has committed to investing £50 million into improving the route’s stations, developing online booking tools and improving customer information systems.


London Bridge. Photo: Network Rail.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “A world class railway is a vital part of our long-term economic plan. New state-of-the-art trains, more seats, better connections and improved stations will transform travel across London and the south east. That’s great news for businesses and the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use these vital services every day.”

The formal contract award will be carried out following a 10-day standstill period.

David Brown, chief executive of The Go-Ahead Group said: “I’m delighted the DfT has chosen us to operate this important and complex franchise and to play an instrumental role in delivering the benefits of the Government’s £6 billion Thameslink Programme.

“This will be the UK’s busiest franchise and we will be introducing 50 per cent more capacity into central London during peak times, with 26 per cent more morning peak carriages providing 10,000 additional seats.”

He added: “Our bid for the franchise was focused on improving customers’ experience and includes two new train fleets for Gatwick Express and Moorgate services, in addition to overseeing the introduction of the Thameslink trains already ordered, as well as delivering improvements at stations.

“I’m looking forward to working with existing colleagues and welcoming new staff and together delivering this transformational franchise.”