Govia awarded Thameslink franchise

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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.”


  1. What TfL really needs to do is add this franchise’s lines in London to the Tube Map, for better passenger visibility and use. The Thameslink and Moorgate Northern City lines used to appear on the Tube Map at various times, and millions of passengers don’t know about either of them. This would spread out loads on the network, notably off-peak.

    • I agree that they should, because those lines are so integrated with the London Underground and they and information about them are so useful to London commuters and anyone else wanting to use public transport in London.
      But as I understand it; the reason why the lines used to feature on the map and then ceased around 1998 was due to privatisation. Same story with the North London line. They were previously operated by British rail subsidiaries, but when they were privatised they were no longer sharing integrated ticketing and were thus removed.
      Now as I understand it; Thameslink has accepted Oyster and the zoned fares for some years now so I think it should be reintroduced to the tube map as it is a railway line through and serving the city of London.

  2. Abellio Greater Anglia are also getting new trains which Siemens, Hitachi &/or Bombardier that they are the manufactures who have built the best EMU trains.
    If Siemens did build more Class 360’s Desiro for AGA then it could cascade the Class 321’s and it would improve rush hour commute or Bombardier to build more Class 379’s Electrostars which would improve packed rush hour services across Essex to/from London Liverpool Street.

    I think those manufactures could build more Electric multiple unit tens for Abellio Greater Anglia aswell getting rid of the Class 315’s, 317’s, 321’s and Class 90’s Intercity fleet (London-Norwich) aswell if network rail would electrify the rural lines in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambs & Marks Tey-Sudbury line in Essex then new EMU’s would be used to replace the Sprinters & Class 170’s (except EMT & Crosscountry).

  3. Abellio GA are not getting new trains, The routes to Enfield, Cheshunt and Chingford are being taken over by TFL to be run as part of London Overground.

    TFL have put out a bid to tender for new trains for these lines, for the time being the exisiting rolling stock will continue on with the needed rebranding.

    They will also then be loosing the local Metro services to Shenfield, again to be run by TFL under the Crossrail network.

    As for the Electrostar the current builds of the 5th cars for the LO Class 378s and 387s are by there own admittance said to be the last builds of the Electrostar family of trains and will now focus on the Adventra design which will be going into service with Crossrail as the Class 345s

  4. My old “hobby horse” is mounted once again. The DfT have been quite happy to allow SNCF-owned Keolis to operate within Britain’s rail network. It goes back to the old ruling from the time of privatisation, that our railways must not involve any UK state-ownership BUT state-owned railways of other countries are more than welcome to participate. To counter-balance Anglo-French business relations, UK politicians have done absolutely nothing to pursuade the government in Paris to allow British operators entry into the French transport system and, as a result SNCF and other French-based transport operators continue to laugh at the apparent British ineptitude.

    • Govia is majority owned by Go-Ahead – a British company – but I do wish that it would operate separately without Keolis. The DfT needs to do more to make sure that only British companies operate on the railways, but there is always the danger of takeovers. I also think they should have more control over the infrastructure they use – i.e. they should maintain and upgrade it where necessary and invest using their own capital – with Network Rail dropping the amount at which they charge them.

      • Agreed but I have no real qualms about European rail operators being awarded UK franchises (with or without British partners) BUT providing British companies are given open access to rail services within the rest of Europe. I am therefore pleased that National Express are involved in both Spain and Germany and First Group have also had contracts in Germany and Denmark. It is the likes of France, where only French companies are allowed to run services, that really galls.


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