Government awards Thameslink rail franchise to Govia

St Albans & Harpenden Review: First Capital Connect loses Thameslink rail franchise First Capital Connect loses Thameslink rail franchise

The Government has announced its intention to award the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise to Govia Thameslinik Railway Limited.

The news will be welcomed by critics of First Capital Connect, branded the worst train operator in the country in February last year with a customer satisfaction score of just 40 per cent.

Govia is promising three new state-of-the-art train fleets that will deliver more services and seats, faster journeys and better connections across many of the busiest rail routes in London and the south east.

ALSO READ: News that Govia has been awarded the Thameslink franchise welcomed by the operators of London Luton Airport

Govia will be given a seven-year-franchise, during which it is intended 1,400 new electric carriages will be rolled out across the new franchise, providing 50 per cent more capacity and 10,000 additional seats every weekday into centra London during the morning peak by the end of 2018.

In addition, the new franchise intends investing millions in improving stations and staffing, a simplified ticketing structure, cleanliness and setting tough new targets. It is intended these will improve punctuality by reducing delays by around one fifth.

Govia will order a new fleet of 108 carriages for the Gatwick Express service, replacing the current 25-year-old trains with a fleet better suited to the needs of airport passengers.

It will also secure 150 new carriages to replace the 40-year-old trains currently operating on the route between Moorgate, north London and Hertfordshire.

Govia will invest significantly in improving stations, including free wi-fi at more than 100 stations, better retail and catering facilities and improvements to customer information systems.

Staffing hours will also be extended so that at more than 100 of the largest stations there will be staff available from the first train in the morning to the last train at night.

The new operator intends developing website, smartphone and tablet apps that will make door-to-door travel easier for customers, including planning journeys, buying tickets and booking onward taxis.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammound 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 TSGN franchise will replace the existing Thameslink and Great Northern franchise, currently operated by First Capital Connect, from September 14. It will include the South Central franchise, operated at Southern and Gatwick Express, when it expires on Deptember 26, 2015.

A small number of services and stations will transfer from the South Eastern franchise by December 21 2014.

 

 

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