First Capital Connect loses Thameslink franchiseMay 23, 2014
The Department for Transport has awarded the new seven-year franchise to Govia, which also operates the London Midland service between Birmingham and London via Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard.
Govia, which has also taken on the operation of the Great Northern and Southern franchises will bring in three new train fleets when the ne wfranchise begins in Septembrer.
It has also pledged 10,000 additional morning peak seats into London, a 50% increase in passenger capacity through longer trains, up to 24 trains per hour in peak periods and a £50 investment in improving facilities.
David Brown, group chief executive of The Go-Ahead Group which runs Govia, said: “I am 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.
“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.
The decision to award the franchise to Govia Thameslink Railway will mean a minimum two services an hour around the clock between London St. Pancras International and Luton Airport Parkway.
Airoport managing director Glyn Jones said: “Coming just a couple of weeks after the Airport received the green light from the government to invest in London Luton’s future, it is important that an improved rail service between now and 2021 keeps pace with the demands of a developing airport and its passengers.
“We look forward to working with Govia to improve the speed and frequency of trains serving the airport and to deliver long-term creative solutions to some of the legacy issues that have impacted the overall experience of travelling to and from London Luton by train”.
First Capital Connect managing director David Statham said: “We are of course disappointed that FirstGroup has not been selected as the operator for the TSGN franchise. We will work with Govia in order to secure the smooth transition of operations.”