Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 19°C

Search

Transport: Govia beats FirstGroup to win Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise

12:16 23 May 2014

Transport Minister Stephen Hammond at Kings Cross Station.

Transport Minister Stephen Hammond at Kings Cross Station.

The biggest new rail franchise ever awarded, which will include parts of the East of England, has been won by Go-Ahead Group company Govia, with rival FirstGroup missing out.

The new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise will replace the existing Thameslink and Great Northern franchise, currently operated by FirstGroup as First Capital Connect, from September this year.

It will also include the South Central franchise, currently operated by Govia as Southern and Gatwick Express, when it expires in July 2015, with a small number of services and stations also transferring from the South Eastern franchise, also opeted by Govia, from December this year.

The seven-year deal will cover services currently carrying 273million passengers a year and linking locations including Cambridge, King’s Lynn, Peterborough, Bedford and Luton to destinations such as Brighton and Gatwick Airport, as well as providing links to the high speed Channel Tunnel line at St Pancras and to the new Crossrail service at Farringdon.

The franchise will also see the introduction of 1,140 new carriages on the Thameslink network and 108 new carriages for the Gatwick Express route.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said today: “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.”

David Brown, group chief executive of the Go-Ahead Group said: “This award is testimony to the experience of our people of working in partnership with the DfT, Network Rail and other industry stakeholders and in delivering major integration projects and change programmes.

“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.”

Tim O’Toole, FirstGroup’s chief executive, said: “I am disappointed that we will not be operating the new franchise and taking the Thameslink programme on to its next stage.

“We submitted a strong bid which would have delivered high quality services for passengers, value for taxpayers and an economic return for shareholders.

“We are tremendously proud to have operated a significant part of this network over the past eight years through our First Capital Connect franchise, and of the many improvements we have delivered during that time.

“I would like to thank all of our employees who worked tirelessly to deliver improved services for our customers during a period of great change on the network.”

Martin Abrams, public transport campaigner for the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “After the West Coast franchising fiasco, passengers will be looking to the Thameslink deal for signs that they’ll get better services for their money, not just a maximising of cash going to the Treasury.

“The Thameslink announcement has some encouraging elements, and the Government now needs to ensure good ideas and investment are ongoing and form part of all future franchises. For instance, passengers will be looking for initiatives like smarter ticketing, so the millions of part-time workers can get the same season ticket savings as those who work full-time.

“They also want to see Government bringing a permanent end to inflation-busting fares rises which are due again in the new year.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Benefit cheat to be sentenced

A benefit cheat who falsely claimed around £37,000 over nearly 10 years has been told she will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court.

Coach Laura Johnson (middle) with the new team. Christchurch Ladies have completed a merger with Grasshoppers Ladies Hockey Club.

The effect of Team GB’s incredible success on the hockey field in Rio is already being felt in Suffolk, where the next generation of talent last night began preparing for a new season.

Rita King, the victim of the Walton care home shooting

An 87-year-old man who shot his wife dead at a care home is due to be sentenced today.

Bacton Community Middle School development plans. Left to right, David Barker MBE, chairman of Westhorpe Parish Council, Phil Webb, chairman of Wyverstone Parish Council and chairman of Bacton Parish Council Richard Peaty.

Suffolk County Council has been accused of hypocrisy over the Olympic legacy – just days after it backed calls for people to get more active in the wake of the UK’s medal success.

Fire crews tackled a blaze on farmland near Bury St Edmunds

A fire crew remains at the scene of an overnight fire in Great Barton which saw 50 tonnes of straw go up in flames.

The scene of police activity on St Matthews Street, Ipswich

Police who carried out a raid at an Ipswich town centre flat found it had been turned into a cannabis factory with more than 200 plants at different stages of growth, a court has heard.

Manningtree band Superglu

A band from north Essex will be headlining at stage at one of Britain’s biggest music festivals this weekend.

Great Eastern Rail Campaign members at Ipswich Station: 
Jonathan Denby, David Burch, Chris Starkie, Chloe Smith MP and Bun Gummer MP

In the second of five three-minute interviews Ben Gummer, the MP for Ipswich, gives his reaction to Abellio Greater Anglia being awarded the rail franchise for East Anglia.

Maz Robinson and Harry Studd with April after she was found safe and well after more than four days.

Staff at Suffolk Owl Sanctuary have spoken of how relieved they are one of their birds of prey has returned – after going missing for more than four days.

What can you do with the kids in the last few days of the summer holidays?

There is just over one week left of the summer holidays but there is plenty still to do before the schools open their doors for a new term.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24