Govia begins running its Thameslink and Great Northern rail services this Sunday, September 14.
GTR is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff; and the first one to start operating under the Government’s new franchising programme.
There will be £430 million investment in the GTR franchise during its seven-year term, bringing significant improvements for passengers, including:
· New trains – three new train fleets for Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express
· More services – 26% more carriages and 10,000 additional seats on trains to London in the morning peak, and additional services
· Increased capacity – 50% more room for passengers
· Improved reliability and punctuality – restructured timetable, improved operations
· More ticket options – flexible ticket options and new GTR smartcard ‘the key’
· Better connections – up to 24 trains an hour through the Thameslink core in peak periods, links to Gatwick and Luton airports and Crossrail
· Improved stations – Wi-fi at 104 stations, staffing from first to last train at 101 stations, ticket machines and information screens at all stations
Charles Horton, GTR Chief Executive, said: “I’m very excited to be leading the team dedicated to running the UK’s biggest franchise. Over time we will be making real improvements to passengers’ experience and managing the major changes that are happening on this part of the rail network.
“We’ve listened to what people want, and will be increasing capacity on busy commuter services, improving reliability and punctuality, introducing three new fleets of trains, spending £50 million on station improvements, and investing in our employees’ training and development.
“There’s no underestimating the challenge of the task ahead. But I’m confident that we have the people and the plans in place to make a real difference to the service we give our passengers, and that for our staff GTR will be a great place to work.”
The Thameslink and Great Northern routes connect important regional centres north and south of London such as Peterborough, Cambridge, Bedford, Luton, Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton. The services have direct rail links to Gatwick and Luton airports, and to Eurostar at St Pancras International. And from 2018 trains to Farringdon station will connect with Crossrail, bringing fast links to Heathrow, Canary Wharf and central London.
GTR will carry about 273 million passenger journeys per year, employ around 6,500 people and generate annual passenger revenues of approximately £1.3bn.