First Capital Connect has lost the franchise for our rail services.
This morning (Friday, May 23) the government announced its intention to award the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise to Govia Thameslink Railway. This includes the Peterborough to London Kings Cross Line that passes through Sandy, Biggleswade and Arlesey.
The franchise will last for seven years. Govia promises to introduce 1,400 new electric carriages across its area by 2018, providing 50 per cent more capacity, although it is not clear how many of these will be used on our train line.
Govia also says it will also invest millions in improving stations and staffing, reduce delays by a fifth and improve cleanliness as well as simplifying the ticketing structure.
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.”
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.
“Everyone at FCC is committed to continue operating First Capital Connect to the highest standards until the new TSGN franchise begins. We look forward to delivering continued improvements in service reliability, customer information and customer service until September 2014.
“I am tremendously proud of the improvements we have brought to the FCC franchise and our role as a key partner in the Thameslink Programme. Our achievements include almost 30,000 extra seats over both routes at our business times, launching the new Class 700 rolling stock, transforming our class 365 trains, investing over £41m in station improvements, opening new communication channels with our customers including Twitter, and providing a safe and secure railway through our £1m investment in extra police support officers at stations.
“I want to thank our employees for their hard work and continued efforts to deliver the best possible service for our passengers.”
Govia will take over our line on Sunday, September 14.