First Capital Connect loses Thameslink franchise
Amid all the election results flooding in from around the country, another bit of news could affect West Hampstead commuters at least as much.
First Capital Connect, owned by the First Group, has lost the Thameslink franchise to Govia, a joint venture between Go Ahead Group and Keolis. The new operator, which currently operates Southern trains, will take over both the Brighton to Bedford route from mid-September as well as the Great Northern route that First Capital Connect also operates. The new enlarged franchise – catchily titled Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) – is the UK’s largest in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue, and staff according to the BBC.
First Capital Connect was voted the worst train operating company by customers earlier this year, and First Group’s share price had already fallen in expectation of this franchise loss. The group still operates First Great Western – which has been badly affected this year by the flooding in the south-west – and First TransPenine Express.
The Thameslink route is, as you know, undergoing a major upgrade with new trains and a complete overhaul of London Bridge station. Assuming all goes to plan, Govia should benefit from this better service and will no doubt hope to see a leap up the customer satisfacton rankings.