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Thameslink and Great Northern

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Title: Thameslink and Great Northern  
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Thameslink and Great Northern

Thameslink and Great Northern
Franchise(s): Part of Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern
14 Sep 2014 - 2021
Main region(s): London, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex
Other region(s): Norfolk, Surrey, Kent
Stations called at: 129 (approx)
Stations operated: 77
Route km operated: 778.9
Parent company: Govia (Go-Ahead 65%/Keolis 35%)
Web site:
Route map
Route map

Thameslink and Great Northern are the brand names used by Govia Thameslink Railway on the Thameslink and Great Northern routes of the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise, previously operated by First Capital Connect. From December 2014, full control will be taken of the Sevenoaks Thameslink service (this service is currently jointly operated with Southeastern).


Due to the Thameslink Programme, Thameslink and Great Northern services were merged into one franchise in 2006. In 2012, it was announced that services of First Capital Connect, Southern (with Gatwick Express) and some Southeastern routes would be merged into a single franchise for the expanding Thameslink network.[1] The Invitation to Tender was to have been issued in October 2012, with the successful bidder announced in Spring 2013 and TSGN originally due to start in September 2013. However, due to the collapse of the InterCity West Coast re-franchising process, all franchising competitions were frozen until January 2013.[2] On January 2013 the government announced it would be exercising an option to extend the contract until March 2014. It intends to negotiate with FirstGroup to operate the franchise on a management contract for up to two years.[3]

In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would again be extended until 13 September 2014, and that the future franchise would be a management style contract due to the level of investment and change on the route.[4] In September 2013 a revised invitation to tender was issued.[5] Govia Thameslink Railway was awarded the franchise on 23 May 2014.[6][7]


On 14 September 2014, Thameslink and Great Northern took over from First Capital Connect, serving 122 stations and operating a fleet of 226 trains.

The current routes operated off-peak Monday to Friday are with frequencies measured in trains per hour:

Thameslink logo
Route Frequency Calling at
Bedford to Brighton 4 trains per hour Flitwick, Harlington, Leagrave, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, Harpenden, St Albans City, West Hampstead Thameslink (2tph), St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges, Balcombe (hourly), Haywards Heath, Wivelsfield (2tph), Burgess Hill (2tph), Hassocks (2tph), Preston Park (2tph)
Luton to Sutton then St Albans City 2 trains per hour Luton Airport Parkway, Harpenden, St Albans City, Radlett, Elstree & Borehamwood, Mill Hill Broadway, Hendon, Cricklewood, West Hampstead Thameslink, Kentish Town, St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, Loughborough Junction, Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, Streatham, Tooting, Haydons Road, Wimbledon, Wimbledon Chase, South Merton, Morden South, St Helier, Sutton Common, West Sutton, Sutton, Carshalton, Hackbridge, Mitcham Junction, Mitcham Eastfields, Streatham, all stations back to St Albans
Kentish Town to Sevenoaks
(jointly operated with Southeastern)
2 trains per hour St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye, Nunhead, Crofton Park, Catford, Bellingham, Beckenham Hill, Ravensbourne, Shortlands, Bromley South, Bickley, St Mary Cray, Swanley, Eynsford, Shoreham, Otford, Bat & Ball
Great Northern logo
Great Northern
Route Frequency Calling at
London King's Cross to King's Lynn 1 train per hour Cambridge, Waterbeach, Ely, Littleport, Downham Market, Watlington
London King's Cross to Cambridge
(Cambridge Express\Cruiser)
2 trains per hour Cambridge (1 train continues as King's Lynn service)
London King's Cross to Peterborough 2 trains per hour Finsbury Park, Potters Bar (hourly), Hatfield (hourly), Welwyn Garden City (hourly), Welwyn North (hourly), Knebworth (hourly), Stevenage, Hitchin, Arlesey, Biggleswade, Sandy, St. Neots, Huntingdon
London King's Cross to Cambridge 2 trains per hour Finsbury Park, Potters Bar (hourly), Hatfield (hourly), Welwyn Garden City (hourly), Welwyn North (hourly), Knebworth (hourly), Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth Garden City, Baldock, Ashwell and Morden (hourly), Royston, Meldreth (hourly), Shepreth (hourly), Foxton (hourly)
London Moorgate to Welwyn Garden City 3 trains per hour Old Street, Essex Road, Highbury & Islington, Drayton Park, Finsbury Park, Harringay, Hornsey, Alexandra Palace, New Southgate, Oakleigh Park, New Barnet, Hadley Wood, Potters Bar, Brookmans Park, Welham Green, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City
London Moorgate to Hertford North/Letchworth Garden City 3 trains per hour Old Street, Essex Road, Highbury & Islington, Drayton Park, Finsbury Park, Harringay, Hornsey, Alexandra Palace, Bowes Park, Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill, Grange Park, Enfield Chase, Gordon Hill, Crews Hill, Cuffley, Bayford, Hertford North, Watton-at-Stone (hourly), Stevenage (hourly), Hitchin (hourly), Letchworth Garden City (hourly)

Rolling Stock

A standard newly refurbished class 319 train with new passenger information systems on the Thameslink route

Current fleet

The rolling stock composition is of that formerly operated by First Capital Connect.

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 03 diesel locomotive 28 46 1 Shunting 1957–1961
Class 313 EMU 75 120 44 Inner suburban Great Northern
(Letchworth Garden City/Hertford North/Welwyn Garden City)
Class 317/1 100 160 12 Fast & Semi Fast Great Northern London to Peterborough & Cambridge 1981–1982
Class 319 100 160 80 Thameslink
(Brighton - Bedford, Sutton - Luton and Kentish Town - Sevenoaks)
Class 321 100 160 13 Fast & Semi Fast Great Northern London to Peterborough & Cambridge 1989–1990
Class 365 Networker Express 100 160 40 Fast & Semi Fast Great Northern London to Peterborough & King's Lynn via Cambridge 1994–1995
Class 377/2 Electrostar 100 160 9 Thameslink
(Brighton - Bedford and peak services: Bedford - Ashford International/Rochester)
Sub-leased from Southern.
Class 377/5 Electrostar 100 160 23 2008–2009

All Thameslink rolling stock is electrically powered dual-voltage units using 25 kV AC overhead power north of Farringdon and 750 V DC third rail to the south.

Planned rolling stock

In 2011 Siemens was announced as preferred bidder to manufacture the trains to run on the Thameslink routes from 2016. This was a politically controversial decision as the competing bidder Bombardier Transportation had a train factory in the UK.[8] Both the procurement process and final close of contract were significantly delayed, resulting in the expected first delivery date moving from 2012 to 2016. The trains are known as Class 700s and the £1.6 billion contract to manufacture and provide service depots for the trains was finalised in mid 2013.[9] A fleet of 115 eight and twelve carriage trains are expected to enter service between 2016 and 2018. Associated rolling stock depots are being constructed at Hornsey and Three Bridges.

Due to the delay of the Class 700s, 116 additional carriages have been ordered for the Thameslink route, facilitating the release of existing Class 319 trains to newly electrified routes. In the longer term, these new trains will in turn also be cascaded, to the London St Pancras to Corby service. Delivery is expected in 2015, and the order includes provision for an extra 140 vehicles.[10][11]

Govia have also announced that in addition to the new Thameslink trains they will order new trains for the Brighton and Gatwick Express routes; 108 carriages are expected. With this a further 150 new carriages are to be ordered for Great Northern suburban services, replacing the 35-year-old Class 313 trains.[12]

 Class  Image Type  Top speed   Number   Cars per set   Seat layout   Routes operated   Built   Years operated 
 mph   km/h 
Class 387 EMU 110 177 29 4 2+2 Thameslink route 2014-2015 From 2015
Class 700 EMU 100 160 115 8 & 12 2+2 Thameslink route 2014-2017 From early 2016
Unknown EMU 75 or 100 120 or 160 25 6 2+2 Great Northern route 2017- From 2018

Franchise commitments

Beckenham Hill will transfer from Southeastern to Thameslink management in December 2014

This franchise is different from other franchises let since privatisation in 1996. Now the operator, in this case Govia, gives all revenue to the government, rather than paying set premiums. The Department for Transport will pay Govia, totaling around £8.9bn over the franchise period of seven years, from the expected revenues of £12.4bn. With this Govia expects to make a 3% profit, risks on costs will be Govia's, while the DfT will profit or lose from fluctuations in revenue.[12]

Govia plans to invest £50m on all 239 stations it will manage. It plans to:[13]

  • Enhance all 239 stations including improving access, replace electronic information screens and working with local authorities on the redevelopment of St Albans and Luton stations.
  • Increase staffing hours at many stations, with the 100 busiest stations staffed from first to last train, like London Overground stations.
  • Extension of ‘the key’ smartcard which Southern have been introducing.
  • Provide 104 stations with free wifi.
  • £1.5m on station access improvements including increased cycle storage and electrical vehicle charging points.

Other plans include:[14]

  • Half hourly King's Lynn to London services
  • Direct Peterborough, Cambridge, Welwyn Garden City and Finsbury Park to Tattenham Corner, Caterham, Horsham services.[15]
  • Increasing Great Northern suburban services to four trains per hour via Enfield Chase and New Barnet
  • Great Northern suburban services to run to Moorgate on weekends and weekday evenings
  • 50% increase in capacity from Uckfield to London at peaks.
  • Doubling overnight Thameslink services
  • Sevenoaks Thameslink services to run on Saturdays
  • Working to extend Oyster to Epsom, Gatwick Airport, Luton Airport Parkway, Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North [16]
  • Class 377 Electrostars for King's Lynn express services, making Class 317s, 321s and some Class 365s Networkers available for newly electrified routes.[17]
  • Creating an Alliance arrangement with Network Rail in 2016, like South West Trains[18]


  1. ^ "Consultation on the combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise". Department for Transport. DfT. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Expanding and improving the rail network". DfT. Department for Transport. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Rail franchising future programme Department for Transport 31 January 2013
  4. ^ "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
  5. ^ Thameslink Southern & Great Northern Invitation to Tender Department for Transport 26 September 2013
  6. ^ "Govia chosen for new Thameslink contract". Railnews. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Govia wins TSGN franchise, beating FirstGroup". Rail Technology Magazine (Cognitive Publishing). 23 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Siemens beats Bombardier to Thameslink train order". BBC News Online. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Millward, Daivd (13 June 2013). "Bombardier blow as Siemens wins £1.6bn Thameslink deal". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Bombardier to manufacture 116 new train carriages for Thameslink rolling stock cascade" (Press release). Southern. 17 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Thameslink Southern & Great Northern Invitation to Tender. Department for Transport. 26 September 2013/
  12. ^ a b Topham, Gwyn (23 May 2014). "FirstGroup loses Thameslink franchise to Go-Ahead joint venture". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Govia awarded TSGN franchise". Govia. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "TSGN". Govia. Govia. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Proposed Thameslink service pattern". Thameslink Programme. Thameslink Programme. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Easier journeys and better information". Govia Thameslink Railway. Govia. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "New Trains". Govia Thameslink Railway. Govia. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "More reliable and faster services". Govia Thameslink Railway. Govia. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Thameslink and Great Northern website
Preceded by
First Capital Connect
Thameslink Great Northern franchise
Sub-brand of Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise
2014 - present
Succeeded by

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