Latest Rail News

01.06.12

DfT undecided on services to be included in massive ‘combined franchise’

A consultation has been launched to get people’s views on the biggest franchise ever dreamt up by the DfT – the so-called ‘combined franchise’ of Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern, which would operate services from Brighton to King’s Lynn and Southampton to Ashford.

The franchise would basically be a merger of those now operated by First Capital Connect and Southern, including Gatwick Express, but the DfT has not yet decided whether all Great Northern services will be included, or if some will be transferred to the next InterCity East Coast franchise.

The combined franchise will also include a number of services now delivered by Southeastern, to be added in 2014 and 2018. The DfT said: “When all the services have been incorporated, it would have the largest income, most trains and most staff of any franchise in theUKrail market.”

It is due to start in September 2013 and run for a minimum of seven years.

The consultation, which began yesterday, closes on 23 August 2012.

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “This new franchise will be a key part of public transport in Londonand the South of England. Before we set the terms of the franchise and choose who will operate it, we want to hear a wide range of views on the services passengers want.

“We are also seeking views on how to maximise the benefits of the Thameslink upgrade and how they should be shared between different communities along the line.

“This consultation outlines a number of standards we expect any new operator to deliver as a matter of course, including improvements to stations, better ticket-buying facilities and passenger information and good levels of punctuality. But we also want passengers, and anyone else with an interest in improving the railways, to tell us about other ways in which they think services could be better.”

Visit www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-23

(Image shows an aerial view of Farringdon station, which will be one of the stations at the heart of the new franchise. Courtesy Network Rail)

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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