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FCC contract extension ahead of Thameslink

First Capital Connect has been given a six-month contract extension to continue running services between London, Bedford, Brighton and Kings Lynn.

The deal covers the remaining time before the combined Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern (TSGN) ‘super franchise’ – the biggest in the country – starts operating in September 2014.

FCC said it will continue with its comprehensive fleet maintenance programme, as well as introducing service improvements for passengers including better information at stations, further measures on train cleanliness and graffiti, and station improvements along the route.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We have embarked on one of the biggest programmes of rail modernisation ever with more than £38bn being spent to maintain and improve our railways over the next five years.

“This contract is a major step towards boosting services for the 150,000 passengers who use these routes every day as well as the national and regional economies.

“The new contract with FCC represents the best deal for passengers and taxpayers. It ensures the continuity of the existing service and guarantees the completion of the ongoing Thameslink Programme.”

FCC managing director David Statham said: “First Capital Connect welcome the opportunity to deliver still more value for money for passengers during this franchise period. This gives passengers the assurance we will continue our investment to improve customers’ experience and work to deliver a train overhaul and ongoing station and service information improvements.

“We are continuing to play an active role as the Thameslink Programme delivery partner on behalf of the DfT. We have recently unveiled the new Class 700 train, which will come in service from 2016, and are also delivering a major upgrade programme of our Class 365 trains.”

And Tim O'Toole, chief executive of FirstGroup, said: "Today's agreement with the Department for Transport provides continuity and consistency for First Capital Connect passengers, building on the improvements our experienced team is already making as we play an active part in delivering the multi-billion pound Thameslink Programme. This agreement allows us to continue our improvements over the next six months, focusing in particular on customer information provision and assistance.”

FirstGroup, the owner of FCC, was one of five companies that prequalified to bid for the TSGN franchise. The others were

- AbellioThameslink Limited

- First Thameslink Limited

- MTR Corporation Thameslink Limited

- Stagecoach Thameslink Trains Limited

It will be a management style contract, the government says, “due to the level of investment and change on the route”.

More on the franchise and likely service patterns here.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Ricp   20/02/2014 at 11:27

Many passengers will be disaapointed by this seeing both the state of many of FCC's trains, and the comments on the 'I hate First Capital Connect' Facebook Page. Not a popular TOC!

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