UK: Keolis and Go-Ahead Win the Largest Rail Franchise in the U.K.

May 27, 2014
This seven-year franchise will generate £1.1 billion (€1.36 billion) annual revenue.

The British Government announced today its intention to award the new Thameslink Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise to Govia, a partnership between Keolis and Go Ahead. The seven-year franchise will be the largest in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff. It will serve London and several major regional cities to the south (Brighton, Portsmouth), and the north (Cambridge), as well as Gatwick and Luton airports and the international hub of London St Pancras.

This franchise currently will represent 22 percent of rail passenger journeys, 273 million passenger journeys annually, totaling 4,875 million passenger miles.

It will combine 3 rail operations:

  • First Capital Connect
  • Southern (currently operated by Govia)
  • A section of Southeastern (currently operated by Govia)

This new contract will start on September, 14 2014 with First Capital Connect.

A second phase will start in July 2015 and will encompass the Southern and Gatwick Express routes and the integration of 4,000 employees.

Govia will play an active role delivering the British Government’s ambitious £6.5 billion Thameslink programme to improve frequency. Govia will focus on improving passengers’ experience, introducing three new train fleets, increasing capacity as well as enhancing stations.

“This new contract represents a very significant milestone in Keolis’ international growth and it strengthens our partnership with Go Ahead,” comments Jean-Pierre Farandou, president and Group CEO, Keolis. “TSGN is a key reference in mass transit and we look forward to delivering the challenging requirements of this new franchise.”

“This award is testimony to the experience of our people of working in partnership with the DfT, Network Rail and other industry stakeholders and in delivering improvements at stations,” says David Brown, group chief executive to Go Ahead Group.