End of the line for First Capital as Thameslink rail franchise goes to Govia

First Group will no longer run trains through Luton station
First Group will no longer run trains through Luton station

First Capital Connect has lost the Thameslink train franchise, which runs through Luton, it has been announced.

This morning the Department for Transport has confirmed that from September 14 the Thameslink and Great Northern franchise (run by First Group) will be replaced by the new TGSN franchise run by Govia Thameslink Railway Limited (owned by the Go-Ahead Group).

DfT said that the seven-year deal would see service improvements at Luton train station, as well as at a number of other stations across the South and East of England.

The franchise is the largest in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue, and staff.

Luton South MP Gavin Shuker welcomed the announcement, tweeting: “The tyranny of FCC is finally over, (I’m) chasing an early meeting with our new operators.”

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “A world class railway is a vital part of our long-term economic plan.

“New state-of-the-art trains, more seats, better connections and improved stations will transform travel across London and the south east.

“That’s great news for businesses and the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use these vital services every day.”

David Brown, Group Chief Executive of The Go-Ahead Group, added: “I’m delighted the DfT has chosen us to operate this important and complex franchise and to play an instrumental role in delivering the benefits of the Government’s £6 billion Thameslink Programme.

“This will be the UK’s busiest franchise and we will be introducing 50 per cent more capacity into central London during peak times, with 26 per cent more morning peak carriages providing 10,000 additional seats.”