Written statement to Parliament

Rail franchising: Thameslink Great Northern

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

First Capital Connect to continue to provide services to start of the new combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise.

On 18 February 2014 my department announced the successful conclusion of negotiations for the direct award of a new, 6 period franchise agreement to First Capital Connect that will see that company continue to provide services from the end of their current franchise on 31 March 2014 to the start of the new combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise later this year.

Through this contract I have guaranteed services for passengers and ensured that the transition into the new franchise will be as smooth as possible; maximising the value for the taxpayer. This short contract is a key step in ensuring the delivery of the significant £6 billion Thameslink programme, which will transform the lives of rail passengers in the south east through the delivery of new trains and more capacity; allowing 24 trains per hour through some of the most congested routes in the country.

The current franchise expires at 1:59am on 1 April 2014, at the end of the previous day’s services.