Sunday 26 June 2022

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The Department for Transport has decided to abandon the franchising system in England.

The franchise on this page ceased to exist on normal commercial terms on 23 March 2020, and was replaced by an Emergency Measures Agreement, which guaranteed an income to operators and removed commercial risk.

From 20 September 2020 until some time in 2022 Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs) replaced the original EMAs, slightly reducing the fixed fees paid to operators but otherwise continuing the protection from commercial risk.

Replacement contracts of a new type may be announced later on.

(In the case of Scottish franchises, the Scottish Government announced on 18 September an extension of its EMAs from 20 September 2020 to January 2021, pending further discussions.)

Govia Thameslink Railway

Franchise of 7 years awarded 23 May 2014 and confirmed 12 June 2014, having been signed on 11 June after the markets had closed. This is a form of management contract, within which Govia does not take the revenue risk. The reason is that major changes take place during the contract term, including the introduction of new trains and an additional route from the core Thameslink line just north of St Pancras to the East Coast Main Line for through Great Northern services. From 14 September 2014, Govia Thameslink Railway took over the Thameslink and Great Northern routes which had been operated by First Capital Connect. The GTR network was enlarged by the addition of some Southeastern services on 21 December 2014, and then by absorbing the Southern network, including Gatwick Express, on 26 July 2015. A remedial plan was prepared by the DfT in February 2016 in response to high levels of cancellations. The end date may be extended by up to 26 reporting periods (104 weeks).

start date
14 September 2014
end date
19 September 2021

owned by
Govia Ltd

legal title
Govia Thameslink Railway Limited

service area
Commuter and outer suburban services. Bedford-St Pancras International-Gatwick Airport-Brighton, London King's Cross-Hertford North-Stevenage/Peterborough/Cambridge-King's Lynn, Luton-St Pancras International-Wimbledon/Sutton, plus some journeys operated jointly with Southeastern between Bedford/Luton/Kentish Town and Sevenoaks/Ashford. Also commuter, regional and local services between London Victoria/East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Brighton, local and regional Sussex Coast services to Eastbourne, Ashford, Seaford, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton Central, plus inner south London Metro routes and South Croydon-Clapham Junction-Watford Junction-Milton Keynes Central.

First Capital Connect

to be replaced by


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