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Originally let by OPRAF for a period of 7 years and 1 month, this franchise did not include any commitment to introduce new rolling stock. A future franchise to be known as Thameslink 2000 was announced by the Strategic Rail Authority on 20 June 2000.

The SRA said on 19 December 2001 that a two-year extension to the existing franchise was being considered, with the additional possibility that Great Northern services could be transferred to Thameslink (from WAGN).

A two year extension (without Great Northern) was announced by the SRA on 13 February 2004.

start date
2 March 1997
end date
1 April 2006

owned by
Govia plc

legal title
Thameslink Rail Ltd

service area
Bedford-Luton-(London) Kings Cross Thameslink-Moorgate or >Blackfriars-East Croydon-Gatwick Airport-Brighton. Also Luton-Kings Cross Thameslink-Blackfriars-Elephant & Castle-Wimbledon/Sutton.

Thameslink TOU (British Railways Board)

was replaced by
First Capital Connect


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