The Department for Transport has announced the winner of the new and enormous Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (“TSGN”) franchise which includes the MarshLink services – the winner is the current operator, Govia. From a local perspective, the operator will be Southern Railways, as now. See below for details of the wider franchise.
From a local perspective, Stuart Harland, Chairman of MarshLink Action Group said
“MLAG is pleased to hear that Govia and, locally, Southern Railways have retained the franchise. This will, hopefully, mean that all the service issues on the MarshLink line which we have discussed with Southern, to try to improve their service, will not have been lost. We look forward to re-addressing those issues with the team who are familiar with hearing our arguments, (if yet to implement the solutions) and who we know.”
“At the moment we do not know what Govia has committed itself to in its franchise bid, in particular whether any of the many issues we lobbied for in the pre-franchise submission stage were included.”
“A period of enormous change is in prospect with a considerable amount of work required to ensure we get the HS1 service along the MarshLink line with alternating all-stations electric services as proposed in recent discussions with the Department for Transport and Network Rail. During this period, I trust (and MLAG will be working towards) the stability provided by the same operator will enable the service improvements sought over a long time to be implemented – these include better connection times at Ashford, later trains and a Sunday service at the smaller stations.”
MarshLink Action Group