£70m investment & tougher targets for new Southeastern franchise
The Department for Transport has extended Govia’s Southeastern rail franchise by 3 years and 9 months. The new deal, which runs from 12 October 2014 to 24 June 2018, will be the seventh rail franchise to be directly awarded by the DfT following the March 2013 franchising review.
The agreement sets tougher performance targets and requires £70m in investment from the operator. Better utilisation of existing rolling stock will provide an additional 95,000 seats (including 1,000 on the High Speed line) per day, and 300 trains are to be refurbished. From January 2015, the time table will be recast to combine the separate High Speed domestic services to Kent into a single out and back loop operation via Ashford (to improve reliability and connectivity).
£5.7m will be invested in station improvements; there will be additional station staff, more ticketing machines, and opening times are to be extended at Cannon Street station.
Govia is a Go Ahead/Keolis 65:35 joint venture company, and Southeastern is the trading name for London & South Eastern Railway Ltd (LSER).
The new agreement aims to ensure continuity of management throughout the crucial Thameslink upgrade at London Bridge station, scheduled to take place between January 2015 and January 2018.