A key element of the franchise will be the introduction of the new Class 700 trains on Thameslink services with new destinations, whilst maintaining service reliability during the remodelling of London Bridge station and introduction of the 24 trains per hour schedule through the Thameslink core. New services will include direct trains between Cambridge and Brighton.

Govia will have to improve stations and staffing, simplify the ticketing structure, extend 'The Key' smartcard and meet tough new targets to improve punctuality, reduce delays by around a fifth and improve cleanliness. Over 100 stations will have free wifi and staff on duty from the first train in the morning until the last train at night.

Govia will provide new trains for the Gatwick Express service which are more suited to airport traffic by 2016, and replace the 38 year old class 313 trains on Great Northern inner suburban services from Moorgate with new trains by 2018.

The TSGN franchise will replace the existing Thameslink and Great Northern franchise (operated as First Capital Connect) from 14 September 2014 and will include the South Central franchise (operated by Govia as Southern and Gatwick Express) when it expires on 26 July 2015. A small number of services and stations will also transfer from the South Eastern franchise by 21 December 2014. During the course of the franchise the Thameslink identity will be re-introduced whilst retaining the Southern and Gatwick Express brands.

Roger Blake of Railfuture commented: "We look forward to working in partnership with Govia Thameslink  to improve passengers' journey experience during a period of change and challenge over the next few years.  We also look forward to a creative collaboration with Govia Thameslink to lay foundations for adding longer-term value to rail services which will support the economies and communities of London and the South East."

DfT announcement
Govia press release
Govia presentation
TSGN route benefits