Southeastern chuffed as it keeps franchise

Southeastern will add new services to London
RAIL AND bus operator Go-Ahead received a boost yesterday as its majority-owned Southeastern train comp­any had its franchise renewed for another four years.

Southeastern, run by the Govia joint venture between Go-Ahead and France’s SNCF-owned Keolis, will keep its routes between London, Kent and some areas of East Sussex until June 2018, the government said yesterday.

The franchise agreement will see Southeastern work with Network Rail on the three-year rebuild­ing project of London Bridge station as part of the government’s £6.5bn Thames­link expansion programme, due to be completed in 2018.

David Brown, chief exec­utive of Go-Ahead said: “The plans to be delivered offer benefits for passengers, taxpayers and the communities that we serve.”

The rail franchise renewal is the latest in a range of successes for Govia, including winning the Thameslink rail franchise in May, the UK largest in terms of passenger numbers and trains.

In addition. Govia also runs the London Midland, Southern and Great Northern franchises, and has been shortlisted for the Northern and Trans­Pennine Express franchises.

The franchise win, described by rail minister Claire Perry as a “fresh start” for Southeastern, comes despite the company receiving low satisfaction levels in rail watchdog Passenger Focus’s most recent survey in June.