Govia is embarking on a timetable shake-up to win back support from disgruntled passengers

Helen Cahill
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Govia wants to make the Thameslink route more effective (Source: Govia)

Govia Thameslink Railway is planning a timetable shake-up with the aim of providing new connections and faster journeys.

Govia has been beset by problems recently due to a dispute with train guards on its Southern railway service, but is now trying to win back customer loyalty with its plans for new services.

Read more: A (partial) defence of Southern Rail

"Greater reliability is planned for Southern services," Govia said.

The timetable will be in place by 2018, Govia has said, and there will be new routes between Brighton, Gatwick Airport and Cambridge. There will also be new Thameslink services via London Bridge from Kent stations - including Maidstone East, Greenwich and Dartford - and an increase in the number of Thameslink trains at the newly-refurbished London Bridge.

Govia is now carrying out a consultation on the changes and will be visiting stations across the network to talk to passengers, making sure "as many people as possible have an opportunity to respond". The consultation runs until 8 December.

Read more: Govia should be stripped of Southern Rail franchise says London Assembly

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Passengers don’t want to be consulted on how services may improve in almost two years’ time. They want action now to end the daily chaos to their journeys. This can only raise suspicions that the Southern spin machine is at full tilt to obscure the reality of cancelled trains services and their plans to get rid of guards in their bid to put profit before safety."

Phil Hutchinson, leader of Govia's timetable consultation, said the company was looking at which routes are most important for customers. There will be more routes across London, with connections to Crossrail, Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said:

Operationally, each route would be self-contained so that if a problem occurs it does not affect other routes.

The government recently unveiled a £20m fund to help get Govia back on track after strike action organised by RMT union. The money will be spent on response teams for fixing problems quickly, extra staff, and support to minimise the impact of strikes.

The £20m fund includes:

  • £2m to be spent on more rapid response teams to fix faults more quickly
  • £2.5m to be spent on accelerated train maintenance
  • £0.8m investment in extra signal supervisors to keep trains moving across the network
  • £0.9m investment in a series of measures to minimise the impact of bridge strikes

  • Money to hire extra staff at key stations including East Croydon and Gatwick to make sure trains run on time