1. ITV Report

All change on the Thameslink and Great Northern lines: First Capital Connect lose rail franchise

First Capital Connect have run services across our region since 2006 Photo: ITV News Anglia

More trains, more seats and millions of pounds of station refurbishments have been promised as a new operator prepares to take over the running of one of our region's biggest and busiest rail networks.

Govia, a joint venture by British transport operator GoAhead and French train group Keolis, will take over running of the Thameslink and Great Northern lines by the end of the year.

Currently operated by First Capital Connect, the lines link London to Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

Brand new Class 700 trains will be rolled-out over the coming years Credit: ITV News Anglia

Govia has made several promises which they hope will improve efficiency and enhance passenger comfort. Among them, the delivery of more than a thousand new Class 700 train carriages increasing passenger capacity by 50%.

Greater train frequency on routes will also create 10,000 extra seats into London at peak times.

The deal will also see a new line linking Cambridge, Gatwick Airport and Brighton directly for the first time.

First Capital Connect, who have run services on the line since 2006, had submitted a bid to run the new franchise.

We're disappointed but also proud of what the staff at FCC have achieved... New trains (including the first 12-carriage trains from Bedford) and extra services which have given commuters almost 30,000 extra seats a day across the network...

We shall continue to operate First Capital Connect until the new franchise begins on 14 September 2014, and during that time we look forward to continuing improvements to our trains, stations and customer service training. We shall work with the new operator as they prepare to take on these crucial responsibilities for the route.

– First Capital Connect

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Olivia Paterson

Click below to see the full interview with the Chief Executive of the GoAhead Group, David Brown, on what the change in franchise will mean for rail passengers.

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