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New Thameslink trains help GTR to hat-trick of awards at rail awards

Press Release   •   Feb 26, 2016 12:23 GMT

High resolution versions of these pictures are available at

New Thameslink trains introduced last year helped Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to a hat-trick of accolades in the prestigious Rail Business Awards ceremony held last night (25 Feb), and the company was highly commended in another.

The wins were in the categories of: Rolling Stock Excellence – for new trains brought onto the Thameslink route; Safety and Security Excellence; and Customer Information & Service Excellence categories, with the commendation coming in the Corporate Communications category.

Charles Horton, GTR's CEO, said:

“At GTR we are committed to improving the passenger experience. These awards demonstrate the improvements we have put in place to make travelling with us safer, as well as increasingly comfortable and accessible for all.

“There are many great projects and activities underway to further improve services for customers across our business and it’s fantastic to see some of the brightest and best of these being recognised by our industry colleagues.”

Rolling Stock Excellence

Thameslink’s newest train fleet - Class 387/1 Electrostars (link to pictures, introduced in 2015 - scooped the Rolling Stock Excellence award. This was a joint entry between GTR and the Department for Transport and the judges were equally impressed with the outstanding passenger facilities on-board these units, and the speed at which they were introduced.

The introduction of the 116 new carriages has significantly improved the passenger experience on the Thameslink Route and added much needed capacity, whilst enabling the release of existing trains to support electrification programmes elsewhere on the rail network.

These trains were completed alongside major depot infrastructure and training programmes, and against the backdrop of two organisations merging.

These trains are the blueprint for the new Class 387/2 Gatwick Express trains, the first of which will enter service between Victoria and Gatwick on 29 February.

Even newer trains are due to follow on Thameslink, later this spring.

Safety and Security Excellence

Southern’s Rail Neighbourhood Officer (RNO) team won the Safety and Security Excellence award. This recognises the hard work all of the individuals undertake to help keep passengers safe when travelling. Thameslink and Great Northern are introducing similar teams of Rail Enforcement Officers to support the work of the British Transport Police and increase security.

Since 2009, Southern’s RNOs have patrolled over 20,000 trains, written up 2,700 Fare Evasion notices, contributed to 340 arrests and given out 37,075 Anti-Social Behaviour warnings. In the past year, the team has dealt with many issues, including anti-social behaviour and the difficult task of tackling tissue beggars. They have also organised a number of cycle surgeries with the British Transport Police and helped to deliver GTR’s unique Go-Learn educational material, which focuses on safe and independent travel, to over 3,000 young people.

Customer Information and Service Excellence

Southern’s ‘This Is Me’ campaign won the Customer Information and Service Excellence award. This work was introduced following an initial idea from Southern’s Customer Cabinet, a group of passengers and staff who get together to discuss and implement self-generated initiatives and customer suggestions.

‘This is Me’ was borne from feedback from passengers with access needs, so a series of posters, leaflets and videos was created. For Southern staff, this has become part of training and the team brief process. The material was also used to promote the assistance services Southern offers to passengers with a resulting increase in the number of passengers booking assistance.

'This is Me’ was also highly commended in the Corporate Communications category.

Hassocks station was shortlisted in the Station Excellence category, recognising the new station building, lifts and community run cycle facility.


Editor’s notes

Press office number for enquiries about Southern and Gatwick Express: 0203 750 2030.

Press office number for enquiries about Thameslink or Great Northern: 0203 750 2031.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – Fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria
  • Thameslink – Bedford to Brighton, Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – London to Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn GTR is now the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: GTR carries about 273 million passenger journeys per year, employs around 6,500 people and generates annual passenger revenues of approximately £1.3bn. Details of the franchise are below:
  • 22% of all UK passengers
  • 6,500 employees
  • £1.3bn annual revenue
  • £237m passenger journeys
  • £50m investment to enhance all 239 stations
  • 50% increase in capacity
  • 1,398 new train carriages
  • 10,000 additional morning peak seats into London
  • Free Wi-Fi at 104 stations
  • 20,000 days of customer service training for frontline employees
  • £1m per year for local communities to spend on improvements at stations