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Press release -

​Govia Thameslink Railway reveals plans to improve services for passengers across the South East

  • GTR consults further as it finalises plans to transform South East train service and connect four regions through central London
  • New expanded Thameslink network to give 140 stations direct access to St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink and London Blackfriars
  • Trains every 2-3 minutes between Blackfriars and St Pancras International – 80% more peak time seats and relief for Piccadilly, Victoria and Northern Tube lines
  • Better resilience across network

B-roll film and pictures are available here

Passengers across the South East will have faster, easier, more seamless journeys into and across central London, train firm Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) revealed today.

Rail travellers from 80 more stations will have direct access to St Pancras International, Farringdon for Crossrail, City Thameslink and Blackfriars, speeding journeys and relieving congestion on the railway and London’s Tube.

Simpler timetables will also mean more reliable services on its Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern routes.

GTR says expanding the cross-London Thameslink network and simplifying timetables throughout the South East in just under a year’s time is central to its plans to modernise services. New trains, new rail routes and updated working practices will future-proof Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern where passenger numbers, in some places, have doubled in just 12 years.

Passengers are now being asked to comment on detailed timetables as GTR launches the second phase of a massive consultation exercise at

Highlights of the proposed changes introduced incrementally from May 2018:

  • New expanded Thameslink network to give 140 stations (80 more than today) direct access to St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars in central London, all via the new station at London Bridge, relieving the Piccadilly, Victoria and Northern Tube lines
  • Interchange for all 140 stations with Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) at Farringdon
  • 70% more peak time seats between London Blackfriars and St Pancras International across central London
  • Massive increase in number of Thameslink trains at London Bridge
  • New direct Thameslink routes through London between:
    • Cambridge and Brighton
    • Horsham and Peterborough
    • Cambridge and Maidstone East (with some extensions to Ashford International)
    • Luton and Kent Medway Towns (e.g. Greenwich and Dartford)
    • Littlehampton and Bedford
    • East Grinstead and Bedford
  • Faster, seamless journeys: Cambridge to Gatwick Airport 20% faster; Greenwich to Luton Airport 37% faster; 10-15 minutes quicker to Canary Wharf and Paddington via Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) at Farringdon
  • More spacious trains: 115 new Thameslink trains, many the size of 21 double decker buses.

GTR will also improve services for stations that won’t be on the Thameslink network through the timetable change:

  • Greater reliability planned for services across the GTR network, in particular in the congested south London metro area through simplification of services
  • New trains and more frequent metro services for Great Northern
  • Doubling length of trains between King’s Lynn and Cambridge subject to Network Rail improvements

GTR’s CEO Charles Horton said: “Our networks are some of the busiest and most complex in the world. Passenger journeys have doubled in recent years, the fastest growth in the UK. Sitting still is not an option.

“That's why we've been hard at work, delivering the transformation needed. By improving tracks and stations, introducing new trains and adding more destinations, we're making sure our passengers’ railway is fit for the future. We are still in transition but the work is nearly complete.

“We started our consultation in the autumn – one of the biggest ever conducted – and we’ve listened and taken on board where possible passengers’ views on the new routes and developed weekday timetables for final comment. They’ve been designed with reliability at their heart, offering new direct routes across London and more seamless journeys.”

Passengers can find out what the changes mean for their journey at or request paper copies by post (see editor’s notes).

The consultation into the weekday timetables runs until 5pm on Thursday 27 July 2017. Weekend timetables will be shared later in the year.


Notes to editors has all the information about the new timetable and GTR’s response to the first phase of the consultation. This explains what people said to our proposals and what changes GTR has been able to make.

Paper copies of the documents are also available by writing to:

GTR Timetable Consultation

c/o East Side Offices

London Kings Cross Station


Southeastern is also consulting on its May 2018 timetable This runs until 23:59 on 9 Aug 2017.

Highlights of the new GTR timetable include:

On Thameslink north, from Bedford:

  • More frequent trains at most stations from Bedford to London
  • 50% more off-peak semi-fast trains from Luton via Elstree & Borehamwood

On Kent Thameslink:

  • New Thameslink services across central London via London Bridge from Greenwich, Dartford and Medway Towns, providing connections with the new east to west Crossrail (Elizabeth Line), St Pancras International and DLR
  • New, all-day, Thameslink services between Maidstone East and Cambridge, via London Bridge, providing connections with the new east to west Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) and St Pancras International
  • Thameslink off-peak frequency doubled on the Catford loop stations, from Bickley and Bromley South to Blackfriars

On Southern

  • Littlehampton, Horsham and East Grinstead services to London Bridge will transfer to Thameslink in 2018, and continue through central London, to Bedford and Peterborough, creating a direct link to Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) at Farringdon and connections at St Pancras International for Luton Airport
  • Improved train service between Reigate and London Victoria
  • More capacity and better reliability through a range of improvements designed to make routes self-contained and easier to operate. This will reduce the domino effect in times of disruption and result in a more reliable service
  • New all-day service between Epsom, Sutton, West Croydon & London Bridge
  • Longer 10-carriage trains on Surrey’s Caterham & Tattenham Corner routes
  • Improvements for Redhill including a return of trains to London Bridge with faster journey times in the off-peak

On Great Northern:

  • New direct services from Cambridge and Peterborough to Gatwick Airport and beyond
  • Creates additional direct links to Maidstone from Cambridge
  • Double the number of Peterborough semi-fast and Cambridge semi-fast and stopping off-peak services
  • Much more frequent service on the metro stopping services between Hertford, Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City and Moorgate in London:
  • Hertford Loop: Off peak frequency is proposed to double from 3tph to 6tph all day, Monday to Saturday and from 2tph to 4tph on Sundays
  • Welwyn Garden City: Off peak and Saturday frequency will increase from 3tph (weekdays) and 2tph (weekends) to 4tph all day, all week
  • Plus, into Moorgate, a new fleet of fixed length six-carriage trains (many run with three carriages today) that replace one of the oldest classes of train in the country – the 40-year-old Class 313.
  • Three independent studies commissioned by the Department for Transport have confirmed it will not be possible to deliver the improvements across Great Northern and at the same time maintain a train service between Stevenage and Watton-at-Stone/Hertford North until Network Rail has completed a new terminating bay platform at Stevenage, that was originally planned for the start of the new timetable but has subsequently been delayed. Instead a bus service will operate between Hertford North, Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage. A train service will run between Watton-at-Stone and Moorgate
  • Doubling length of trains between King’s Lynn and Cambridge subject to Network Rail improvements




Notes to editors

For more information email or call

  • Southern and Gatwick Express press office: 0203 750 2030
  • Thameslink and Great Northern press office: 0203 750 2031
  • Govia Thameslink Railway

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

  • Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • 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
  • GTR is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: GTR carries about 326 million passenger journeys per year, and employs around 6,500 people. Its aim is to improve services across all four networks.

    Ticket revenue is passed to the government which pays GTR a fee to operate the franchise which is adjusted according to how well the train service is performing.

    Southern has the highest passenger growth in the UK with numbers into London having doubled in 12 years - compared with the industry doubling over the past 20 years. To meet this growth and to future-proof the network, GTR is modernising the rail service for passengers.

    GTR has introduced more new trains in the past year than all other franchises put together, with 500 new carriages so far.

    The transformative £7bn Thameslink Programme will bring hundreds more daily services from 2018, increasing the number of trains though the central London core from up to 15 to 24 trains per hour. Network Rail has also launched a £300m programme to improve resilience across the GTR network

    GTR is modernising how it works, with new technology in use at our stations and on our trains, smartcard ticketing and a new, flexible on-board role on many Southern services. This ensures fewer cancellations, and with more staff on board our trains now than ever before, passengers are enjoying a much better level of on-board customer service.

    The GTR investment programme for stations includes funding for more CCTV, toilet refurbishments, new retail facilities, help points and car park improvements – as well as plans for increased motorcycle storage and improved transport integration.,,

    Govia Thameslink Railway
    United Kingdom