Promise of smooth handover of Thameslink franchise this weekend

Managing director of First Capital Connect David Statham

Managing director of First Capital Connect David Statham - Credit: Rob Divall

Thameslink commuters in St Albans have been assured of a smooth handover to the rail route’s new operators, who take charge this weekend.

First Capital Connect (FCC) will cease operating the Bedford to Brighton/Wimbledon and Sutton Thameslink route at 2am on Sunday.

From that time, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will take over, with the train services being run under the name of “Thameslink”.

David Statham, managing director of FCC, said the transition should be “seamless” as the company had been “working really hard with Govia” to ensure commuters would not notice a difference.

He added: “We are committed to helping our passengers through this change. This is why our website will still be open until at least October 19 for queries about travel made before the transition to the new franchise, including any questions and information about delay-repay travel compensation and other refunds.”

David said that FCC began removing its name from its stock about a fortnight ago, adding, “you will see the Govia Thameslink brand from Friday”.

Over 2,600 FCC employees will be transferred across to work for Govia, to also help the transition and ensure continuity.

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David thanked passengers for their custom “and patience during improvement work” FCC has carried out in the eight-and-a-half years it has run the Thameslink route.

This includes significantly increasing capacity, reliability and cleanliness of trains.

During its franchise FCC has installed a lift at Harpenden, built new shelters and waiting rooms at St Albans, Harpenden and Radlett, and boosted the amount of cycle parking at St Albans and Harpenden.

FCC has also resurfaced Harpenden station’s car park and installed solar panels on the roof of St Albans station, as well as car charging points in the Ridgmont Road car park.

David said that commuters would continue to reap the benefits of the many improvements – particularly in regard to increasing capacity.

About 95,000 people have travelled with FCC on the Thameslink route every weekday.