Thameslink (train operating company 1997–2006)

Thameslink[1] was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Govia that operated the Thameslink franchise from March 1997 until March 2006. The franchise was due to end on 31 March 2004, but on 13 February 2004 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded Govia a two-year extension.[2]

Class 319 DC Unit - Thameslink livery - East Croydon railway station - England - 270404.jpg
2 March 1997 – 31 March 2006
Main station(s)Bedford, King's Cross,
Other station(s)Luton Airport, Blackfriars,
London Bridge, Gatwick Airport,
Fleet size74 Class 319 dual-voltage sets
Stations called at56 (26 operated)
National Rail abbreviationTR
Parent companyGovia (Go-Ahead/Keolis)
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification750 V DC third rail


Thameslink operated passenger services from Bedford via the Thameslink route to London Moorgate, Sutton, Wimbledon and Brighton.

Rolling StockEdit

Thameslink inherited a fleet of 66 Class 319s from Network SouthEast.

During 2002, Thameslink hired two Class 317s from West Anglia Great Northern for services to Moorgate. Thameslink received some extra Class 319s from Southern in 2004.

From September 2004 until May 2005, Class 317s were hired from West Anglia Great Northern to operate Bedford to St Pancras services while the Thameslink line was severed for six months for the new St Pancras station to be built.[3]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Built
mph km/h
Class 319   electric multiple unit 100 160 74 1987 - 1988


Thameslink's fleet was originally maintained at Selhurst Depot under sub-contract by Connex South Central/Southern.[4] With the Thameslink line to be severed for six months, Bedford Cauldwell depot was built in 2004. It progressively took over all work from Selhurst.[5]


In April 2005 the Strategic Rail Authority announced the parties shortlisted to bid for the new Thameslink Great Northern franchise, Govia not being included.[6] In December 2005 the Department for Transport awarded the new franchise to FirstGroup with the services operated by Thameslink transferring to First Capital Connect on 1 April 2006.[7] However, it was announced in May 2014 that Govia had reclaimed the Thameslink franchise, which started on 14 September 2014, thus ending the First Capital Connect franchise. Govia now operates Thameslink under Govia Thameslink Railway.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3013232 Thameslink Rail Limited
  2. ^ Franchising Program Continues Apace Strategic Rail Authority 13 February 2004
  3. ^ Rail Magazine Issue 488 26 May 2004 Page 46
  4. ^ Rail Magazine Issue 443 4 September 2002 Page 38
  5. ^ Cauldwell: Success born from dereliction Archived 11 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine The Rail Engineer April 2009
  6. ^ Pre-qualified Bidders for Two New Passenger Franchises were announced by the SRA today Strategic Rail Authority Press Release 1 April 2005
  7. ^ Department for Transport Announces Winner of Thameslink/GN Franchise Department for Transport Press Release 13 December 2005

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Network SouthEast
As part of British Rail
Operator of Thameslink franchise
1997 - 2006
Succeeded by
First Capital Connect
Thameslink and Great Northern franchise