Overground rail services operating across south London are to changed hands after the Government awarded Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise to Govia Thameslink Railway Limited.

The seven-year franchise is expected to open up new routes, bring a new fleet of trains on services currently operated under First Capital Connect and Southern rail.

New state-of-the-art trains will replace existing carriages on the Wimbledon Loop from 2016, while there will new connections linking Croydon stations such as Purley with Cambridge and Welwyn Garden City in 2018.

Earlier Sunday service is also expected on the Wimbledon loop, and two additional trains between Wimbledon and London Bridge via Peckham Rye during peak hours.

With almost 1,400 new electric carriages being introduced onto the network, it is hoped there will be 10,000 more seats available for passengers travelling to central London every weekday by the end of 2018.

Wandsworth Guardian:

The routes to be taken over by Govia

Rail Minister, and MP for Wimbledon, Stephen Hammond said: “A world class railway is a vital part of our long-term economic plan. New state-of-the-art trains, more seats, better connections and improved stations will transform travel across London and the South East. That’s great news for businesses and the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use these vital services every day.”

Govia has also promised to invest significantly in improving stations, including free wi-fi at more than 100 stations, better retail and catering facilities and improvements to customer information systems.

The new franchise will replace the existing Thameslink and Great Northern franchise, operated as First Capital Connect from September 14 and will include the South Central franchise, operated as Southern and Gatwick Express, when it expires on 26 July 2015.