UK Rail Minister Claire Perry has launched the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise to bring better infrastructure facilities to London’s rail network.
In June, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) awarded a contract to Govia Thameslink Railway to run the new franchise.
The new seven-year TSGN franchise replaces the existing Thameslink and Great Northern franchise.
Perry said: "Passengers can look forward to new trains, more seats, improved stations and better services, and today marks the very start of that journey.
"This is all part of our plan to support economic growth by building a world-class rail network fit for the 21st century."
The franchise will improve services to destinations, including Brighton, King’s Lynn, Peterborough, Cambridge, Bedford, Luton and Gatwick, as well as Southampton, Milton Keynes, Hastings, Eastbourne and Sevenoaks in the next stage.
It will manage 1,400 new electric carriages by the end of 2018, providing 50% more capacity and 10,000 extra seats every weekday into central London.
A new fleet of 108 carriages will be ordered by Govia for the Gatwick Express service, which will replace the existing 25-year-old trains.
Furthermore, approximately 150 new carriages will be procured to replace the 40-year-old trains that are currently operating on the route between Moorgate, north London and Hertfordshire.
The UK Government-sponsored £6.5bn Thameslink Programme aims to transform the current layout of the station and create a platform with new tracks, which can operate larger and spacious trains to offer passengers more travel options to new destinations.
Image: Officials from the UK Department for Transport during the launching ceremony. Photo: courtesy of Department for Transport.