Rail users are hopeful over the franchise change on the Great Northern route

Rail campaigners hopeful over franchise change on Great Northern route

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
11.11 AM

Rail campaigners are hopeful they will be able to forge a strong relationship with the new franchisee for Crow country’s trains.

Last week it was announced that Govia would be taking over the running of trains on the Great Northern route between Cambridge and London King’s Cross, which stop at Royston and other Crow country stations.

They will pick up the franchise from current holders, First Capital Connect (FCC), in September 2014.

County councillor Susan van de Ven chairs the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group, which has worked alongside FCC to make improvements at all three village stations.

She said: “It’s important to note that the franchise Govia are getting is much larger than the one currently held by FCC, and will be focused on commuters travelling long distances.

“For us the most important thing is that affordable local public transport is available, and we can’t afford for that to be lost in the bigger picture. We want to keep the 50 per cent rail discount we have in place for 16-19-year-old students, which is a greater discount than on the rest of the network.”

Cllr Van de Ven added that she had already attended a meeting arranged by Govia to introduce themselves to rail user groups.

“We will make it clear to Govia that we want to build on the good relationship we have with FCC and improve services further for passengers,” she said.

A spokesman for FCC said: “We are of course disappointed that our parent company FirstGroup has not been selected as the operator for the TSGN franchise. We will work with Govia in order to secure the smooth transition of operations.”