Go-Ahead trumpets improvement in Thameslink rail service

Go-Ahead Group has lauded an improving performance on its Govia Thameslink rail service, which made headlines this summer following a disastrous timetable change.

Customers were affected by bungled timetable changes in May, which led to widespread cancellations and delays across Britain’s rail network, including on Go-Ahead’s Great Northern and Thameslink franchises.

David Brown, chief executive of the transport giant, said on Thursday: “I am pleased that the past few months have seen a marked improvement in the operational performance of GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway).”

An extra 400 journeys are expected to be running by the end of the year into London for an additional 50,000 passengers at peak time in the mornings.

Mr Brown said the Southeastern rail franchise, which the firm also runs, “has continued to perform very well and it has consistently been the best performing large train franchise in the UK in recent months”.

Go-Ahead previously said that it expects to pay out “millions” of pounds in compensation to passengers who were affected by the timetable chaos.

Nevertheless, annual results recently revealed a 6.5% rise in pre-tax profits to £145.7 million for the year to June 30.

Go-ahead left its expectations for the full-year unchanged as it reported that revenue growth exceeded the number of passenger journeys for both its rail and bus divisions in the five months ended November 28.

Revenue from Southeastern increased about 7% in the year to date, while passenger journeys rose 5%.

Revenue from its bus operations grew 3% and passenger journeys increased 1.5%.

“In bus, our London operations have continued to earn strong quality incentive contract income through the delivery of good service performance,” Mr Brown said.

“In our regional bus business, overall passenger volumes have grown although the trends remain mixed across the country.”

Shares were up 6.6% to 1,654p in afternoon trade.