Help take Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern back into public hands

by Bring Back British Rail

Help take Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern back into public hands

by Bring Back British Rail
Bring Back British Rail
Case Owner
Since 2009, volunteer-run Bring Back British Rail has been campaigning for a re-unified national rail network run for people not profit.
29
days to go
£26,410
pledged of £30,000 stretch target from 590 pledges
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Bring Back British Rail
Case Owner
Since 2009, volunteer-run Bring Back British Rail has been campaigning for a re-unified national rail network run for people not profit.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: March 22, 2022

Department for Transport decision imminent

Reports in the media imply the Department for Transport is due to make a decision on the future of the Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern (TSGN) rail franchise imminently. Despite the fact tha…

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At the end of March 2022, the Department for Transport will decide whether to award a six-year contract to private company Govia Ltd to continue running the Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern rail services. This is Britain’s biggest rail franchise (known as TSGN), which Govia has run since 2015.

Meanwhile, the companies that own Govia – the Go-Ahead Group (65%) and Keolis (35%) – are under investigation for alleged serious and long-standing fraud on their other neighbouring rail franchise, Southeastern.

The situation on Southeastern became so bad, that the Department for Transport took action to bring the franchise back into public ownership in October 2021.

Yet it is still considering rewarding Govia’s failure and alleged financial malpractice by renewing the Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern contract in March.

Pledge now to help us take Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern back into public ownership


We’re working with the Association of British Commuters and their experienced legal team to put pressure on the Department for Transport not to award the contract to Govia.

If Southeastern can be brought back into public ownership, then Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern should be too.

This would provide much better value for money, and be more transparent and accountable to the public. In the long-term, it would also enable us to deliver a re-unified and integrated commuter railway – improving connections with Transport for London and across the SouthEast.

Our Legal Action


In advance of the March 2022 deadline, our lawyers will write to the Department for Transport to demand further information on the Southeastern debacle, to determine the extent to which the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis are implicated in the alleged fraud.

We have serious concerns about the impartiality of the investigations which have been conducted to date, as the Department for Transport allowed these to be carried out by the companies themselves and their auditors Deloitte.

Much of what was discovered remains hidden from public view for ‘commercial confidentiality’ reasons. This is outrageous given that more than £15 billion public money has been spent propping up private rail companies since the start of the pandemic.

Our lawyers will pursue full transparency over the Southeastern investigation, as well as over Govia’s record on the Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern franchise, which has been dogged by problems since 2015.

They will put forward our argument that Govia, the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis should be heavily penalised for any involvement in fraudulent activities, and demand that public ownership is considered as the most sensible and cost-effective way to continue running rail services on Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern.

In the event that Govia is awarded the contract, our lawyers will consider whether that decision can be challenged by judicial review.

How much we are raising and why?


We’re kickstarting this case with the funds left over from our successful legal action to make the East Coast mainline public in 2018.

If we reach our target of £20,000 this will enable us to maintain consistent pressure on the Department for Transport from now until a decision on the Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern contract is due in March. 

Any additional funds raised will be kept in reserve, should this case get more complex, or to be used for similar legal action on other rail franchises in the future.

Pledge now to help us take Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern back into public ownership

Southern Rail photograph: galaxytranitUK387 (Flickr)

Update 2

Bring Back British Rail

March 22, 2022

Department for Transport decision imminent

Reports in the media imply the Department for Transport is due to make a decision on the future of the Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern (TSGN) rail franchise imminently. Despite the fact that only last week it confirmed a £23.5 million fine to Govia for financial malpractice on its former Southeastern franchise, the DfT looks set to award the disgraced company a new six-year contract to continue running services on TSGN.

Our lawyers have today despatched a third letter to the DfT outlining a catalogue of failings by Govia and demanding that the franchise is brought back into public ownership instead. See our website for a full record of our legal correspondence with the DfT since we launched this case back in January.

Please share details of this scandal on Facebook and Twitter to help stop the DfT in its tracks.

Update 1

Bring Back British Rail

Feb. 4, 2022

We've written to the Department for Transport

We have now begun correspondence with the Department for Transport. Our Lawyers’ first letter was sent on 1 February 2022, and outlines a litany of problems and concerns relating to Govia’s operation of the Southeastern and Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern (TSGN) rail franchises.

We’re demanding full transparency over the investigations into Govia’s alleged financial malpractice, as well as evidence that the Department for Transport is considering the option to bring TSGN back into public ownership instead.

Please continue to share the case page with your friends and fellow passengers, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the updates.

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