GO-AHEAD GROUP has confirmed its Govia subsidiary has been awarded a 12-week extension to the current Southeastern franchise, which will now run until 1 April 2019. The extension will cover the period until a new competed franchise begins, with Govia shortlisted to bid for the new deal alongside Stagecoach Group and a consortium of Abellio, East Japan Railway and Mitsui & Co. The winning bidder is due to be announced in the autumn.

The confirmation comes as Go-Ahead issued a trading update for the period from 31 December 2017 to 23 May 2018, in which it reports underlying passenger journey and revenue growth trends for its rail franchises have improved since the half year.

The company operates the Govia Thameslink Railway and Southeastern franchises through its subsidiary Govia, of which it owns the majority 65% share. For the period, Go-Ahead reports passenger journey growth of around 1% and passenger revenue growth of 3.5%.

The company notes passenger journeys ‘recovered well from a reduction in journeys during the Christmas period’, boosted by the resumption of services through London Bridge with the station becoming fully operational from the start of the year. On the GTR franchise, Go-Ahead notes discussions with the Department for Transport regarding a number of contractual variations ‘are ongoing’.