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Limited company
IndustryPublic transport
FoundedNovember 1996
HeadquartersNewcastle upon Tyne
Area served
United Kingdom
ProductsTrain services
OwnerGo-Ahead Group (65%)
Keolis (35%)

Govia[1] is a transport company based in the United Kingdom. It was formed in November 1996 as a joint venture between Go-Ahead Group (65%) and Keolis (35%) to bid for rail franchises during the privatisation of British Rail.


Established in 1986, the Go-Ahead Group has its roots in North East England where it was formed as Go-Ahead Northern during the de-regulation of the bus industry. Keolis is the biggest private operator of public transport in France and a major worldwide operator of transport services.

As part of the privatisation of British Rail, the Thames Trains franchise was awarded to Victory Rail Holdings,[2] a company owned by Go-Ahead (65%) and some ex British Rail managers (35%), with operations commencing on 13 October 1996.[3] Go-Ahead bought the remaining shares it did not own in June 1998.[4]

Go-Ahead formed a joint venture with Keolis and were awarded the Thameslink franchise with operations commencing on 2 March 1997. Upon being retendered, the franchise passed to First Capital Connect on 1 April 2006. Govia also unsuccessfully bid for the Regional Railways North West and ScotRail franchises.

In August 2001, Govia commenced operating the South Central franchise adopting the name Southern.[5][6] In April 2006, Govia commenced operating the Southeastern franchise. In November 2007, Govia commenced operating the London Midland franchise and in May 2014, the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise.[7][8] Govia unsuccessfully bid for the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises in 2015.[9]

Current operations[edit]

Govia currently operate two franchises:[10]

Previous operations[edit]

Govia previously ran rail franchises through the following companies:

Other operations[edit]

The partners have also bid for other franchises separately. Keolis held a 45% shareholding in former train operating company First TransPennine Express since February 2004. In 2012, it bid for the InterCity West Coast franchise in partnership with SNCF. Go-Ahead bid for the Greater Anglia franchise.[17]

The partners also lodged an unsuccessful bid for the TransPennine Express franchise in 2015, but this was not being done through Govia, with Keolis holding a majority shareholding.[9]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3278419 Govia Limited
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 3147927 Victory Rail Holdings Limited
  3. ^ Go-Ahead annual report 1997 Archived 23 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine Go-Ahead Group plc 28 June 1997
  4. ^ Go-Ahead annual report 1998 Archived 23 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine Go-Ahead Group plc 27 June 1998
  5. ^ Retention of South Central franchise Archived 23 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine Go-Ahead 9 June 2009
  6. ^ More frequent and more secure rail services for London and the South East Archived 19 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine Department for Transport 9 June 2009
  7. ^ About Us Govia
  8. ^ Govia wins Thameslink rail franchise BBC News 23 May 2014
  9. ^ a b Shortlist for Northern and Transpennine Express rail operators revealed Department for Transport 19 August 2014
  10. ^ Our Companies Govia
  11. ^ Companies House extract company no 7934306 Govia Thameslink Railway Limited
  12. ^ Companies House extract company no 4860660 London & South Eastern Railway Limited
  13. ^ "Critical rail services protected in new deals for GWR and Southeastern". 30 March 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  14. ^ Department for Transport Announces Winner of Thameslink/GN Franchise Department for Transport Press Release 13 December 2005
  15. ^ Companies House extract company no 6574965 Southern Railway Limited
  16. ^ Companies House extract company no 5814584 London & Birmingham Railway Limited
  17. ^ Shortlisted Bidders For Greater Anglia And Intercity West Coast Rail Franchises Archived 2013-06-06 at the Wayback Machine Department for Transport 24 March 2011

External links[edit]