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Company information

About us

We provide train services for commuters, airport users, business travellers and leisure travellers in south London, between central London and the South coast, through East and West Sussex, Surrey and parts of Kent and Hampshire.

We manage 156 stations, 120 of which have Secure Station accreditation. Southern's two principal London stations are London Victoria and London Bridge.

We operate a fleet of around 300 new or refurbished trains seven days a week and up to 24 hours a day. Each weekday, we provide 2,242 services while on Saturdays we provide 2,076 and 1,242 on Sundays. Each year, around 165 million passenger journeys are made on the 414 miles of track on the Southern network . Every day on average, 600,000 passenger journeys are made.

We have approximately 4,000 staff, most of whom work at our stations and on our trains.

The history of Southern Railway


Southern began providing train services in 2001 when the remaining two years of the Connex South Central franchise were bought out. At the time, we were called South Central.


In 2003, the new franchise, which was to run from 2003 until 2009 was awarded to Govia (Southern's parent company) and shortly after, in 2004, South Central became Southern.


In 2008, Southern took over the running of the Gatwick Express service and in December of that year as part of a major timetable change, we extended Gatwick Express services to run from and to Brighton in the morning and evening weekday peak periods using additional trains. This was a major factor in the provision of extra seating capacity to alleviate crowding on the busy Brighton Main Line and the improvement of service provision across the Southern network.


In 2009, Govia was awarded the South Central franchise to run from September 2009 until July 2015.

2015 - present

On 26 July 2015, Gatwick Express and Southern join Great Northern and Thameslink to operate under one company, Govia Thameslink Railway.

Find out more about the integration plan.


We recognise our impact in the environment and have put in place many initiatives (some ground-breaking such as re-generative braking on most of our trains) to lessen our impact and our carbon footprint. Please click below for our environmental policy.

PDF Environmental Policy (152kb)


During the franchise, we have worked hard to make improvements to our stations, our trains and to our passengers’ overall travelling experience. Over the past few years, we’ve seen six superb brand new station buildings at Mitcham Eastfields, Coulsdon Town (formerly Smitham), Uckfield, East Grinstead, Hassocks and Ashtead. Further major station improvement schemes are underway which will bring the overall investment in new stations and major improvement work to over £16.5million.

But it’s not just the major improvements that we’ve invested in at our stations. Things like improved energy efficient lighting, accessibility improvements, more CCTV, more automatic ticket gates, more ticket machines, new and refurbished toilets and waiting rooms and a deep clean and refresh of all of our stations means we’ve invested around £19.5million in improving the overall station experience.

Car parking & cycle spaces

We have increased car and cycle parking spaces significantly at our stations to help our passengers travel to and from our stations in a more sustainable way.

Our network

Our network is one of the busiest in the country. We are always looking for ways to increase capacity and there are new trains on the way. In December 2013, 130 new carriages will be in use on services into London Victoria on our Metro routes to ease crowding and provide 10-car trains. An additional 40 carriages were deployed on the Southern network in 2014. As a result of additional carriages to our fleet from elsewhere and more efficient maintenance practices, we were able to increase seating by around 5,000 at peak times on the East Grinstead route.

Our fleet of trains

With our existing fleet, we are currently refreshing the whole fleet of 700 Class 377 Electrostar carriages. By spring next year, all carriages will be fully refurbished. We’re also overhauling our fleet of Class 455 trains – those you see on our Metro routes and we are also refreshing our entire Class 171 Turbostar diesel fleet.


Safety and Security are top of our list and in addition to the installation of automatic ticket gates at many of our stations, we now have full live CCTV coverage at all of our stations and on all of our trains.

Train tickets and the key smartcard

In addition to the improvements we’ve made to make it easier to buy your ticket, we’ve rolled out our innovative smartcard – the key. Almost every station outside London is now covered by the key and currently, passengers can buy Weekly, Monthly and Annual tickets online or at ticket machines. Plans are in place for many more products to be added, including Single and Return tickets.


Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is part of Govia - a partnership between two world-class transport operators - the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis.


Go-Ahead Group


Company information

Southern is a trading name of Southern Railway Ltd. Registered in England under number: 06574965. Registered Office: 3rd Floor, 41-51 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6EE. Southern Railway Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Govia limited.