Connex South Central
26 May 1996 – 25 August 2001
|Other region(s)||London, South East|
|National Rail abbreviation||CX|
On 26 May 1996, Connex commenced operating the Network SouthCentral franchise. Later in 1996 Connex rebranded the franchise Connex South Central and introduced a white, yellow and blue livery.
The operator was criticised for poor customer service (on average one in five Connex trains was delayed) and for using old slam-door trains, rather than spend any money on buying modern sliding-door rolling stock built to higher safety standards (though Connex ordered new trains for Connex South Eastern). This widespread disgust at filthy trains and widespread delays caused criticism of Connex, but it was poor financial management that ultimately caused Connex to lose the franchise.
On 24 October 2000 the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority announced that Govia had been awarded the franchise and would operate it from 2003. Govia negotiated a deal with Connex to buy out the remainder of its franchise with the transaction completed in August 2001.
Connex South Central ran passenger services from London Charing Cross, London Bridge and London Victoria to Beckenham Junction, Epsom Downs, East Grinstead, Uckfield, Caterham, Tattenham Corner, Horsham, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Brighton, Eastbourne and Ore.
It also ran services between Hastings and Ashford, Brighton and Hastings, Brighton, Newhaven Marine and Seaford and Brighton and Southampton as well as South London suburban services serving Crystal Palace, Sutton and West Croydon.
Services between West Croydon and Wimbledon, which were operated by Connex South Central following privatisation, ceased in 1997. The line was subsequently converted for Tramlink operation.
On 2 June 1997 Connex South Central introduced a new service from Gatwick Airport to Rugby via the West London and West Coast lines using Class 319s. In December 2000 it was curtailed to Watford Junction but extended southwards to Brighton.
Connex South Central inherited a fleet of Class 205, Class 207, Class 319, Class 411, Class 421, Class 423, Class 455 and Class 456s from British Rail. To operate the Connex Express service between London Victoria and Brighton, seven Class 319s were refurbished in 1997. In 1998, all the Class 411 units were transferred to South West Trains.
- Companies House extract company # 3010919 New Southern Railway Limited formerly Connex South Central Limited formerly Network SouthCentral Limited
- "GCEA confirmed as NSC winner" Rail Privatisation News issue 27 4 April 1996 page 4
- "Network SouthCentral sold to French Group" The Railway Magazine issue 1142 June 1996 page 6
- "A new brand and livery for Connex's Network SouthCentral fleet" Railway Magazine issue 289 9 October 1996 page 11
- "Connex loses rail franchise" BBC News 24 October 2000
- South Central Franchise Shadow Strategic Rail Authority 10 October 2000
- Six Companies Shortlisted for First Franchise Replacement Round Shadow Strategic Rail Authority 14 March 2000
- Acquisition of Connex South Central Limited by Govia Limited Go-Ahead Group 30 May 2001
- Completion of Acquisition of South Central Franchise Go-Ahead Group 28 August 2001
- "Govia Southern Central goes into business" The Railway Magazine issue 1206 October 2001 page 12
- South Central Limited Annual Accounts 29 June 2002
- "Connex Makes a Rugby Connection" Rail Express issue 15 August 1997 page 7
- Class 319 Kent Rail
- Class 319 Southern E-Group
- "All aboard the Connex Express" Rail Magazine issue 298 12 February 1997 pages 30-33
- "Class 319/2s unveiled as Connex Express launched" The Railway Magazine issue 1151 March 1997 page 52
As part of British Rail
| Operator of South Central franchise
1996 - 2001