Southern Rail has announced that it now has WiFi available on all of its 420 trains. According to the franchise owner Govia Thameslink, WiFi is now up and running on all Southern and Gatwick Express trains as well as most of the Great Northern carriages.
The company says it took its engineers around 40,000 hours to fit the technology on board its trains, with each train requiring 120 separate components to be fitted and tested. In total, Southern reported that it has installed some 65 miles of cabling on its fleet. Govia Thameslink has been offering free WiFi at 106 stations since 2016.
Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise is the largest railway franchise in the United Kingdom. It covers passenger train services on the Thameslink and Great Northern routes to Bedford, Luton, Peterborough, King's Lynn, Cambridge, London King's Cross, London Moorgate, Sutton, Wimbledon and Brighton, and in 2015 the whole Southern network including the Gatwick Express was added to the franchise, with the Southern and Gatwick Express brands retained.
The franchise is operated under a management contract by Govia Thameslink Railway, a subsidiary of Govia, which is itself a joint venture between the British Go-Ahead Group (65%) and French company Keolis (35%). All revenues from operating the service go to the Department of Transport who pay GTR a fixed management fee.
According to Shakeel Mamanji, rolling stock contracts manager at Govia Thameslink, “Managing the installation on so many trains and train types in such a short space of time, while ensuring we still have enough available for service, has been a challenge. With trains travelling up to 100mph, the system depends on antennae linked to multiple 4G signal providers.”
Govia Thameslink Southern Rail is one of 24 franchise operators, concession holders, open access operators and publicly owned operators in the UK to be profiled in BWCS’s online database covering the markets for WiFi on train services in Europe and the rest of the world (www.Internet4trains.com )
On-board WiFi, trackside networks, the growing market for passenger WiFi services and on-board entertainment will be the main subjects of BWCS’s WiFi on Trains Conference 2019 on the 4th and 5th of June.
The 2019 conference (www.Traincomms2019.com ) is sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, Fluidmesh, RADWIN and BAI Communications.