BRITISH Train Operating Company Thameslink Rail relaunched its cross-London service as two distinct service groups with the summer timetable on May 24, with a simplified 15min interval service pattern for most stations outside peak hours. Bedford - Brighton services via Gatwick Airport have been branded City Flyer, and Luton - Sutton services calling at all stations are now known as City Metro, reflecting their essentially suburban role.

Thameslink Managing Director Euan Cameron said that Thameslink has invested £3·5m in refurbishing its fleet of 66 Class 319 dual-voltage EMUs, which have received new carpets and seat covers, a new blue and yellow livery and seating modifications to replace a 2+3 layout with a 2+2 configuration in the centre portion of each coach. Station investment has included a joint £4m programme with Railtrack to improve security at eight stations on the Sutton route through rebuilding and fitting CCTV, as well as the purchase of ticket-operated barrier gates for Bedford, Luton and St Albans north of the capital.

The May 24 timetable change includes a fastest London Bridge - Gatwick journey time of 26min, and introduction of Sunday services to Sutton via Wimbledon. Thameslink marked its relaunch and stressed its commitment to the cause of public transport on May 24 by offering return travel anywhere on its network for £1, with fare revenue to be donated to charities in the communities it serves. o