Horsham commuters heading into London by train could benefit from investment in new carriages as part of plans for a new rail franchise.
Last week the Government announced its intention to award the new rail franchise covering the area to Govia Thameslink Railway, which would run services currently provide by Southern Rail from July 2015.
The new seven-year franchise, also covering Thameslink and Great Northern, could see nearly 1,400 new carriages rolled out to provide more seats on morning peak routes into London by 2018.
Govia also plans to invest millions of pounds in improving stations, staffing and cleanliness, a simplified ticketing structure, and introducing tough new targets to improve punctuality by reducing delays by around a fifth.
Stephen Hammond, rail minister, said: “A world class railway is a vital part of our long-term economic plan.
“New state-of-the-art trains, more seats, better connections and improved stations will transform travel across London and the South East.
“That’s great news for businesses and the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use these vital services every day.”
As part of plans Govia hopes to roll out 108 new state-of-the-art carriages to replace the current Gatwick Express trains by the end of 2015.
The Thameslink Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise is part of the Government’s £6.5 billion Thameslink Programme, which is major infrastructure work that could create 8,000 jobs.
Govia plan to invest significantly in improving stations, including free Wifi at more than 100 stations, better retail and catering facilities and improvements to customer information systems.
Staffing hours will also be extended at more than 100 of the largest stations, with staff available from the first train in the morning to the last train at night.
The operator will also develop website, smartphone and tablet apps designed to make door-to-door travel easier for customers, including planning journeys and buying tickets.
The planned total number of carriages in service will grow to 2,631 by 2019.