Franchise agreements published on GOV.UK may not be the most up-to-date documents held by the department. In January 2016, Transport for London announced a proposal to take over the London parts of the franchise in 2021 through a partnership with the Department of Transport to create a new Tube link.  However, the plan was rejected in December 2016 by Transportation Minister Chris Grayling.  In November 2017, the government announced that it was exploring the possibility of a transfer of some of the Southern lines to TfL when the franchise expires in 2021.  In May 2003, the franchise was renamed Southern, in a recall of the Southern Railway prior to nationalization, with a roundel green logo with south in yellow in a green beam. In May 2018, following the announcement of the renationalisation of the InterCity East Coast franchise as the London North Eastern Railway, Grayling revealed, although it had not made a decision on the future of Great Northern services beyond 2021, that Great Northern could merge services with the London North Eastern Railway or be transferred to London Overground.  The franchise consultation paper released at the beginning of the franchise process in 2009 indicated that the final franchise agreement would include an amendment mechanism allowing DfT to include additional lines in the South Central franchise and invited bidders to present advantageous options for systems submitted by stakeholders. Such regulation could be, as stated in the South Central Franchise Consultation Paper, the reopening of the Uckfield-Lewes line, which was closed in 1969.  In recent years, several interested parties have considered the possibility of reopening the line.   In March 2012, the Department of Transportation announced that Abellio, FirstGroup, Govia, MTR and Stagecoach had been shortlisted for the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise.   The tender was scheduled for October 2012 and the successful bidder was announced in the spring of 2013. However, following the collapse of the InterCity West Coast cross-referentness process, the government announced in October 2012 that the process would be suspended until the results of an audit.
 After the end of British Rail, Connex South Central was awarded the Network SouthCentral franchise by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising. The operation began on May 26, 1996. Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has confirmed that its contract expires in September 2021, when the franchise was to be renewed. The TSGN franchise is operated by the Govia Thameslink Railway, which is owned by govia and is the largest rail franchise in the UK. A major reform of the railways was expected, but it should depend on the long-delayed Williams report on the railways, which must now be published after the pandemic. ERMA is a transition to what the new system will be when the Williams report is published. The Department of Transport statement confirmed that the new agreement supports Keith Williams, and is the prelude to a white paper that will meet his recommendations. The Department of Transportation has decided to create a new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise, which will be added jointly with Southeastern in December 2014 and the entire South Central franchise in July 2015.  The end date of the South Central franchise has been extended to September 2009, with the integration of the Gatwick Express service, so that the new operator can enter service in December 2009 in the event of a major change in the roadmap in and around South London.
 Prior to the franchise tendering process, reports were published indicating that Transport for London, the operator of the London Overground service, wanted to take control of all surface services in south London, including the “Metro” sector of the South Central franchise.   However, this transfer never took place and the DfT exposed the entire franchise.