HS2

15.06.18

GTR boss to resign, citing 'huge frustration' from passengers

The chief executive of struggling operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will resign.

Charles Horton, the boss of GTR which runs Thameslink, Great Northern, and Southern railways, will remain in the position for a short time to oversee the implementation of the new timetables installed in May.

GTR was part of a collective of operators overseeing the tumultuous bedding in of a new timetable on 20 May. Cancellations, delays, and confusion around the rail industry has led transport secretary Chris Grayling to announce an inquiry by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). 

Horton said: "I recognise that passengers have been hugely frustrated at the significant disruption caused by the introduction of new timetables.

Horton added that “it is the right time” to put the leadership of GTR into a new pair of hands.

"I am immensely proud of my team and I would like to thank my 7,000 colleagues at GTR for all their hard work over the past four years," he added.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) suffered a second consecutive year where passengers using their services fell— industrial disputes, staffing issues, and planned cancellations contributed to a fall of around 2 million journeys in 2017-18, the ORR said.

David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said: “I would like to thank Charles for his hard work with Govia for the past 15 years. Under often challenging conditions, he has built a team to deliver the largest railway change programme for decades, on a franchise that is not only the UK's biggest, but which has also has seen the highest passenger growth.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the “rotten franchise he was steering remains in place”, adding: "The Horton resignation opens the door for this sorry chapter to be bro‎ught to a close and that means sweeping GTR away and returning the services to public ownership with safety, access and quality the guiding priorities."

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