HS2

06.07.16

GTR ‘underestimated’ London Bridge impact, says Horton

The Southern franchise’s ongoing problems are due to a failure to predict the impact of works at London Bridge and a shortage of drivers, the CEO of operating company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) told the Transport Select Committee.

In an appearance before MPs yesterday, Charles Horton said: “I think it’s commonly understood now that the impact of the works at London Bridge was underestimated right across the industry.”

Dyan Crowther, GTR’s chief operating officer, said that GTR had estimated the works would lead to 1% delays, when in fact it had been closer to 7%.

There have been extensive delays to services into London Bridge following the major rebuild programme.

Horton said: “I am extremely sorry to all our customers for the poor service that they have experienced, particularly in the past few weeks.”

GTR suffered the biggest drop in PPM of all train companies last month, and Southern services in particular have been hit by delays, linked to strikes organised by RMT over the introduction of driver operated only trains.

Horton added that GTR was now undertaking a remedial plan, including recruiting additional drivers, further improvements to the reliability of rolling stock, and adding additional managing posts.

However, he said that although GTR had undertaken the UK’s biggest ever driver training programme after taking over the franchise and had already made “substantial progress” in recruiting new drivers, but the improvements would not be seen for a while because it took 14 months to train drivers.

Mick Cash, general secretary of RMT, also appeared before the committee, where he denied allegations that the high level of sickness absence among Southern staff was linked to the RMT strikes.

“I can assure you it isn’t being organised,” he said, adding that the staff sickness was due to “increased levels of stress” and GTR should meet with staff to resolve the issues.

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Comments

Dick   07/07/2016 at 14:33

Pricks

Rajput   08/07/2016 at 12:39

Same was done with SE and now GTR. Nepotism or favoritism never wins.

Lutz   08/07/2016 at 14:53

I wonder what steps NR is taking to fix the issues that caused this, and whether those issues will have been resolved before the closure of platforms at Waterloo for a month in August 2017?

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