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GTR launches third timetable in two months, hopes to provide ‘more robust service’

Struggling operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will introduce its third timetable in just two months following a chaotic service shake-up in May.

Rail services around the country were heavily disrupted from 20 May when operators introduced a new timetable — due to infrastructure and staffing issues, the schedules were marred by cancellations and delays.

GTR, who changed every single service as part of its Rail Plan 20/20, was at the centre of the disruption, and potentially faced losing its franchise if it failed to improve on the current slumping performance across its services since the shake-up.

The operator’s failures during the new timetables were blasted by stakeholders around the industry: Chris Grayling condemned the changes, arguing the rail industry had “failed passengers,” whilst usage numbers on the service fell by around two million in 2017-18.

The TOC also suffered controversy in the managerial sectors of the company. Last month CEO Charles Horton resigned, citing “frustrations” from passengers, and last week a manager was lambasted on social media after taking up two seats on a packed train.

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of GTR, said: “We apologise to passengers for the disruption caused by the introduction of the May timetable due to late approval of these routes. 

“The new timetable provides passengers with a more robust and reliable service, gives priority to peak hour trains and seeks to reduce gaps in the service. We encourage passengers affected by disruption to seek compensation.”

Last week it was announced that GTR would be scrapping plans for winter timetables to prevent another fiasco from reoccurring.

The rail industry also needs to pluck up the courage to say no to others instead of trying to accommodate every stakeholder demand, rail veteran Chris Gibb said on Friday.

Last week in the House of Commons, the government warned improvements to GTR services were "simply not happening quickly enough.”

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Image credit: Teamjackson, iStock images


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