Latest Rail News

12.07.16

Khan calls for GTR to lose Southern franchise

The newly elected London mayor Sadiq Khan has joined calls for control of the Southern franchise to be transferred from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to the government after mass train cancellations.

Rail passengers staged a protest at Victoria station yesterday as GTR, which has seen a steep decline in performance and punctuality, announced that it is temporarily cancelling 341 trains a day to try to gain control of its services.

GTR has suffered from delays caused by problems including upgrades at London Bridge and strikes, led by RMT, over the introduction of driver-operated only (DOO) services.

Khan said: “This utter mess is now an embarrassment to our city; it is an insult to hard-working Londoners who pay their fares and it must be fixed. That is why I am calling on the government to strip Southern of its franchise and take over the temporary responsibility of running these services.

“Ministers need to put in place a new and faster timetable for handing over inner suburban rail services to Transport for London, so that we can provide passengers with the improved services, stations and fares they deserve.

“My team is ready and willing to work with the government on transferring responsibility for those services to Transport for London in a far speedier fashion.”

RMT has also called for GTR to lose control of the franchise, and Campaign for Better Transport has called for government intervention to tackle the problems.

However, in an appearance before the Transport Select Committee, rail minister Claire Perry MP said that although the current situation was “completely unacceptable”, she did not believe changing the operator would lead to improvements in services because the same management would stay in place.

“Changing the nameplate on the door would not remove the industrial disputes, would not change the infrastructure programme, and so, in my judgement, it does not deliver what customers want,” she said.

“There is no reason for the unions to carry on with the dispute and I would urge them and GTR to solve their issues for the benefit of the customers.”

RMT has offered to suspend the strikes for three months if GTR delays introducing the changes for the same period, but Perry agreed with the operator and said there was “no need” to wait three months.

She also sought to reassure rail staff yesterday that the changes are not “the thin end of the wedge” and that safety critical roles will be maintained and companies will invest in safety.

Perry also said that future franchises from the DfT could include a requirement to keep on-board staff with a responsibility for safety.

(Image c. Jonathan Brady from PA Wire/ Press Association Images)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

 

 

Comments

Huguenot   12/07/2016 at 14:20

So the Rail Minister said that she "did not believe changing the operator would lead to improvements in services because the same management would stay in place". Well, another operator could change the management, but they would be stuck with the same drivers and guards on the same working conditions because of the TUPE regulations. Therefore, changing the operator would have limited benefit in practice, although it would certainly show up GTR for what it is. For goodness' sake, do something, somebody ...

Andrew Gwilt   14/07/2016 at 17:15

Well it could be the "Death" of Southern Railway if they do not sort things out then it's "RIP Southern Railway". And TSGN will be rebranded as TGN without Southern Railway and possibly Gatwick Express.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >
TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

12/06/2019TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

TfL has awarded a contract for 43 new trains to replace the oldest rolling stock on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with the first scheduled t... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey&rsqu... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >