Latest Rail News

31.08.16

Southern promises to restore cancelled services

Southern has promised to restore over 100 of the 341 services it has been forced to cancel and bring back the full timetable in the coming weeks.

The company said that from 5 September, its services would resume running on the inner London ‘metro’ lines and the Guildford – Leatherhead, London Bridge – Beckenham Junction and Sutton – Streatham via Wimbledon routes.

In addition, it will restore 26 services on the West London line, some running as far as Milton Keynes, bringing the total number of restored services up to 119.

Charles Horton, chief executive of Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), said: “We know how difficult life has been for our passengers recently and we are sincerely sorry.

“Our aim has been to bring back as much of the timetable as quickly as we could and for several weeks we've had 5th September as our target to begin the reinstatement of trains. We're pleased that we can restore a large chunk of our train timetable for our passengers on this date but we will not be satisfied until the full timetable is running, and running in a punctual way people can rely on. 

“The updated timetable will allow us to run a more comprehensive rush hour service with virtually a full peak service at London Bridge and 95% of peak train capacity at Victoria. We will continue to add services incrementally and we are aiming at restoring the full timetable in the coming weeks.”

Southern cancelled 341 services a day in order to try to gain control of unpredictable delays on the network, although it has since restored 16 of them.

The company has been hit by problems including ongoing strikes by RMT and delays at London Bridge that have contributed to its PPM dropping to record levels.

Paul Maynard, the new rail minister, was criticised shortly after his appointment for being unable to give a date for when services would be restored. GTR has also faced calls for Transport for London to take over the franchise.

Horton also hit out at RMT, the union which has led several strikes on the service in protest at plans to expand driver-operated only (DOO) services.

He said that by calling another strike on 7 and 8 September, RMT was trying to “scupper this improved service, and cause maximum disruption, damage and delay in the very week when many people go back to work and back to school after the summer break”.

But Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: “The fact is that services wouldn't have been slashed in the first place if GTR had employed enough staff to fill the rosters. The emergency timetable, large chunks of which remain in place, is a product of management failure on this franchise on an epic scale.”

RMT is also planning a separate set of strikes in protest at ticket office closures across the GTR network.

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