Rail franchises operators & contracts


May timetable crisis: GTR hit with government profit sanctions and told to spend £15m on improvements

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has been told that it must contribute £15m towards service improvements for passengers as the government announced that the TOC will be hit with sanctions, capping its profits for the remainder of its franchise.

The DfT explained that it was “holding GTR to account” for its role in the “unacceptable performance” which followed the roll-out of the new May timetable by ensuring the operator will make no profit for this financial year, with a cap on the amount of revenue it can rake in until September 2021, when its franchise contract expires.

GTR will have to contribute £15m towards “tangible improvements for passengers” in addition to the £15m the operator has already contributed towards compensation claims.

Today, a scathing report from the Transport Select Committee described the chaos resulting from the timetable change as “potentially dangerous disruption” and argued that Chris Grayling should have taken a “more proactive approach” and had unreasonably absolved himself of responsibility.

Its MPs found that nearly half of all passenger services were disrupted, and stated that Network Rail, the DfT and the train operators such as GTR all shared responsibility. They pointed out that the main cause behind this was the “astonishing complexity” of a fragmented railway, which operators failed to recognise.

The chaos meant GTR fail to run 12% of its planned services in the weeks following 20 May.

But instead of terminating the franchise contract earlier, which the DfT claimed would cause further and undue disruption, the department instead opted for sanctions.

The Go-Ahead Group has agreed to introduce a profit-sharing mechanism with the DfT for the remainder of its GTR franchise, which means its margins are now expected to be between 0.75% to 1%, down from 0.75% to 1.5%.

The chief executive of Go-Ahead, David Brown, said: “We recognise that the industry-wide failures in delivering the May timetable created huge difficulties for our customers, and we are sorry for the poor service they received.

“This agreement will deliver additional benefits to passengers to be agreed in consultation with our customers.”

The announcement comes as the TOC prepares to introduce fresh timetable changes this weekend, with more than 190 additional services planned.

The government said it will continue to monitor GTR’s performance closely, particularly during these December timetable changes, and stressed that today’s measures don’t make the operator immune from further sanctions in the event of more performance failures.

Image credit -  Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

18/12/2018Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

“Ineffective” safety arrangements and a number of unofficial working practices contributed to a group of track workers narrowly avoid... more >
Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

18/12/2018Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

The transformation of Glasgow Queen Street has been revealed as engineers have finished the installation of the west truss and have begun buildin... more >
Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

18/12/2018Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

Passengers will have the choice of choosing which train operators they travel with under new plans to allow rival TOCs to operate on the same rou... 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 >

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. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27/11/2018Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Olivia Brown, business development officer at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), an academic department of the University of Warwick, outlines the four exciting projects currently taking place as part of the Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR)  programme. In RTM’s June/July issue, readers were introduced to the concept of VLR and th... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Passenger safety: Respect the edge

27/11/2018Passenger safety: Respect the edge

Claire Coward, communications lead at the RSSB, discusses her organisation’s latest passenger safety campaign. Incidents at the platfo... more >
Night Tube: The twilight economy

27/11/2018Night Tube: The twilight economy

Dr David Lutton, executive director of economy and tax at London First, argues that the capital’s night-time economy is just starting its j... more >
Monitoring the performance of earthworks

27/11/2018Monitoring the performance of earthworks

Dr Joel Smethurst, associate professor in geotechnical engineering, and Professor William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering, both of ... more >
Introducing iPort

20/11/2018Introducing iPort

Steve Freeman, managing director of iPort Rail, introduces the UK’s newest inland freight terminal. The UK’s newest inland rail ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News


HS2 train race: making the case

20/11/2018HS2 train race: making the case

Bombardier and Hitachi’s commitment to providing the best HS2 rolling stock pitch to the government was signified with the launch of their ... more >