The Sleeper's Blog

06.01.17

Commuters close to taking government to court over Southern crisis

A commuter organisation looking to take the DfT to court over its handling of the Southern rail crisis have said that their legal challenge is almost ready.

The Association of British Commuters (ABC) hopes to submit its full application calling for a judicial review by the end of this month, after initially raising funds for the challenge on the website CrowdJustice last September.

The group claims that the DfT has failed passengers in how it has handled the contract for Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway, saying that the government has allowed the economy of the south of England to be brought “to a standstill”.

“Though we cannot yet share details of our final grounds, the case is sure to take on Chris Grayling’s refusal to act in the public interest, and the details of the unprecedented failure of public policy behind Southern Rail’s ‘management contract’,” a statement posted by the ABC said.

“We are also extremely concerned about the lack of disabled access on Southern Rail, a problem that has run throughout this year of service breakdown and is set to become a lot worse with the chaotic changes to staffing now taking place.”

The organisation said that its lawyers had spent months receiving “highly unsatisfactory responses” from the DfT, along with “repeated, time-wasting extensions” to Freedom of Information requests.

It noted that the campaign, founded by Sussex residents in May of last year, had been dissatisfied with Southern Rail even before the franchise’s dispute with unions over driver-only operated (DOO) trains, which has made the situation even more urgent.

“To this day, the details of the government’s contract with Southern Rail remain under lock and key and there has never been a stronger or more urgent case for transparency than now,” the statement read.

The news comes as the RMT said it would hold talks with transport secretary Chris Grayling over the DOO dispute, in an attempt to avert the days of strikes planned by drivers’ union Aslef for next week and later in the month.

Yesterday the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said that Southern’s proposals to use DOO on its trains would be a “safe method of working” if the franchise makes sufficient improvements.

The announcement was welcomed by GTR and the government but met with anger from the unions, who called the report a “whitewash”.

The ABC is considering launching a second campaign to put together a class action against Southern for claims on financial losses over the course of the year. The association is asking its members for their thoughts on the suggestion.

(Image c. Lauren Hurley from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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

Comments

Jak Jaye   18/01/2017 at 12:38

(Very) good luck with that lets hope the judges arent the same clueless trio that heard the Brexit Challange GTR is a disgrace and it beggers belief that firms like that are giving a railway to play with

Emily O'dowd   27/01/2017 at 15:45

It amazes me just how long the strikes have been going for now and no one seems to know what the real crux of the problem is. I found this article a useful one to explain a background into the Southern Rail chaos. https://www.smartrailworld.com/the-rail-technology-at-the-heart-of-the-uks-biggest-transport-crisis-in-decades

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Almost 1.5 million eTickets sold six months after introduction

27/03/2017Almost 1.5 million eTickets sold six months after introduction

Newly released figures of eTicket sales have shown that over one million have been sold since the modern system was first implemented last year. ... more >
Southern completes Class 377 modifications for extreme winter weather

27/03/2017Southern completes Class 377 modifications for extreme winter weather

Southern’s Class 377 fleet has been given a major upgrade to make it more resilient to frost and snowy weather this winter. Engineers ... more >
First MTR joint venture awarded South Western franchise

27/03/2017First MTR joint venture awarded South Western franchise

First MTR South Western Trains Limited (First MTR) has been awarded the new South Western franchise by the government, which will see the introdu... more >

editor's comment

08/03/2017A celebration of rail achievement

Welcome to this special UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA) review issue of RTM. The fourth edition of the prestigious awards took place on 9 February at London’s Battersea Evolution and, once again, was a huge success.  With over 1,100 rail decision-makers in attendance, the black-tie event was a great place for networking and celebrating the success of the rail industry in the last 12 months. To see who won at this year’s... read more >

last word

Reasons to be cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful

Ahead of the major imminent reforms to the apprenticeship system, Simon Rennie, general manager of the National Training Academy for Rail, outlines the industry’s reasons to be positive about the future of skills. Those of a particular age will recall with a warm glow the prestige of the British Rail Apprenticeship scheme and how this formed a bedrock of a life-long career. Then it all came crashing down with the (albeit disputed)... more > more last word articles >
board2

'the sleepers' daily blog

Raising wall work at Linlithgow heritage railway site completed

24/03/2017Raising wall work at Linlithgow heritage railway site completed

Work has been completed to raise the height of walls bordering the railway heritage site at Royal Terrace and Union Road in Linlithgow, as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). A total of £650k has been put into the project to ensure the boundary of the railway is compliant with safety standards for an electrif... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Overcoming the challenges of e-ticketing

23/03/2017Overcoming the challenges of e-ticketing

Justin Stenner, head of technology for Heathrow Express, considers the  benefits and drawbacks of implementing e-ticketing on rail services.... more >
Breathing life back into the Connaught Tunnel

23/03/2017Breathing life back into the Connaught Tunnel

Linda Miller, former Crossrail project manager, Connaught Tunnel, reflects on the challenges of widening and deepening the vital Victorian tunnel... more >
The case for rail integration

23/03/2017The case for rail integration

Jeremy Long, CEO of European Business at MTR Corporation, reflects on how stronger integration of train and track could benefit major rail infras... more >
Getting fire testing standards right

23/03/2017Getting fire testing standards right

Richard Nowell, rolling stock engineer at the RSSB, discusses the ‘EN 45545-2 Fire testing of materials and components for trains’, a... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Intertrain: ready for the future

23/02/2017Intertrain: ready for the future

RTM recently attended Intertrain’s ‘Driving for Success’ event in Doncaster, where leaders from major players such as Carillion... more >
Tackling regulation at its routes

24/01/2017Tackling regulation at its routes

John Larkinson, the ORR’s director of railway markets and economics, speaks to RTM about the move to regulating Network Rail at a route lev... more >
Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

15/11/2016Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

Phil Verster, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, speaks to RTM’s Luana Salles about the recently-published ‘Investing in the Fut... more >