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

NIC chair: Government must commit to clear plan for Crossrail 2 and NPR

16/02/2018NIC chair: Government must commit to clear plan for Crossrail 2 and NPR

Progress on Crossrail 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail has been branded “hugely disappointing”, by the National Infrastructure Commission... more >
RMT announces further 24-hour strike on Northern and Merseyrail

16/02/2018RMT announces further 24-hour strike on Northern and Merseyrail

Further strike action on Merseyrail and Northern has been confirmed by RMT, whose members will strike for 24 hours on 3 March as part of a long-run... more >
Northern line extension: TfL warns of 5-month disruption to Bank branch services

15/02/2018Northern line extension: TfL warns of 5-month disruption to Bank branch services

TfL has cautioned passengers on the Northern Line about upgrade works which mean Bank branch services will go for a 5-month period without stoppi... 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 TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, CrossCountry and the Scouts have come together to encourage Britain’s younger generations to be... more > more last word articles >
board2

'the sleepers' daily blog

Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

09/02/2018Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

The first details of this year’s Big Rail Diversity Challenge have been revealed and it’s safe to say the 2018 edition is set to be more thrilling than ever. Last year saw the RTM team attend the second edition in what is quickly becoming Women in Rail’s flagship event, where teams with a 50/50 gender split compete in a ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

NCHSR: The possibilities are limitless

06/02/2018NCHSR: The possibilities are limitless

The National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) has been gifted with a brand-new lab dedicated to surveying and scanning technologies designed t... more >
Keeping Britain's railway on track

06/02/2018Keeping Britain's railway on track

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, argues investment in track maintenance and rail infrastructure is fundam... more >
The Intelligent Infrastructure approach

06/02/2018The Intelligent Infrastructure approach

Network Rail is seeking to improve asset management whilst cutting down on expenditure by implementing a new Intelligent Infrastructure programme... more >
Project Aura: Changing the game

02/02/2018Project Aura: Changing the game

Paul Boyle, head of ERTMS at Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), describes how Project Aura has been revolutionising training across the organisatio... more >

rail industry focus

  • 08/12/2017A game changer for Midland Metro

    The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) updates RTM’s Luana Salles on the latest projects taking place across the growing Midland Metro...
  • 09/11/2017Testing tomorrow's technology today

    David Brazier, site manager and area sales manager for the UK & Ireland at OMICRON electronics, tells RTM’s Luana Salles about the major...
  • 09/11/2017What next for safety?

    As rail businesses edge towards their target of zero injuries, improving safety performance can plateau. Amey’s sector director for rail, Lee...
View all News

interviews

Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >
Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being set up in 2000. Managing director Will Dunnett te... more >