​Go-Ahead Group appoints Patrick Verwer as CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway

Press Releases   •   Jun 21, 2018 12:30 BST

GTR's parent company issues news release

Network Rail apology for Thameslink service this morning

News   •   Jun 21, 2018 10:47 BST

This morning a six-mile stretch of signalling failed at Luton meaning that no trains could run south of Bedford.

This caused very significant disruption for which we apologise.

Network Rail, who maintain the track, signalling and power supplies, has issued the following statement:

“We would like to apologise to passengers experiencing delays this morning owing to a signal failure at Luton.

“Our engineers have now fixed this issue and we are working with train operating companies to recover normal service as soon as possible.

“However, there are still residual delays between Bedford and London St Pancras, so passengers are advised to check their journeys before travelling throughout this morning."

ends

This morning a six-mile stretch of signalling failed at Luton meaning that no trains could run south of Bedford

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GTR response to spring 2018 national rail passenger survey

News   •   Jun 19, 2018 09:32 BST

Responding to today's publication of the National Rail Passenger Survey, conducted between January and mid-March 2018, a Govia Thameslink Railway spokesman said the company would take on board the findings of the survey and added:

“Our focus remains on restoring reliability to Thameslink and Great Northern following a very difficult few weeks for passengers.

"On Southern, services are performing much better since the introduction of the new timetable.”

The report can be read here.

ends

Transport Focus has published the findings of its spring 2018 National Rail Passenger Survey

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Go-Ahead Group announces resignation of Chief Executive Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway

Press Releases   •   Jun 15, 2018 12:00 BST

​GTR's parent company issues news release

​Joint media statement from Network Rail, GTR and Northern

Press Releases   •   Jun 03, 2018 09:45 BST

We are again extremely sorry to all passengers affected by recent disruption, and are setting out how we’re going to improve the service for our customers as quickly as possible.

What has gone wrong?

Demand for rail services since 1994 has more than doubled to over 1.7bn journeys. While this has been very welcome, it has also brought its challenges and some of our busiest routes are operating at capacity, particularly during peak times. To facilitate the extra services to satisfy the huge growth in demand, the railway is undergoing its biggest modernisation since the Victorian era. And the new timetable, introduced on Sunday 20 May, was planned to be the most ambitious in recent railway history, providing additional capacity for tens of thousands more peak-time commuters.

In order to make space on the network for the thousands of extra services, the timing of all GTR and most Northern services had to be changed. All of these new journeys needed to be individually approved by Network Rail to ensure the national rail network runs safely and smoothly. Unfortunately, as a result of the sheer number of changes required and the late running of some engineering improvements, the process took longer than anticipated, approvals for service changes were delayed and some timetable requests were changed.

Whilst circumstances differ across the country, this meant that train companies had much less time to prepare for the new timetable which required trains and drivers to run on different routes. The differences between the timetables submitted and those approved created a requirement for training that had not been anticipated. This meant that the necessary specialist training was not able to be completed in time for drivers to learn new routes and for operators to address all the logistical challenges.

What are we going to do to put it right?

Network Rail, Northern and GTR are urgently working on comprehensive plans to reduce disruption and give passengers the greatest possible certainty of train services, so they can better plan ahead. Unfortunately, it will take some time to deliver significant improvements to services, but we will keep passengers up to date on all changes we make.

What are we doing to ensure it won’t happen again?

We are reviewing how timetable changes are introduced to better understand the root causes of exactly what went wrong here, so that future changes can implemented more smoothly.

How are we making this up to customers?

Passengers are encouraged to apply for Delay Repay compensation for affected journeys and we are working hard to respond to all claims as soon possible.

Mark Carne, Network Rail’s chief executive said: “There is no doubt that the May timetable was finalised significantly later than normal for reasons that were both within and without our control. The consequences of that have been particularly hard for both Northern and GTR to absorb.

"But we are all firmly focussed on fixing this issue as quickly as possible to give passengers the reliable service they need and deserve. At the moment, in some parts of the country, that simply isn’t happening and for that I’d like to wholeheartedly apologise.”

Charles Horton, CEO, GTR, said:“We always said that delivering the biggest timetable change in generations would be challenging – but we are sorry that we have not been able to deliver the service that passengers expect. Delayed approval of the timetable led to an unexpected need to substantially adjust our plans and resources. We fully understand that passengers want more certainty and are working very hard to bring greater consistency to the timetable as soon as possible. We will also be working with industry colleagues to establish a timetable that will progressively deliver improvement.”

David Brown, Managing Director, Northern said:“We are doing everything we can to minimise cancellations and keep customers informed. It has been extremely difficult for many of our customers, in particular on a number of routes around north Manchester, Liverpool, and Blackpool extending up to Cumbria, and we are truly sorry for this.

“We‘ve agreed a number of actions with the Department for Transport and are urgently working with them on a comprehensive plan to stabilise our services. Such a plan is likely to take a number of weeks to deliver lasting improvements, but we recognise our customers deserve better and that’s what we’re focused on.”

In due course, the Thameslink Programme and the investment programmes on Northern will provide more capacity and reliability as intended, with more trains running more regularly and more reliably to more destinations. But these services will only be re-introduced when we can do so reliably without any negative effect on the service. The industry continues to be confident that the new timetables will work well once bedded-in.

We thank you for your patience and apologise again for the delays in rolling out the new timetable. Everyone in the rail industry is working together to provide a safe, improved and reliable service.

ends

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

www.southernrailway.com, www.thameslinkrailway.com, www.gatwickexpress.com, www.greatnorthernrail.com

Industry sets out how it is going to improve the service for customers as quickly as possible

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Rail companies to introduce temporary timetables to give customers more certainty

Press Releases   •   May 24, 2018 17:48 BST

The rail industry has pledged to work together to get services back on track as quickly as possible, giving customers the greater certainty they need over what trains will run, following disruption resulting from the biggest timetable change in a generation to accommodate more and faster trains

Today, Northern has published a temporary timetable which will enable it to start to stabilise service levels over the next few weeks and, importantly, start to reduce the number of last-minute cancellations. GTR will also be introducing a temporary timetable on Great Northern and Thameslink as soon as possible. Next week, GTR has plans to provide a more consistent level of service to allow passengers to plan their journeys with greater confidence.

The biggest timetable change in a generation took place on 20 May. This was part of delivering the rail industry’s plan to add 6,400 extra services a week and 7,000 new carriages by 2021, using new and upgraded track across the country to give customers a better service, better connect communities and secure £85bn of additional economic benefits.

While nationwide, more than eight out of 10 services have arrived as planned since the new timetable was introduced, customers in some parts of the country have experienced unacceptable levels of disruption. Northern and GTR are taking decisive action to give greater certainty to passengers as quickly as possible.

To accommodate the extra services being introduced, six out of 10 services nationwide had to be retimed. The time of all GTR and most Northern services had to be changed. All of these new journeys needed to be individually approved by Network Rail to ensure the national rail network runs safely and smoothly.

As a result of the sheer number of changes required and the late running of some engineering improvements, the process took longer than anticipated, approvals for service changes were delayed and some timetable requests were changed. This meant that train companies had much less time to prepare for the new timetable meaning specialist training required could not be completed in time for drivers to learn all the new routes, or operate different trains for operators to address all the logistical challenges.

While it will be some weeks before customers in the areas affected have the service improvements they were expecting in May, rail companies plan to run more services compared to before the change on 20th May. They will also be continuing to train drivers on new routes and timetables so that, in time, the full benefits for customers of the new timetable can be realised.

Passengers are advised to continue to check before they travel and, if they are delayed, to check with their operator to see whether they are due compensation.

Robert Nisbet, Regional Director of the Rail Delivery Group, said:

“We understand that rail customers quite rightly want a service they can rely on and in some parts of the country that has not been the case and we are sorry for that. The companies involved have plans to get services back on track as quickly as possible and while things will improve in the coming days, giving passengers greater certainty, it will be some time before the full benefits of the timetable are felt.

“The industry is determined to deliver its plan to change and improve Britain’s railway for customers, communities and the economy and will learn the lessons to ensure that as we transform the network, people continue to get the level of service they deserve.”

The industry has also committed to learn the lessons from what went wrong with introducing the new timetable to ensure future changes do not cause such disruption. Rail timetables are normally confirmed 12 weeks ahead of time but this was not the case for the May timetable change and the Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail and train operators, has begun a review into why this happened.

Charles Horton, CEO, GTR, said:

“May’s new timetable was part of the biggest change to services for decades introducing 400 extra services and providing longer trains to address the doubling of passengers on our network in just 16 years.

“We always said that it would be challenging – but we are very sorry for the significant disruption being experienced by passengers and apologise sincerely. Delayed approval of the timetable led to an unexpected need to substantially adjust our plans and resources in an unexpectedly short time-frame.

“We fully understand that passengers want more certainty and this week will make changes to bring greater consistency services with fewer unplanned cancellations, allowing passengers to arrange their journeys with greater confidence. We are also working with industry colleagues to introduce further changes that will progressively deliver improvement.”

David Brown, Managing Director, Northern, said:

“I’d like to apologies for this unacceptable situation and for the disruption and inconvenience many passengers have faced. We’re truly sorry for this and we’re working hard with the Network Rail team to fix this.

“To deliver a more robust and stable service we are introducing an interim train timetable, effective from Monday 4 June until the end of July. This interim timetable will enable us to start to stabilise service levels over the next few weeks and, importantly, start to reduce the number of last-minute train cancellations.”

Mark Carne, Network Rail’s chief executive said:

“There is no doubt that the May timetable was finalised significantly later than normal for reasons that were both within and without our control. The consequences of that have been particularly hard for both Northern and GTR to absorb.

“The industry has let down its passengers by failing to deliver the new services offered by the new timetable; a timetable that ultimately will deliver thousands of new services for the benefit of passengers, both far and wide. It has not been good enough and we know it. That is why we are working together across the industry to build a recovery plan that people can rely on and then more gradually introduce the benefits and new services everyone needs.”

ENDS

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

www.southernrailway.com, www.thameslinkrailway.com, www.gatwickexpress.com, www.greatnorthernrail.com

The rail industry has pledged to work together to get services back on track as quickly as possible

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GTR announces 400 new daily train services in UK’s biggest-ever timetable change

Press Releases   •   May 16, 2018 06:00 BST

​Children’s art bonds station with village community

Press Releases   •   May 11, 2018 11:42 BST

Southern Railway is proud to display the first of many art exhibitions by local children at Durrington-on-Sea station through the rail operator's new partnership with Hawthorns Primary School.

​GTR launches Essay Series on Digital Railway

Press Releases   •   May 08, 2018 11:03 BST

From the Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution - Govia Thameslink Railway has today published a thought-provoking and inspiring Essay Series looking at Digital Railway, titled From the Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution

​Siemens tests new Great Northern trains for Hertfordshire-Moorgate services

Press Releases   •   May 04, 2018 13:43 BST

A £200 million fleet of brand new trains for Great Northern services between Hertfordshire and Moorgate has passed an important milestone with over half of the 150 carriages now manufactured.