UK DfT orders Govia Thameslink Railway to improve service on Southern Rail
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has ordered Southern Rail franchise operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to invest an additional £13.4m to improve operational performance and overall passenger services.
The order follows the settlement of DfT's Force Majeure claim against the operator for the disruption caused by industrial action on Southern Rail.
The settlement acknowledged that the disruption experienced by passengers in the past year was primarily due to industrial action taken by rail trade unions.
DfT also concluded that GTR's performance “fell short of what was required in terms of cancellations and the provision of capacity”.
GTR CEO Charles Horton said: “We are pleased that this issue has been concluded, and accept and are sorry that our service levels haven’t been good enough for passengers.
“We run the most congested network in the UK, where passenger journeys have doubled in the last twelve years.
“This has meant we have been running services for more and more passengers, while also allowing stations to be rebuilt, platforms extended, track and signalling replaced, and new trains and technology introduced too."
The latest investment will be in addition to those that are already being made to enhance services on Southern Rail.
Criticising the settlement in the strongest terms, RMT Union General Secretary Mick Cash said: "This latest whitewash of the Southern Rail shambles by the government is hardly a surprise when they've been up to their necks in this fiasco right from day one.
“This pathetic response to the abject failure by Southern / GTR to deliver on their contract doesn't even stack up to a slap on the wrist.”