Report highlights Southern woes

Too many trains and too few depots are just some of the reasons behind the problems faced by Southern.

By ‘Industry Witness’

PASSENGER fury on the Southern part of the Thameslink Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise prompted the Department for Transport to commission a report into service reliability from Chris Gibb, a non-executive director at Network Rail with extensive experience running train operating companies.

His report might be summarised by saying that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, including a breakdown of relationships with the staff that has resulted in ongoing protests about the implementation of driver only operation.

The remit for the report did not cover any analysis of the staffing dispute, but on other factors contributing to the fact that only 72% of Southern services arrived with five minutes of booked time last year.

Remedies include a view that too many services operate during the off-peak period, so there is no ‘firebreak’ to allow for repositioning of traincrew and rolling stock following disruptions in the morning peak. The report also says that stops at lightly used stations should be reduced to allow more recovery time.

Read more in the August issue of RE – on sale now!

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