Southern Railway in crisis
will have to follow revised timetables as rail company Southern has announced it will cut 341 trains a day following government permission.
Southern’s temporary weekday schedule will start next Monday.
Southern’s passenger services director Alex Foulds said: “We are introducing this temporary weekday revised timetable with reluctance but it is the best thing we can do for our passengers who have been suffering daily cancellations ever since this dispute with the RMT began, and for which we are sincerely sorry.
“It should give the majority of our passengers a better, more consistent service that they can plan around.
“Whilst our first priority is our passengers, we also understand that this has been a difficult time for our staff. Conductors already know that their jobs are guaranteed, that there will be no reduction in salary and that the independent rail safety body has confirmed our plans are safe.
“Now, after listening to our staff, we have also decided to restore leisure travel benefits. All of this, we believe, should help our staff feel able to return to work and so reduce the issues causing the current high level of train cancellations.”
Lines to see most changes include Southern’s West London Line services between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction. Also, reductions in service on the Coastway routes, buses replacing most trains between Seaford and Lewes, and a reduced off-peak service between Tonbridge and Redhill is also on the cards.
Mick Cash, leader of the RMT, said: “This is crisis management on Britain’s biggest rail franchise, a franchise that is now in terminal meltdown.
“The continuing attempt to blame this gross mismanagement on the frontline staff is a cynical and cowardly ploy by a company who have chosen to wage war on their passengers and workforce alike.
“The managers at GTR pay themselves fat salaries and bonuses in reward for failure on an epic scale while the staff on the trains and platforms are left to take the blame for the bosses’ incompetence.
“This emergency timetable enables Govia to cancel 15 per cent of their trains and rig their appalling performance figures to protect their profits.
“Instead of conniving with this scandal, the Government should fire GTR and immediately instruct the legal, public sector fall-back operation to take over.”