RMT union says Govia Thameslink Railway franchise is being given permission to cancel 350 trains a day

 
James Nickerson
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GTR said they will confirm details later this week

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has been given permission by the government to introduce an emergency timetable from next Monday, allowing them to cancel 350 more trains a day, a union has warned.

The RMT union said the figures were confirmed to the union at a GTR meeting on Friday, and that the emergency timetable will come into effect on Monday 11 July.

The union added that MPs on the GTR routes are meeting with the RMT today and the transport select committee meets on Tuesday morning to discuss the franchise.

Read more: Chaos on Southern trains due to latest strike action

"This latest savage attack on passenger services by GTR is nothing to do with staff sickness and everything to do with gross mismanagement of this franchise and the failure to employ enough guards and drivers to fill the current rosters and diagrams. The continuing attempt to blame the front line workforce for this crisis is a cynical and cowardly ploy that will not wash with the travelling public," said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.

The solution of this failing, basket-case franchise is not axing more trains and attacking those trying to hold it together at the sharp end - it is the removal of Govia at the earliest possible point.

Directly Operated Railways, who sorted out the mess on the East Coast, are lined up and ready to go and they should be given the green light to take over and start running these routes under public control, in the public interest.

And Labour isn't happy either, urging the government to strip GTR of its franchise.

Andy McDonald MP, shadow transport secretary, said: “Southern passengers were already suffering the worst delays in the country before this announcement. Enough is enough. Commuters should not have to put up with this incompetence any longer.

“For the sake of passengers, the government needs to take immediate action, including considering stripping Govia Thameslink Railway of its franchise and running the services in the public sector.”

A GTR spokesman said: "We will be confirming details of a temporary timetable later this week. The timetable recognises that the present level of service has not been acceptable and will aim to give passengers a more predictable service they can plan around. This will be a temporary measure until train crew availability levels return to normal."

And a Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are clear that GTR passengers are not getting the service they deserve and the current situation is unacceptable.

"We are aware that GTR is considering some changes in order to strengthen their timetable in the face of ongoing disruption, so as many services as possible can run.

"When this happens, operators are contractually obliged to inform us in advance, but these decisions are taken only when there is no other solution, and this does not amount to the government giving permission."

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