Cross Country franchise competition dropped because of rail review

22 Septembre, 2018, 16:32 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • PA Wire  PA Images

Chris Grayling has admitted he failed to "ask the hard questions" of the rail industry in the run up to the timetabling chaos which caused misery for northern rail passengers earlier this year.

Over a period of several weeks, GTR and Northern cancelled up to 470 and 310 scheduled trains respectively each weekday.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling - who had previously insisted: "I don't run the railways" - told the BBC's Today programme that the problem was system-wide and that it was his job to "make sure it doesn't happen again".

The ORR found the way the industry is arranged does not support "clarity of decision-making".

Highlighted in the inquiry, Northern lacked preparation for timetable problems and failed to provide accurate information to passengers when delays and cancellations occurred.

Experts - working with passenger representatives, businesses, and devolved bodies - hope to review and build on the current franchising strategy in order to advance Chris Grayling's vision of bringing track and trains "closer together," meaning private operators will be able to invest in and shape rail infrastructure. This meant that staff worked in very hard circumstances to do as good a job as possible and I thank them for their efforts'.

And the ORR and DfT?

It comes after an official report into the recent rail timetable shambles found passengers were let down by rail bosses, ministers and regulators.

Events and decisions taken before January meant it was "probably unavoidable" that the launch would fail, according to the report.

Network Rail's major revamp at Blackpool North.

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The report said: "The inquiry has found that GTR did not adequately understand the magnitude of the risks around driver resources".

It came as the government promised a major review of Britain's railways.

"Throughout this Summer we have worked tirelessly to ensure the train operating companies stabilise services in the North and with some success - and we will continue to do so".

Calling for an overhaul of the UK's rail network, Grayling outlined a number of possible routes after the publication of a damning report into the health of the system, but said re-nationalisation would not solve the issues.

It added: "The use of special stop orders was a reasonable and proactive short-term response to addressing passenger needs. Nonetheless, the impact on these passengers arising from inadequate information would have been particularly severe". "Now there is no strategy in place for communication and this has to be resolved to give confidence to passengers, particularly older and disabled passengers that they will be able to complete their journey".

The report concluded: "GTR's realisation that the timetable was not working as planned was not communicated effectively to passengers who were given no assurance that the company had the situation under control".

"We are very sorry for the disruption the new timetable caused and have already contacted over 50,000 people offering up to a month's travel cost in compensation over and above the regular money they can also claim".

May 20: Govia Thameslink Railway introduces timetable changes which will add an extra 400 trains to the network. A "more cautious approach" will be taken to ensure passengers can "plan their journeys with confidence", the RDG has said.

A DFT spokesman said: "Professor Stephen Glaister's interim report sets out how a series of mistakes and complex issues across the rail industry contributed to the unacceptable disruption that passengers experienced earlier this year". "This review is a once in a generation opportunity for the wide-ranging and independent thinking our railway needs and we stand ready to play our part to make sure it delivers big, bold, meaningful reform in the national interest".

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