Restored full Southern timetable a '˜farce' on first day

The restored full Southern rail timetable has already become a '˜farce' on its first day, according to Liberal Democrats.

Lib Dems Rosalyn St Pierre and Kelly-Marie Blundell (photo submitted).
Lib Dems Rosalyn St Pierre and Kelly-Marie Blundell (photo submitted).

Train drivers’ union ASLEF called off its strike action planned for today, Thursday and Friday to allow fresh talks to resume with Govia Thameslink Railway over its plans to introduce driver-only operation on Southern services.

This allowed the rail operator to restore its full timetable from today (Tuesday January 24).

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But Lewes Lib Dems labelled the restoration a ‘farce’, as by 11.30am they claimed that the live reporting feature showed that Govia, which also runs Thameslink and Gatwick Express services, had already seen 83 trains cancelled or very late along with 339 delayed services.

Kelly-Marie Blundell, the Lib Dems’ prospective parliamentary candidate for Lewes, said: “This goes to highlight that the problems created by unions striking was simply the tip of the iceberg for a service that is being poorly run, and it is passengers suffering as a result.”

She added: “Over 30 per cent of trains in the Govia network have been delayed today, when there is meant to be a full service.

“When will the Government stand up and recognise that this rail service is not being delivered?

“The Government hold the contract with Govia, they should strip them of that contract and put the network into special measures, so we can have the trains running on time.”

A spokesman for Southern said: “Southern delivered 95 per cent of its train service this morning.

“Inevitably, on a live working railway, there are going to be issues and a derailed freight train at Lewisham saw Southeastern services diverted into Victoria, late-running Thameslink trains and subsequent congestion on the Brighton Mainline.”

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