Govia Thameslink must go if new timetable fails, says North East Beds Labour chairman

PUBLISHED: 12:02 14 July 2018

North East Bedfordshire Labour chairman Julian Vaughan. Picture: North East Beds Labour

North East Bedfordshire Labour chairman Julian Vaughan. Picture: North East Beds Labour

Archant

The government must end Govia Thameslink’s contract if its new interim timetable does not improve railway journeys – that’s according to the chairman of North East Beds Labour, who is himself a train driver.

The new timetable will come into effect on Sunday as Govia try to stabilise the situation after a new schedule brought in on May 20 caused chaos.

North East Beds Labour chairman Julian Vaughan told the Comet: “If the July 15 timetable does not bring any substantial improvement, then the government must call time on Govia – and also change how the railways are managed in the UK.

“Even if the service does improve, there must be significant changes in how future timetables are introduced, and a clear line of accountability to avoid the blame game that is ongoing at this time.”

In a statement last week, Govia’s chief operating officer Nick Brown confirmed the interim timetable will prioritise peak-time trains and reduce gaps in the service.

However, at a meeting with commuters in Hitchin, passenger services director Stuart Cheshire said the firm was “80 per cent” confident the revised timetable would work.

Mr Vaughan – a train driver himself – has been told that Govia has the resources available. But he has urged caution regarding these reassurances.

“I have been told that all the driver and train resources will be in place for the new interim timetable,” he said.

“However, it should be remembered that the same assurances were given by Govia to the Rail Industry Readiness Board only a matter of days before the start of the timetable on May 20 – and we all know what happened after that.

“Passengers are at the end of their tether, and I continue to hear reports of terrible journeys and chaos.

“Govia must remember that their failure to provide a service affects not just the unfortunate passengers that currently have to travel on their trains, but also their families and work colleagues.

“Sandy, Biggleswade and Arlesey stations are regularly at the bottom of the UK station performance tables. Their passengers deserve much better.”

To find out more about the new timetable, have a look at greatnorthernrail.com/travel-information/plan-your-journey/timetables.

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