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Posted 26.09.18

In-Touch Stakeholder Newsletter Enquiry:

ORR Enquiry:

The ORR has released its interim report into the events surrounding the introduction of the May 2018 Timetable. The report makes it clear that there was a wide range of factors and failings across the industry which led to the issues with the May timetable.

We have acknowledged the preliminary investigation into the industry-wide issues surrounding the introduction of the May timetable.  We will now look closely at the findings to consider how we can make improvements for passengers.

We are very sorry for the disruption the May timetable caused, and have already contacted over 60,000 people holding Season Tickets offering up to a month’s travel cost in compensation over and above the regular money they can also claim.

Thameslink and Great Northern services are now back on track with over 87% of Thameslink and Great Northern services on time last week. The average for the last four weeks was 84.5% which is similar to the period before the May timetable change.

Paul Plummer, CEO of the Rail Delivery Group, who represents the rail industry, has said:

“The structural issues highlighted in this report underline the need for the wide-ranging, root and branch rail review we have been calling for to deliver meaningful reform that puts customers at the heart of the railway.

“Working together we are determined to learn the lessons to avoid a repeat of May’s disruption which stemmed from our ambition to deliver the step-change in rail services people want to see. The rail industry stands ready to build on the recommendations and deliver a better railway for passengers and the country.”

Stations Day October 15th

Stations Day on October 15th is a celebration of station improvements across the country. We are committed to improving our stations and are investing £50m to improve stations for passengers. In this past financial year GTR made improvements to the value of £8 million and a further £15 million is committed for next year. 

The main improvements are:

  • This year, Bognor Regis was given a major revamp with improvements made at other stations such as Stevenage, Newhaven Town, Farringdon, Cuffley and Hornsey. 
  • Next year GTR will finish an upgrade at Eastbourne, St Albans City, Elstree & Borehamwood, Welwyn Garden City, Tulse Hill and stations along the Northern City Line. 
  • Accessibility improvements have been made and, at smaller stations, better waiting facilities and booking halls delivered. 
  • The number of car parks now featuring the easier-to-use automatic number plate recognition system has almost doubled with an additional 22 now in place. 
  • We improved cycle parking at 21 stations (£1m investment)

Major investment in customer information and ticket machines at London Victoria.

Network Rail’s Three Bridges to Brighton planned closures: Passenger campaign

As you will be aware there are a series of  Network Rail planned engineering works at weekends throughout  this year, and a week-long blockade in February 2019.  This is to allow Network Rail  engineers to complete some essential work between Three Bridges and Brighton.

A passenger campaign is being rolled out,  including leaflets in stations, large format vinyl installations across stations in Sussex, a passenger engagement roadshow covering 33 impacted stations, a social media campaign and in-station announcements.  More channels will be introduced over the coming weeks. The blockade communications team were out in force at the Victoria Meet the Manager on 16th August – with good feedback received from passengers about the early engagement about these works. A number of MPs including Henry Smith and Stephen Lloyd have supported the campaign through attending station roadshows. 

GTR's station partners shortlisted for national awards

GTR is delighted to have learned that two of its station partners have been shortlisted for the national Community Rail Awards.

Both the Friends of Ally Pally Station and the Friends of Angmering Station have been shortlisted in the 'It's Your Station' category, which recognises the difference that volunteer groups can make to the passenger experience. The Friends of Ally Pally are also shortlisted in the Small Projects Award for their 'Hop on a Train' efforts, which has seen them collaborate with Wood Green Hopping to grow hops on Platform 1 to be brewed into a beer.

GTR has over 80 station partnerships across the network, with community groups, charities and business adopting locations and working with us to help the station further reflect the community they serve.

All of our station partnerships bring something very unique to their own location and it's wonderful that we are able to keep adding new groups.  We are  delighted that  both the Angmering and Alexandra Palace partners have been shortlisted for these awards

The awards results will be announced at an event on 4 October in Glasgow.

More detail about station partnerships can be found on the GTR websites.

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Posted 11.09.18

Update from Govia Thameslink Railway and Network Rail  -  31.08.18


We are writing to provide you with an update regarding this week’s service and key issues brought to our attention.

Interim timetable

We are maintaining improved reliability and punctuality on Thameslink and Great Northern since we introduced the interim timetable last month, with almost eight out of ten trains arriving on time, and with 200 more services than before May.

The period to date PPM for GTR is 86.5%, the highest it has been in over 12 months so we are seeing concrete evidence that the service is improving.  For this period to date the PPM for Thameslink and Great Northern, where there have been the greatest issues is 84.6%.

These improvements have been achieved despite highly disruptive infrastructure and operational incidents unrelated to the timetable, such as last week's trespasser at East Croydon, causing 185 hours of delays and 180 cancellations, and a signal failure at Norwood Junction that resulted in 130 hours of delays and over 170 cancellations.

We are continuing to monitor how the timetable is settling in and next week will be important as schools start to return after the summer holidays. We will add more services when we know we can do so reliably.

Other issues affecting performance this week

These are the key issues that affected service this week. You may find this useful if you receive enquiries about this week’s service.

27/08

A trespasser near Streatham Common Station led to 317 minutes of delays.

28/08

A double level crossing failure in the Angmering area led to 1991 minutes of delays and 52 cancellations.

A train fault at Hadley Wood caused 1956 minutes of delays and 46 cancellations.

29/08

Sadly, a fatality at Horsham led to 868 minutes of delays and a total of 50 cancellations.

Track defects between Earlswood and Gatwick Airport contributed towards 620 minutes of delays.

30/08

Disorder at Shoreham by Sea caused 468 minutes of delays and 20 cancellations.

A trespasser near Bexhill led to 354 minutes of delay and 15 cancellations. 

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Posted 31.08.18

We are writing to provide you with an update regarding the additional industry compensation scheme.

We include below the press release which you may want to circulate to your contacts, or link up to from your website:  http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/govia-thameslink-railway/pressreleases/gtr-extends-industry-compensation-scheme-to-non-season-ticket-holders-on-thameslink-and-great-northern-2660263 

Additional industry compensation scheme

- Start of the scheme for season ticket holders 

- Extending the scheme to non-season ticket holders 

Overview

  • On 4 July GTR announced an additional industry compensation scheme for qualifying Thameslink and Great Northern season ticket holders most affected by the May timetable change. 
  • Tomorrow (29 August), we will open phase 1, where we begin to contact known eligible season ticket holders.
  • Today we also announce that we will extend the industry compensation to include non-season ticket holders who frequently travel on qualifying TL and GN services. 
  • Regular travellers are those who do not hold a season ticket but have a minimum of three days’ return travel in any week, Monday to Sunday, in the period 20 May to 28 July from the stations most affected. Carnets are included in the scheme. 
  • Industry compensation is being offered in addition to Delay Repay and enhanced compensation.
  • A new website has been created for passengers and it includes an easy-to-use eligibility tracker and a list frequently asked questions that we will update as we need to. It will also host the online claim form for passengers when phase 2 and 3 go live. 

Implementing the scheme

To manage the volume of expected claims and ensure an efficient process for customers, GTR has set up a dedicated team recruited additional staff team to handle claims and enquiries. The team will start taking customer calls from 29 August.

The scheme is rolling out in phases:

 

More information is available online, including frequently asked questions. Please click here for details:  railcompensation.thameslinkrailway.com 

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Posted 31.08.18

Update from Govia Thameslink Railway and Network Rail - 24.08.18

We are writing to provide you with an update regarding this week’s service: 

Interim timetable

We continue our efforts to run a stable service with 200 extra trains a day compared with the pre-May timetable. Services ran relatively well during the week, with strong performance across the network on both Monday and Tuesday when PPM  exceeded  90% . Both teams are working hard so that customers have a reliable service that they can depend on, day in day out. 

Infrastructure and other issues affecting performance this week

These are the key issues that affected services this week. You may find this useful if you receive passengers’ enquiries about their journey: 
• 22/08: Fatality at Earlswood during the evening peak  
• 23/08: A person hit by an EMT train near St Albans affected the evening peak  

In the meantime please do not hesitate to get in touch for further information through your normal contact or email gtr.stakeholders@gtrailway.com.

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Posted 08.08.18

Update from Govia Thameslink Railway and Network Rail

We are writing to provide you with a progress update following the introduction of the interim timetable on 15 July. 

Interim timetable update

The interim timetable on Thameslink and Great Northern routes has been in place for three weeks now and has substantially improved reliability for passengers. Performance this week has hit over 90%. The highlight was on Tuesday the end of day PPM was 94.3% on Great Northern, 88.6% on Thameslink and 90.9% overall for GTR.

Earlier this week we released performance information comparing the first two weeks of the timetable with the two weeks prior to its implementation. This data demonstrated an improvement across both routes. You can view this here.

Infrastructure and operational issues w/c 30/07/18

These are the key issues that affected the service this week.  We thought it would be useful for you to have the information to hand as you may receive enquiries about them. 

Monday 30 July

A signal fault just after 8am in Clayton Tunnel (between Preston Park and Hassocks) caused disruption to Southern and Thameslink services, with services thinned out through the area to prevent congestion. The signalling was restored at around 10.20am following repairs to a broken wire inside a track-side electrical cabinet.

Tuesday 31 July

A signal failure at Wivelsfield on Tuesday evening meant trains had to be ‘talked past’ a signal for a roughly twenty-minute period, causing delays and a small number of cancellations. An electrical cable was replaced overnight to ensure against any repeat of the fault.

Thursday 2 August

Shortly before 11am on Thursday, a major loss of signalling affecting routes into London Bridge and Victoria occurred. The majority of signalling was restored within ten minutes, though knock on disruption continued into the afternoon owing to the large area affected. The fault was traced to a 33kv feeder cable at the Herne Hill relay room, which provides power to signalling systems across south London

 

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Posted 23.07.18

Update from Govia Thameslink Railway and Network Rail since 20th May  

We are writing to provide you with a progress update following the introduction of the interim timetable on 15 July.

Interim timetable update

The interim timetable on Thameslink and Great Northern routes is gradually bringing improvements across our network. We are now running 200 more services a day than before the introduction of the May timetables, and the combined public performance measure (PPM) for Thameslink and Great Northern was 86.8% on 19 July compared with 90.4% on 17 May. This is a positive start to the new timetable bringing a more predictable service to give our passengers greater confidence when planning their journey.

The intended May 2018 timetable will bring huge benefits to you, so once the current interim timetable is bedded in, we will look to introduce more services to complete the intended May 2018 timetable and we will keep you informed at every step along the way. Please be assured that we are doing all we can to bring this about as swiftly as possible.

A number of issues have affected services this week as per the update below.

Infrastructure and operational issues w/c 16/07/18

These are the key issues that affected the service this week.  We thought it would be useful for you to have the information to hand as you may receive enquiries about them.

Points failure between Purley and Gatwick Airport on Monday 16 July

A points failure at Redhill on Monday afternoon was caused by a build-up of litter in the mechanism of the points. The fault was reported at around 2.20pm; a local response manager was on site within twenty minutes and was able to remove the litter, returning the points to normal working. A small number of trains were run fast between Salfords and Purley while this issue was being resolved.

Train failure on Tuesday 17 July

Southern & Gatwick Express were heavily impacted by a train failure at Epsom, the incident started with a door fault and ended with a full power outage and the train having to be removed to sidings. As this was finishing up we had a trespasser on the line at Tulse Hill.

Trespasser at Streatham on Tuesday 17 July

A distressed trespasser on the tracks between Tulse Hill and Streatham shortly before 8am on Tuesday led to disruption to Thameslink services. British Transport Police dealt with the trespasser, though this required the third rail power supply to be switched off for safety reasons. Service was restored by the late morning.

London Victoria station evacuation on Wednesday 18 July

A fire alarm activation at London Victoria on Wednesday led to the evacuation of the station between 8.20am and 8.36am. No trains were able to enter the station during this time, leading to severe congestion on the lines approaching the station. Ticket acceptance was put in place with South Western Railway and London Underground to minimise disruption to passengers. 

Points failure at London Bridge on Wednesday 18 July

At around 5pm on Wednesday, a set of points between London Bridge and New Cross failed, preventing the use of one of the tracks serving London Bridge and requiring trains diverted onto the adjacent line to travel at extremely slow speed. As a result, there were significant delays in the London Bridge area and knock-on congestion at New Cross Gate, which impacted on East London Line services. Evening peak services were thinned to ease congestion.

Track circuit failure at Balcombe on Wednesday 18 July

A track circuit – part of the signalling systems which tell us the locations of trains – failed at Balcombe at around 4pm on Wednesday. While the fault was rectified quickly, trains were cautioned through the area for a time, and two Southern services were cancelled to reduce congestion.

Tree on the line at St Alban's on Friday 20 July

Delays to Thameslink services on Friday morning due to a tree on the line reported to have been on fire having come into contact with the overhead line. This resulted in a block to the electricity on the fast lines, resulting in Thameslink and East Midlands Trains services sharing the slow lines between St Albans and Elstree & Borehamwood. This has impacted St. Albans, Harpenden & Bedford services.

 

Additional compensation announced for season ticket holders

As stated in our last newsletter we have been working with the DfT on a scheme for further compensation for affected Thameslink and Great Northern season ticket holders which was announced last week. The qualifying periods ends on 28 July, we will then use our existing records to work out who is owed this compensation. We aim to start contacting these individuals towards the end of August. There will also be an opportunity for anyone not contacted, but who thinks they should have been, to apply into the scheme too. You can read more about it for Great Northern or Thameslink. 

All GTR customers are entitled to claim compensation via Delay Repay if their journey has been delayed by 15 minutes or more and season ticket holders can claim enhanced compensation, details of which are available on the relevant brand’s website. Customers can also claim for enhanced compensation if they were delayed by more than 30 minutes on 12 or more days over a four week reporting period. Read more here

 

Three Bridges to Brighton Improvement Project Update

This week Network Rail released its latest update on the Brighton Mainline Improvement project. The project focuses on the lines between Three Bridges and Brighton and Three Bridges and Lewes. Major engineering work is planned for the Victorian-era tunnels in the area and the railway that runs through them. When complete, the result will be improved reliability on the Brighton Main Line, significantly reducing delays for passengers travelling between London and the south coast.

Inevitably, we will need to limit some services while this important work is undertaken. For more information including the schedule for the temporary closures between September 2018 and May 2019, please click here. We have worked hard with Network Rail to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum however we encourage you to share and promote this leaflet so passengers are aware of the scheduled closures and can plan accordingly.

Change in GTR Management - Patrick Verwer, GTR Chief Executive Officer

I’m pleased to confirm that Patrick Verwer officially joined GTR as Chief Executive Officer this week and we are confident that he will bring new energy and a new perspective to deliver the transformation that is already underway. Patrick is keen to engage with stakeholders and we will be in touch about this in the near future.

In the meantime please do not hesitate to get in touch for further information through your normal contact or email gtr.stakeholders@gtrailway.com.

www.gtrailway.com

 

 

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Posted 09.07.18

Update from Govia Thameslink and Network Rail since 20th May (update no 13)

We are writing to provide you with an update regarding the latest progress with the current service provision and customer information. We have been meeting some of you and have also been emailing and phoning others throughout the past few weeks so thank you for your feedback.

Interim timetable 15th July

Details of a new interim timetable to provide a more reliable service for Thameslink and Great Northern passengers have been published today.

GTR has committed to running more peak hour trains and provide a more regular service when the new timetable starts on Sunday July 15.

This marks a significant stage in the recovery plan following issues resulting from the introduction of the May timetable due to industry-wide factors.

Improvements to Thameslink and Great Northern services have been made possible by increased efficiency of driver work schedules.

For further information on the new timetable visit  www.thameslinkrailway.co.uk/interimtimetable or  www.greatnorthernrail.co.uk/interimtimetable

We are updating all of our channels so that customers can access information online and at stations, including posters, announcements and leaflets from early next week.
To read the full press release, please click here. 


Network Rail Apology

Infrastructure and other issues

These are the key other issues that affected the service this week.  We thought it would be useful for you to have the information to hand as you may receive enquiries about them.

  • On the evening of 2 July there was significant disruption to services on the Brighton Main Line as a result of a problem with signalling equipment at Wivelsfield - there was a fault with the system that sends information between the signal and the signalling centre, affecting 5 signals on the Brighton Main Line, and our technicians had to work through the night to fix it.

Engineering work between London and Brighton/Eastbourne Sunday 8th July

With Britain’s heat wave set to continue into the weekend we are urging passengers travelling on the Brighton Main Line this Sunday to consider their travel plans as engineering work will mean no trains are able to run between Three Bridges and Brighton and Three Bridges and Lewes.

Trains will still run between London Victoria and Brighton, but will be diverted via Littlehampton, taking over two hours – twice the normal journey time.

A limited supply of buses will operate along the closed section of Brighton Main Line railway but a queuing system and longer journey times are expected, so passengers are strongly advised to consider alternative means of travel.  For more information, please click here.

We have updated our information channels to make sure there is awareness including on our websites, social media, NRES and of course at stations.

Other essential Network Rail engineering work will affect services on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th July. Please check here.

1st Class declassification – 29th June – 15th July

First class declassification is in place on all Thameslink and Great Northern services during peak journey times to create more space for passengers. This will continue until the interim timetable is implemented on 15 July which will prioritise peak hours services and reduce service gaps.  The rear carriage of all 700 trains are already permanently declassified.

For the declassification, the peaks are defined as follows (based on when the service departs the station);

  • The AM peak is from 6.30am to 9.30am
  • The PM peak is from 4.00pm to 7.15pm

Passengers who hold a first class season ticket can claim individually for the journeys they have made, or claim for all affected journeys in a single application after the 15 July. A new form will be available then.

We appreciate that customers may already hold a Thameslink or Great Northern first class season ticket and they will be able to claim the difference in cost for journeys made where first class was declassified. This can be found by clicking this link.  

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience that has been caused to you and passengers.  Please continue to remind all GTR customers, including Southern and Gatwick Express, of the compensation they are entitled to: Delay Repay if their journey is delayed by 15 minutes or more (against either the planned May timetable or the service on the day) and enhanced compensation for season ticket holders, more details of which are available on the relevant brand’s website. As per the announcement earlier this we are working with the DfT on a scheme which will be announced shortly.

We will continue to provide regular updates, please get in touch if you need any further information in the meantime.

Govia Thameslink Railway

 

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Posted 26.06.18

We are writing to update you about the latest progress with the current service provision and customer information. Some of you were able to come along to our second MP drop in session on Wednesday and we have also been emailing and phoning others throughout the past few weeks so thank you for your feedback.

Weekday’s services 

We have produced a weekday base plan timetable for the next few weeks. This means that customers don’t have to check the timetable on a weekly basis, as it is now set for the next few weeks. However, we continue to encourage customers to check on the day of travel for any on-the-day alterations.  

In addition to this, we are working to introduce a more dependable interim weekday timetable, which will be put in place in mid-July. This will prioritise peak trains, giving customers more certainty to plan journeys to and from work.

We have more work to do before sharing that plan with you, including the standard industry scrutiny process with Trade Unions, but hope to be in a position to provide you with further information in the near future. 

Delay Repay and Check Before You Travel

While we develop the interim July timetable, we continue to ask passengers to check online journey planners on the day of travel. We are also making Printable PDF format timetables directly available from our websites.  We’d be grateful if you could use your channels to help us encourage customers to use the online web form to claim for the compensations they might be entitled to if their journey is delayed by 15 minutes or more. 

Information about how to claim DR is available online at https://www.thameslinkrailway.com/help-and-support/journey-problems/delay-repay

Re-Introducing services timetable g

In order to even out services and plug some of the gaps, we have introduced some extra services this week.  The feedback we have received about particular problem hotspots from passengers and stakeholders has been immensely useful and is helping us to identify areas to concentrate our efforts.  Although this does not meet the needs of all passengers, we will continue to introduce extra services where possible, if the optimisation of resource allocation allows us to.

Weekend services 

Timetables for weekend services are available in PDF format from our websites. In addition to this, journey planners are being uploaded by  8pm the day before travel (e.g. Saturday’s timetable is available  from Friday 8pm). 

1st class declassification

One of the issues that has been repeatedly raised by some passengers and stakeholders is whether first class carriages should be declassified.  We know that passengers are facing some very difficult conditions on busy services and we need to look at any possible means to make conditions more comfortable. There are pros and cons to this issue and we have to balance the requirement to ease overcrowding in this interim period versus the rights of those who have paid a premium fare.  We are currently considering all options to find one that is fair to all passengers.

Short Forms

The demands of the driver route learning schedule impacts on our ability to make all the stock moves required to deliver every service at full length. Sadly this means effecting a balancing act between our capacity to run all the scheduled services and running them at full length. We are currently exhausting all driver diagrams possible to minimise cancellations during the week and to maintain the concurrent route learning schedule that will ultimately resolve the present difficulties.  We are monitoring the number of services that consist of fewer carriages than normal and the trend is moving downwards. 

Reinstated trains

We have begun the process of reinstating trains where we possibly can to increase the number of trains on each service.  At times the train is reinstated at the last minute and we have had feedback that there is an issue with how this has been communicated.  We are working with colleagues to ensure that station staff are given information as early as possible so that they can make public announcements and also that, where possible, information is displayed on the Customer Information Systems.

As always we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience that has been caused to you and passengers and very much appreciate your constant support and engagement.

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Posted 21.06.18

Dear Stakeholder 

This morning there was a signal failure at Luton which has caused delays to the entire Thameslink Network. Significant further disruption has been caused by signal faults at Victoria and London Bridge, and by a points failure near Brighton.

We have worked with Network Rail, who have now fixed the problem and we are doing our best to get the network up and running again.  In the meantime this has caused some problems for passengers and we are very sorry for this.  Network Rail have issued an apology to passengers for the delays this morning:

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We would like to apologise to passengers experiencing delays this morning owing to a signal failure at Luton.

“Our engineers have now fixed this issue and we are working with train operating companies to recover normal service as soon as possible.

“However, there are still residual delays between Bedford and London St Pancras, so passengers are advised to check their journeys before travelling throughout this morning.

You can also find the link here-  https://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/govia-thameslink-railway/news/network-rail-apology-for-thameslink-service-this-morning-311576

We have put in place the emergency overcrowding procedures which each station has. This, for example meant that a barrier was put up outside St Albans station to ease congestion.  In a situation, such as this safety of passenger is our primary concern. 

In addition, as normal with a disruption there is ticket acceptance in place and passengers are encouraged to claim for delay repay here.  https://www.thameslinkrailway.com/help-and-support/journey-problems/delay-repay

Passengers can find further information on our website here - https://www.thameslinkrailway.com/travel-information/plan-your-journey/service-updates?uq=636651722016330000#INCDA884097C5504F80BE100529D8E63821

Kind regards 

Farzana Hakim 
Senior Stakeholder Manager

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Posted 18.06.18

The Go-Ahead Group plc (GOG) today announced that Charles Horton, Chief Executive Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, has tendered his resignation. He will remain in his post for a short period to oversee the development of a temporary timetable to address recent disruption to services. His successor will be announced in due course.

David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said: “I would like to thank Charles for his hard work with Govia for the past 15 years. Under often challenging conditions, he has built a team to deliver the largest railway change programme for decades, on a franchise that is not only the UK's biggest, but which has also has seen the highest passenger growth. 

“We are committed to working with the Department for Transport and Network Rail to address recent problems and to deliver a reliable, punctual service for passengers.”

Charles Horton said “I recognise that passengers have been hugely frustrated at the significant disruption caused by the introduction of new timetables. It is the right time to hand leadership of GTR to a new pair of hands. I am immensely proud of my team and I would like to thank my 7,000 colleagues at GTR for all their hard work over the past four years.”

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Posted 11.06.18

Dear Rail Users,

We wanted to send you a copy of a press release that has been sent out this morning from the Rail Delivery Group, detailing the latest plans in the management of the new timetable.  As this is an industry wide initiative, the RDG is sending this out on behalf of all train operating companies.

RAIL COMPANIES TO INTRODUCE TEMPORARY TIMETABLES TO GIVE CUSTOMERS MORE CERTAINTY

The rail industry has pledged to work together to get services back on track as quickly as possible, giving customers the greater certainty they need over what trains will run, following disruption resulting from the biggest timetable change in a generation to accommodate more and faster trains

Today, Northern has published a temporary timetable which will enable it to start to stabilise service levels over the next few weeks and, importantly, start to reduce the number of last-minute cancellations. GTR will also be introducing a temporary timetable on Great Northern and Thameslink as soon as possible. Next week, GTR has plans to provide a more consistent level of service to allow passengers to plan their journeys with greater confidence.

The biggest timetable change in a generation took place on 20 May. This was part of delivering the rail industry’s plan to add 6,400 extra services a week and 7,000 new carriages by 2021, using new and upgraded track across the country to give customers a better service, better connect communities and secure £85bn of additional economic benefits.

While nationwide, more than eight out of 10 services have arrived as planned since the new timetable was introduced, customers in some parts of the country have experienced unacceptable levels of disruption. Northern and GTR are taking decisive action to give greater certainty to passengers as quickly as possible.

To accommodate the extra services being introduced, six out of 10 services nationwide had to be retimed. The time of all GTR and most Northern services had to be changed. All of these new journeys needed to be individually approved by Network Rail to ensure the national rail network runs safely and smoothly. 

As a result of the sheer number of changes required and the late running of some engineering improvements, the process took longer than anticipated, approvals for service changes were delayed and some timetable requests were changed. This meant that train companies had much less time to prepare for the new timetable meaning specialist training required could not be completed in time for drivers to learn all the new routes, or operate different trains for operators to address all the logistical challenges. 

While it will be some weeks before customers in the areas affected have the service improvements they were expecting in May, rail companies plan to run more services compared to before the change on 20th May. They will also be continuing to train drivers on new routes and timetables so that, in time, the full benefits for customers of the new timetable can be realised.

Passengers are advised to continue to check before they travel and, if they are delayed, to check with their operator to see whether they are due compensation.

Robert Nisbet, Regional Director of the Rail Delivery Group, said:

“We understand that rail customers quite rightly want a service they can rely on and in some parts of the country that has not been the case and we are sorry for that. The companies involved have plans to get services back on track as quickly as possible and while things will improve in the coming days, giving passengers greater certainty, it will be some time before the full benefits of the timetable are felt.

“The industry is determined to deliver its plan to change and improve Britain’s railway for customers, communities and the economy and will learn the lessons to ensure that as we transform the network, people continue to get the level of service they deserve.”

The industry has also committed to learn the lessons from what went wrong with introducing the new timetable to ensure future changes do not cause such disruption. Rail timetables are normally confirmed 12 weeks ahead of time but this was not the case for the May timetable change and the Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail and train operators, has begun a review into why this happened.

Charles Horton, CEO, GTR, said:

“May’s new timetable was part of the biggest change to services for decades introducing 400 extra services and providing longer trains to address the doubling of passengers on our network in just 16 years. 

“We always said that it would be challenging – but we are very sorry for the significant disruption being experienced by passengers and apologise sincerely. Delayed approval of the timetable led to an unexpected need to substantially adjust our plans and resources in an unexpectedly short time-frame. 

“We fully understand that passengers want more certainty and next week will make changes to bring greater consistency services with fewer unplanned cancellations, allowing passengers to arrange their journeys with greater confidence. We are also working with industry colleagues to introduce further changes that will progressively deliver improvement.” 

David Brown, Managing Director, Northern, said:

“I’d like to apologies for this unacceptable situation and for the disruption and inconvenience many passengers have faced. We’re truly sorry for this and we’re working hard with the Network Rail team to fix this.

“To deliver a more robust and stable service we are introducing an interim train timetable, effective from Monday 4 June until the end of July. This interim timetable will enable us to start to stabilise service levels over the next few weeks and, importantly, start to reduce the number of last-minute train cancellations.”

Mark Carne, Network Rail’s chief executive said:

“There is no doubt that the May timetable was finalised significantly later than normal for reasons that were both within and without our control. The consequences of that have been particularly hard for both Northern and GTR to absorb. 

“The industry has let down its passengers by failing to deliver the new services offered by the new timetable; a timetable that ultimately will deliver thousands of new services for the benefit of passengers, both far and wide.  It has not been good enough and we know it.  That is why we are working together across the industry to build a recovery plan that people can rely on and then more gradually introduce the benefits and new services everyone needs.”

As stated before, we want to thank you for your understanding, we will keep you updated with any developments, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any enquiries or if you would like a one to one at our usual email address –  gtr.stakeholders@gtrailway.com.

Kind regards,

GTR stakeholder relations 

 

 

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Posted 31.05.18

(RailPlan20/20)

Dear Stakeholder,

I wanted to write to you regarding the stories in the News today about helping passengers with disabled access.  We do not want to create any unnecessary concern for our most vulnerable passengers at a time when GTR are focused on building confidence for customers who may need assistance on their journeys.

I firstly wanted to reassure you that our commitment to helping disabled passengers and making the railway accessible for all is something which we take extremely seriously and treating all passengers equally is of utmost importance.

We place a high priority on making our services accessible to all and actively encourage people with restricted mobility to use our trains. Our policy remains the same which is to offer assistance to all passengers to help them with their journeys.

At the same time, we have a responsibility to make sure each service leaves on time to avoid knock-on delays, skipped station stops and cancellations to other services which would affect thousands of other passengers, many of whom may also be disabled.  Keeping to the timetable is the basis of running a service that all passengers can rely upon so we have to make this a priority and we never delay trains unless there is a risk to safety or security.

In central London between London Bridge and St Pancras, we've done away with the need for a ramp, by installing humps on every platform to give level access, aided by a member of staff throughout the day.

In order to put our commitments into practise, all of our front-line station teams are trained in disability awareness. Part of this is ensuring clear expectations about how our station staff should meet the person with restricted mobility, find out their destination and help decide on an appropriate train, contact the destination station and prepare for the arrival of the train with a ramp if required before assisting that person on to the train. This information is given to all station staff and what has been taken out of a context is one line that purely refers to the very last 90 seconds when a train is dispatched, when there is insufficient time to deploy a ramp without delaying the passengers on that train and potentially a knock-on effect for passengers on other train services on this congested network

Next week is going to be an extremely important week for us and for our passengers. We look forward to welcoming all passengers onto our trains and implementing the new timetable but if there are any problems please do not hesitate to contact us at our usual email address – gtr.stakeholders@gtrailway.com.
Kind regards 

Farzana

Farzana Hakim 
Senior Stakeholder Manager, GTR
 

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Posted 24.05.18

 

Dear Stakeholder

Please find below our latest media statement about today’s service.

A spokesperson for Govia Thameslink Railway said: “Today was a major challenge as the new timetable was tested on the first full working day. There has been some disruption in the morning peak and we apologise to passengers for any difficulties with their journey.

“Passenger groups have acknowledged that overall the network coped well under exceptionally difficult circumstances, as we altered the departure and arrival times of thousands of services on the GTR network in the biggest change to timetables in a generation. Terminal stations coped well with the extra services, particularly Victoria and London Bridge.

“We expect some on-going issues and in the meantime we have already introduced more than 350 extra timetabled services this week.

“We continue to work hard to deliver a step-change in capacity to ease congestion on the busiest part of the UK rail network as part of a £7bn investment in infrastructure and trains.”

Kind regards

 

Katherine Cox

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Thameslink Railway

 

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Posted 27.04.18

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for participating in our consultation on the new timetable. The consultation was the biggest in UK rail history with over 28,000 respondents. The timetable team has considered all responses to the consultation whilst developing this timetable and made changes where they could, following suggestion from passengers, rail user groups and stakeholders. 

If you need any further information on the planned changes or more detailed route specific information including the new timetables, please visit, www.railplan2020.com.  

Please also click here to view further information.

Senior Stakeholder Manager

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Posted 20.04.18

Message from : Phil Hutchinson, GTR’s Head of Strategic Planning

The new timetable launch date on Sunday 20 May is fast approaching, which marks a major milestone in the implementation of Railplan 20/20, one of the biggest changes in railway timetables for decades. This will also kick off a new phase in our public awareness campaign to communicate the benefits locally. I would like to take the opportunity to reiterate my thanks to all stakeholders working with me on it, for your time and your energy.
This month’s issue of Modern Railways magazine features a six-page interview with me, where I discuss the development and thinking behind the Timetable, three years in the making. I am pleased with it as an account of the journey we’ve been on up to this point. Click here to view it on the Extranet.

The Timetable will bring longer, more frequent trains into the centre of London and increased direct services to the core stations London St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars and London Bridge.

There will also be the introduction of new routes running from Brighton to Cambridge and Horsham to Peterborough, which will bring with it a wide range of benefits. There will now be reduced journey times for passengers travelling through London as well as new travel opportunities, including direct links to Gatwick Airport.

This fundamental rewrite of the timetable requires many changes to our operations in the run up to, and after the start date. We are introducing new trains, changing the configuration of existing trains, amending their start and end points, and adding new train crew locations. With such a major logistical change, it is inevitable that there will be a transition period as we move from our existing timetable to the new structure. Once the transition plan is in place, we will provide you with explanations of what this means for services, it will be published on our websites, and we will use all communication channels to notify passengers asking them to check in advance for any short-term changes. 

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Posted 05.04.18

From 20 May, entirely new timetables will be introduced at Great Northern, Thameslink, Southern & Gatwick Express.  This means that many passengers who use these services to get to work, school, or anywhere else may be affected as their usual journey time or pattern is likely to change.  It is part of the biggest train timetable change in decades and is necessary to help increase capacity and improve reliability on the busiest part of the UK rail network.  Check your new timetable at www.railplan2020.com/timetables

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Posted 15.03.18

Dear Stakeholder

Please click the following link to view the latest copy of In-touch, your stakeholder newsletter. 

http://gtrailway.benchurl.com/c/v?e=C77B13&c=DA7F5&t=0&l=&email=S9GYSPl5PrOd8CP%2B7UP1lAbml9AN4QUUiw5tnv5CVzc%3D
 

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) 

www.thameslinkrailway.com 

www.greatnorthernrail.com 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted 08.02.18

I’m pleased to inform you that keyGo – our smartcard pay as you go product has gone live across the GTR network. Like the Key, keyGo will enable passengers to tap and go at all GTR stations without having to buy a ticket or load up a balance. After registration, the smartcard is linked to a nominated payment card and at the end of the day the best value walk-up fare for your travel will be charged.

KeyGo will benefit passengers who currently purchase off-peak or day tickets and who may frequently travel for leisure or work.

  • It will always give the best value walk-up fare for your travel within a day
  • It will charge automatically at the end of each day for the journeys you’ve made that day
  • No need to queue at ticket offices or ticket machines
  • Just tap through ticket gates quickly and easily
  • Get an automatic notification if you’re due compensation because of a delayed journey (ADR) if opted in to receive alerts
  • Once you’ve activated the card ‘out-boundary’, you can travel to any GTR stations inside or outside boundary – but NOT to TfL stations

KeyGo can be added onto existing Key smartcards or as a standalone product, for a full map see the attached keyGo map.

KeyGo was previously trialled on the Southern network; following feedback from users a number of changes were made before further roll out across the network.

Further information can be found on the below pages:

https://www.thameslinkrailway.com/tickets/smartcards-oyster-and-plusbus/the-key-smartcard/keygo

https://www.greatnorthernrail.com/tickets/smartcards-oyster-and-plusbus/the-key-smartcard/keygo

https://www.southernrailway.com/tickets/smartcards-oyster-and-plusbus/the-key-smartcard/keygo.

 

Kind regards 

Katherine Cox

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)

 

www.thameslinkrailway.com 

www.greatnorthernrail.com 

 

 

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Posted 16.01.18

 

Dear Stakeholder

Please find attached the latest copy of In-touch, your stakeholder newsletter. In this edition we can find out more about the re-opening of London Bridge station, the Samaritans' brew Monday campaign and new customer information screens on Southern stations.

You will also find attached a copy of Network Rail's letter regarding the Brighton Main Line Improvement Project: Planned closures in October 2018 and February 2019 for your reference. 

Please click here for further information.

Kind regards

 

Katherine Cox

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) 

www.thameslinkrailway.com 

www.greatnorthernrail.com 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted 08.01.18

Dear Stakeholder,

 

Brighton Main Line Improvement Project: Planned closures in October 2018 and February 2019

 

Network Rail has announced details of a major project to improve reliability and performance for passengers on the Brighton Main Line.  This programme of work has been discussed with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) who support the need for it being undertaken and our plans for carrying it out.

 

The project is a key part of a £300m Department for Transport-funded asset resilience programme announced in January 2017 to tackle delay hotspots and boost the reliability of the railway in the south east. It was a key recommendation of Chris Gibb’s report into Southern rail performance; it will reduce delays and provide a better, more reliable rail service to the 300,000 passengers who travel on the Brighton Main Line each day.

 

We are writing to you to explain the details of this work, why it is needed and the benefits it will deliver. In announcing this work today, we are aiming to ensure that passengers and businesses have as much notice as possible to enable them to plan ahead now the decision to proceed with the work has been taken.

 

From Saturday 20 to Sunday 28 October 2018 and from Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 February 2019, no trains will run between Three Bridges and Brighton or between Three Bridges and Lewes. The unprecedented access provided by these planned closures will allow Network Rail engineers to renew and upgrade a stretch of railway that is responsible for more delays to passengers than any other section in the south east of England.

 

The improvement work will focus on four Victorian-era tunnels – Balcombe, Clayton, Patcham and Haywards Heath – and the railway which runs through them. A major programme to stem leaks into the tunnels and provide reliable drainage away from the tracks will take place, while the track, third rail power system and signalling will all be replaced or upgraded. Elsewhere, track will be renewed, sets of points, which enable trains to switch between tracks, will be replaced and fencing and other security will be improved to deter trespassers. Without this programme of work, reliability on the Brighton Main Line will deteriorate in the months and years ahead, leading to more delays for passengers travelling between London and the south coast. 

 

The closures have been carefully planned for school half-terms, when passenger numbers are lower and some people may be able to be more flexible with their travel plans or take holiday. Passengers wishing to travel on these dates will need to allow considerably more time for their journeys and should expect to use either diverted trains via longer routes or a replacement bus or coach to connect with rail services.

 

Our decision to carry out this work has not been taken lightly. A range of alternative approaches have been explored but all would have resulted in more disruption for passengers over a much longer period. They would have also resulted in the works being more expensive to complete, reducing the money available to complete other essential projects.

 

For example, one alternative option required 84 weekend closures of the Brighton Main Line over two years. Clearly, that is not acceptable to passengers or the region’s economy – but neither is doing nothing. This would result in the infrastructure becoming more and more unreliable, with major unplanned disruption as result of infrastructure failure increasingly likely. 

 

We know that the announcement will not be popular with many Brighton Main Line passengers; however, we are committed to making them fully aware of the impact on their journeys.

 

GTR is working closely with us planning the alternative travel and ticketing arrangements that will be in place during these works, and there will be ongoing liaison with stakeholders and passenger groups as the plans develop.

 

We will also launch a large scale passenger communications campaign targeting all travellers affected by the blockades.  The campaign will ensure that passengers and businesses are fully aware of the closures, the impact on journeys, the alternative travel options available to them and the benefits the work will bring for the region.

 

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact our public affairs team.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

John Halsall

Managing Director, South East route                      

Network Rail                                                                     

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted 15.12.17

Dear Stakeholder

Please find attached the latest edition of In-touch, your stakeholder newsletter. In this copy you can find out more about phase 3 of the 2018 timetable consultation and the phased introduction of Thameslink services from next year, the further rollout of Wi-Fi on our trains and the introduction of Class 700s on some Southern routes.

Please click here for further information.

Kind regards

 

Katherine Cox

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) 

www.thameslinkrailway.com 

www.greatnorthernrail.com 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted 10.11.17

Dear Stakeholder

Please find attached the latest edition of In-touch, your stakeholder newsletter. In this edition you can read about the brand new Class 700s arriving from today on the Great Northern route, investment at Eastbourne station, the launch of the rail industry’s joint partnership plan and a reminder about the Christmas engineering works.

Please click here for further information.

Kind regards

 

Katherine Cox

 

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) 

www.thameslinkrailway.com 

www.greatnorthernrail.com 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Posted 14.09.17

Dear Stakeholder

Please find attached the latest edition of In-touch, your stakeholder newsletter. In this edition you can find out more about the Class 700s arriving on several Great Northern routes, as we bid farewell to the last Class 319s on the Thameslink route and we celebrate with our local charity partnerships.

Please click here for further information.

Kind regards

Katherine

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)

www.thameslinkrailway.com 

www.greatnorthernrail.com 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted 11.08.17

Dear Stakeholder,

Essential Crossrail work starts at Farringdon station next month. It is part of the project to create an exciting new transport hub which will give Thameslink passengers high frequency services north-south and east-west across London. However, it will unfortunately close the lifts to our northbound platform until next spring.

You will find a Crossrail briefing paper along with a press release we are issuing shortly, providing travel advice for those unable to negotiate eight steps to an alternative lift to the London Underground main entrance.

Please click here for further information.

Kind regards,

Katherine Cox

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR

 

www.thameslinkrailway.com 

www.greatnorthernrail.com 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted 03.08.17

 

Dear Stakeholder

Please find attached the latest edition of In-touch, your stakeholder newsletter. 

In this edition you read more about automatic delay repay, the roll-out of Wi-Fi onto Great Northern trains and the spring National Rail Passenger Survey Results.

Kind regards

Katherine Cox

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Th​ameslink Railway (GTR)

Kind regards

Katherine Cox

Stakeholder Manager

Govia Th​ameslink Railway (GTR)

 

Mobile: 07580 144332/ 0203 750 2032

                   

Registered in England and Wales No. 07934306. Registered office: 3rd Floor, 41-51 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6EE

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted 07.04.17

Please see the below details regarding Easter engineering works on Southern and Thameslink routes.

  • Most  Southern Victoria services diverted to/from London Bridge on Sunday 16th April
  • Gatwick Express passengers to use Southern and Thameslink services to and from  London
  • Only minor changes on the rest of the Southern/Thameslink network over the  Easter period

There will be no Southern and Gatwick Express train services on Easter Sunday to or from London Victoria station due to planned engineering works by Network Rail, the train operator confirmed today.

Most of Victoria services will be diverted to London Bridge and Gatwick Express passengers will be able to use Southern and Thameslink services to and from London.  Rail replacement services will run between Victoria and Streatham Hill/East Croydon.

There will also be some minor amendments to some other Southern and Thameslink services over the Easter bank holiday period. Routes affected are:

On Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Monday 17 April:

  • Buses  will replace trains between West Croydon and Epsom Downs

On Saturday 15 April:

  • Gatwick Express services will run half-hourly between Victoria and Brighton calling at Gatwick Airport.

On Sunday 16 April:

  • There will be no train service into or out of London Victoria. There will be no Southern or Gatwick Express services operating from the station all day, but most Southern services will be diverted to run to/from London Bridge and Gatwick Express passengers can use Southern and Thameslink services to get into and out of London.
  • Buses will replace trains Barnham and Bognor Regis. However, until 09.20, buses will also replace trains between Ford and Littlehampton.
  • Buses will replace trains between West Croydon and Sutton
  • Until 08.50, buses will replace Thameslink trains between St Albans and West Hampstead Thameslink

Southern's Passenger Services Director said: "On Easter Sunday, passengers will still be able to get in and of London via London Bridge and Blackfriars stations.  We’re sorry about the inconvenience but essential and necessary maintenance works are planned and are taking place over Easter when passenger volumes are lower than in the working week.”

Passengers are advised to check train times and availability by calling National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 or nationalrail.co.uk.

Govia Th​ameslink Railway (GTR)

0203 750 2032

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted 07.04.17

Dear Stakeholder

Please find attached a link to the latest edition of Connections, our twice yearly report to our customers - https://www.thameslinkrailway.com/about-us/how-were-performing/progress-updates-connections-magazine, https://www.greatnorthernrail.com/about-us/how-were-performing/progress-updates-connections-magazine and http://www.southernrailway.com/southern/news/connections/

In this issue we focus on bringing you up to date with our progress in addressing challenges and preparing for the introduction of more frequent, dependable services to, through and beyond London in 2018. The magazine features articles from Charles Horton, Angie Doll and Stuart Cheshire.

The report will be available in booklet form at all our staffed stations and we are happy to provide copies on request.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)

0203 750 2032

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