Chris Grayling says GTR 'failed passengers'" width="976" height="549">
Rail passengers, such as these at Manchester Piccadilly, faced huge delays on "Meltdown Monday"
The transport secretary says the "rail industry has collectively failed" passengers when timetable changes caused chaos across the network.Chris Grayling wrote to MPs over the "wholly unsatisfactory" service from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) as many trains in and out of south-east England suffered "Meltdown Monday" on 21 May.GTR said it expected disruption to ease "over the coming month".A Surrey rail user group earlier blamed the Department for Transport (DfT).GTR runs Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and the Gatwick Express.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has criticised GTR and Network Rail
Stephen Trigg of the Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users Association, said: "Thameslink is just failing all over the place. "This morning six out of 12 trains have disappeared from the timetable. That's before any cancellations. How do people get to workRos Southward, who set up the Hitchin Rail Commuters Group, said there was constant "stress and disruption" on the Great Northern line."[I'm] beyond words, I don't get it because this is supposed to have been planned for a couple of years," she said.The shake-up started on 20 May and saw every train time on each operator changed, affecting an estimated half a million commuters.Some passengers arriving back at Hitchin station in Hertfordshire on Tuesday night told the BBC they were facing disciplinary action for being late to work, while one said he had lost his job because of all the delays and cancellations.
Skip Twitter post by @LaurenLei
@GNRailUK @hitchincommuter helpful staff on the platform “whatever turns up, just get on one, think they make it up as the go along.. operational problems is just a lack of drivers” Well sign me up as I’m going to lose my job at this rate... #lateAGAIN ??— Lauren (@LaurenLei) May 30, 2018
End of Twitter post by @LaurenLei
Graphic designer Emma James tweeted that she was eight months pregnant and had to "stand for ages on platforms" and was late to work on a daily basis.Elizabeth Dennis, Labour councillor for Hitchin Walsworth, said the situation on the Great Northern line was "beyond shambolic", while commuter Amanda Croft said the "chaos was particularly difficult for passengers with disabilities".
Skip Twitter post by @theresaannd
Thanks a lot @TLRailUK. Was meant to be at @Gatwick_Airport by now but you’ve cancelled and delayed my trains. You’ve caused unnecessary stress to a pregnant woman today.— Theresa (@theresaannd) May 30, 2018
End of Twitter post by @theresaannd
Mr Grayling also criticised Network Rail, saying it "cannot cope" with the workload, and its performance was "simply unacceptable".
Skip Twitter post by @TIW_WarrenG
Got thrown off the 6.41am from Huntingdon this morning due to no driver to finish the journey to Horsham. then have to take a train to Moorgate and the barriers had no idea they should accept my ticket. I was an hour late for work!— Warren Gunn (@TIW_WarrenG) May 30, 2018
End of Twitter post by @TIW_WarrenG
He added: "We were aware there might be some disruption in the early stages of any new timetable change but the scale of the problem has far outstripped any expectation."He said he was now in "regular contact" with Network Rail and GTR to deal with the issues quickly.
Trains are frequently overloaded at stations such as Harpenden while other services are cancelled
However, Mr Trigg said he also blamed Mr Grayling and his department."Everyone I speak to from the train company is working extremely long hours trying to sort the problems out - but there's not enough of them," he said."The bid was put in with a very slim-line management team and that bid won, because that's what the DfT wanted - a cheap bid."They need to put the money into the network."A GTR spokesman said: "We apologise to passengers for the continued disruption linked to the introduction of the new timetable."We are working on a recovery plan with rail industry partners."A Network Rail spokesman said: "Late timetables have certainly not helped the recent events but there are many other factors across the industry involved and we are looking at understanding the root cause so that future changes can be implemented more smoothly."
Govia Thameslink Railway
King's Lynn
Rail transport
Great Northern Railway
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