GTR chief Hor­ton apol­o­gises for Red­hill bus over­crowd­ing

Rail (UK) - - Network News -

Govia Thames­link Rail­way Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Charles Hor­ton has apol­o­gised for high lev­els of over­crowd­ing at Red­hill sta­tion on Fe­bru­ary 25, which left hun­dreds of pas­sen­gers queu­ing for rail re­place­ment bus ser­vices.

Speak­ing at the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee hear­ing into rail fran­chis­ing on Fe­bru­ary 26, Hor­ton ex­plained: “We had en­gi­neer­ing works yes­ter­day at Red­hill sta­tion. It was slightly un­usual, be­cause we had all lines stopped on the Brighton main lines. All four lines were not op­er­at­ing.

“We had a plan to op­er­ate buses from Red­hill to des­ti­na­tions south of Red­hill, in­clud­ing Gatwick Air­port. We found that the road con­ges­tion and the dif­fi­culty of get­ting buses to cir­cle around the routes we had planned meant that we were un­able to get suf­fi­cient buses to Red­hill sta­tion to al­low the pas­sen­gers to move in rea­son­able time. I have apol­o­gised ab­so­lutely for that.”

Hor­ton promised ac­tion to re­solve the is­sues in fu­ture en­gi­neer­ing pos­ses­sions, and of­fered com­pen­sa­tion for pas­sen­gers, say­ing: “We are do­ing two things. Firstly, we have had an ur­gent re­view to­day of our plans for next week­end and the week­end af­ter, when we have sim­i­lar en­gi­neer­ing works, and we are putting in place re­vised plans as a re­sult of those re­views and the les­sons learned from to­day. We are work­ing closely with Net­work Rail on that.

“Se­condly, we are mak­ing it clear to pas­sen­gers who suf­fered such in­con­ve­nience yes­ter­day that we want them to get in touch with us. We will be giv­ing them com­pen­sa­tion. Where peo­ple have suf­fered fur­ther losses as a re­sult of be­ing in queues for such a long pe­riod of time, we will en­sure that they are not out of pocket as a re­sult.”

The RMT union de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as “dan­ger­ous chaos”. Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Mick Cash said: “RMT has been warn­ing for years that South­ern/GTR aren’t fit to run a bath, let alone a rail­way. The ter­ri­fy­ing pic­tures from Red­hill to­day show why it is such a scan­dal that the union has been ig­nored.

“This is a com­pany that has shown re­peat­edly that pub­lic safety is of lit­tle or no con­cern to them. That is why our mem­bers on South­ern have been en­gaged in a fight with GTR for nearly two years now.

“GTR should be stripped of this fran­chise and the pub­lic sec­tor brought in be­fore there’s a ma­jor tragedy.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.