Compensation pledged for rail timetable chaos

6 Jun 18

Commuters will be compensated for “unacceptable” rail disruptions following the chaotic overhaul of timetables last month, the transport secretary has promised MPs.

The Department for Transport will also launch an inquiry into the ongoing timetable failures, Chris Grayling told the Commons.

He said Govia Thameslink Railway and Northern rail services had provided a “totally unsatisfactory level of service” that caused “unacceptable disruption” for passengers.

“There has to be a special compensation scheme for passenger on affected routes in the case of both GTR and Northern.

“It needs to be introduced and funded by the industry.”

The shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “Here we go again, yet another chapter in the never-ending story of our troubled railways.”

Last month, Grayling was forced to temporarily bring the East Coast Mainline back under state control.

McDonald criticised Grayling’s leadership on the matter as being “asleep at the wheel” and called for his resignation, adding that if the prime minister was “not so enfeebled” he would have been sacked.

Grayling endured criticism from both sides of the house – the Conservative MP for Mid Sussex described problems caused by the recent timetabling changes as “an absolute disaster”, adding that “people’s private lives are being destroyed.”

The chair of the transport committee Lilian Greenwood, who will lead the inquiry on the failures, said: “We want to unpick this mess and understand how it can be prevented from occurring in December, when another timetable change is due.”

The Public Accounts Committee previously found England’s major rail franchises to be “completely inadequate”.

Read Christian Wolmar’s blog Are the railways getting there or hitting the buffers?

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