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Government Must Act To Prevent Repeat of Timetable Chaos

27 February 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has urged immediate Government action after MPs warned of more problems relating to the timetabling of trains later this year.

A report from the Public Accounts Committee said passengers face “another difficult year” with even more timetable changes due later this year.

The Committee has said Government management must improve "considerably" ahead of the changes this May to avert a repeat of what they described as "significant financial and emotional costs" suffered by passengers in 2018.

Commenting, TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “Timetable changes last year heralded Britain’s biggest rail crisis in decades. It was the worst rail disruption since the Second World War.

“So I welcome this report and it’s not the first from MPs questioning Chris Failing Grayling over the events last year. A report published by the regulator Office of Rail and Road (ORR) in September said ‘no-one took charge’ during the travel chaos.

“All this was totally shameful. This report is clear – the Government must act now to prevent a repeat of the unprecedented disruption on the railways.

“They will not be forgiven if they again inflict misery on the millions of people who rely on our rail network day in day out.

“As Keith Williams, the person brought in by Chris Failing Grayling to conduct the umpteenth review into our crisis ridden railways, has already said, the rail franchsing process is broken.

“So it's completely inescapable that we need our railways back in public hands if in future we are to avoid more of what the Committee rightly calls ‘the year from hell’.”

In May 2018 Govia Thameslink Railway and Northern failed to operate 780 trains on average each day after new timetables were introduced, while other services were "significantly delayed and overcrowded", MPs said.

Further significant timetable changes are planned for May 2019, amid increased amounts of maintenance work and major improvement projects.

Last May timetable changes which affected 46% of all services.

The MPs report found it caused "unprecedented disruption" for weeks across the south-east and north of England.

Other services were "significantly delayed and overcrowded".

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