Tag Archives: Govia Thameslink

Unblocking the Croydon bottleneck – public consultation

From Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership

Network Rail are developing major proposals to upgrade the Brighton Main Line – one of the most congested routes in the country –  to provide more reliable, faster and more frequent services on the line and its branches.

Key to the upgrade are proposals to remove the most challenging bottleneck on Britain’s railway network at the ‘Selhurst triangle’ and East Croydon station as part of proposals for the East Croydon to Selhurst Junction Capacity Enhancement Scheme.

To check out the plans, the Brighton consultation will be on:

Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 December 2018 – The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD, 4.00-8.00pm.

The proposals

To unblock the Croydon bottleneck and provide more reliable, more frequent and faster services we are developing proposals to provide:

An expanded and enhanced East Croydon station

A rebuilt station with two additional platforms, a larger concourse with improved facilities for passengers and better connections with the town centre and other transport links, supporting the ongoing regeneration of central Croydon. These new station works would also be designed to allow for new offices and homes to be built above the new station in the future.

‘Selhurst triangle’ remodelling

We would improve track layouts north of East Croydon station and remodel the junctions at the ‘Selhurst triangle’, by removing the existing junctions and building new flyovers and dive-unders.

Lower Addiscombe Road/Windmill Bridge reconstruction

To remodel ‘Selhurst triangle’ junctions and provide more platforms at East Croydon station we would need to expand the railway from five to seven tracks north of East Croydon station. This would require the current bridge over the railway to be rebuilt to provide space for the two additional tracks.

Other proposed work

Our proposals for the ‘Selhurst triangle’ and East Croydon station (East Croydon to Selhurst Junction Capacity Enhancement Scheme) would support planned works. This includes works at Norwood Junction station to reconfigure the tracks to enable more trains to run, increase station capacity and provide step-free access to all platforms at the station.

Please note that we are not consulting on planned works to the existing railway.  These works are within the railway boundary and will be carried out under existing permitted development rights.

What Are The Benefits?

More reliable journeys

By improving track layouts, remodelling the ‘Selhurst triangle’ and constructing two new tracks and two new platforms at East Croydon station, we would remove the bottleneck which causes delays and disruption, improving the punctuality of services.

Faster journeys

More tracks and remodelled junctions would also mean we would be able to speed up some services through the area.

More services

Once we deliver our proposals to unblock the Croydon bottleneck to improve the reliability of existing services, we would then be able work with train operators to consider running more trains.

A boost to the regional and national economy

As the main route connecting the capital with Gatwick Airport and the south coast improving the Brighton Main Line will provide a significant boost to the regional and national economy.

An expanded and enhanced East­ Croydon station

We would increase concourse space, provide new entrances and transform passenger facilities.  The work would allow above the station to be developed in the future.

Benefits of our wider plans

While we are not consulting on our plans for Norwood Junction station, as these proposed works are within the railway boundary, we would deliver more train and passenger capacity and step-free access to all platforms at the station as part of our wider plans.

Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO)

Our proposals for removing the Croydon bottleneck as part of the East Croydon to Selhurst Junction Capacity Enhancement Scheme requires work to take place outside the railway boundary.

Where we are proposing to use land or build outside the railway boundary, we must prepare an application for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) from the Secretary of State for Transport. If permission is given we would have the necessary powers to undertake the work.

We are now consulting with the public, stakeholders and the wider rail industry and the feedback will help inform our proposals.  We will then seek permission to deliver our proposals through a TWAO application.

Work taking place within the railway boundary, including works at Norwood Junction station, would be constructed by Network Rail under our permitted development rights.

Contact Us

For more information on the proposals you can e-mail at CARS@networkrail.co.uk

You can also call Network Rail’s National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or contact us @NetworkRailSE

Update from Govia Thameslink Railway and Network Rail

From Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership

Interim timetable update

The first two weeks of the interim timetable on Thameslink and Great Northern routes have gone positively; we’ve delivered a more reliable service with far fewer delays and cancellations, which in turn has improved our overall service to our customers.

Prioritising peak-time services continues to be our main focus. There’s still a lot of work to do and we’ve had to deal with some issues which are covered in more detail below.

At the beginning of next week, when the interim timetable will have been in place for two full weeks, we will review and provide you with PPM data comparing current performance with the level preceding the May timetable change. We will also provide some commentary on what operational and infrastructure issues have been happening, to give some context to the figures.

Additional compensation

The qualifying period for the additional industry compensation scheme ends on 28 July; as well as ticket acceptance on other services. Phase one of the compensation scheme will launch at the end of August when we will get in touch with customers who we believe are entitled to compensation based on data that we hold for annual and monthly season ticket holders.

When the automated process is complete, those who have not been contacted but believe they are due to receive additional compensation will be able to apply in phase 2. Applications will be made via a dedicated online additional compensation web form where you will be requested to provide evidence of the season ticket(s) held between 20 May 2018 and 28 July 2018. Before phase one commences we have to undertake a huge piece of work to identify who is eligible from our season ticket database and online sales records.

Delay Repay

The implementation of the May timetables caused significant disruption to customers across Thameslink and Great Northern. To address this we encouraged customers to claim on either the intended 20 May timetable or the service of the day. As the service is now more stable and providing more reliability for passengers we will return to the industry standard approach for delay repay from the 30 July.

Up to and on 29 July

Customers will still be able to claim for services travelled up to and on 29 July on the original May timetables or on the plan of the day

30 July onwards

However, if a claim is put in for travelling on or after 30 July, it will only be valid on the timetable we are advertising and operating on the day of travel. More information can be found here.

Hot weather

As the hot weather continues we encourage people to plan ahead and always carry water. Water is available at our major stations. When rails are in direct sunshine which can be as much as 20°C hotter than air temperature, they expand as they get hotter, and can start to curve – known as ‘buckling’. This is because they are made from steel.

When this happens Network Rail may have to introduce speed restrictions or occasionally have to close the track to allow engineers to attend on site. More information can be found here.

Brighton Pride

Next week we look ahead to Brighton Pride taking place between 3-5 August. We absolutely understand how important this is for the local community and economy. Both GTR and Network Rail have internal teams in place, which have been carrying out planning for events to be held locally celebrating Pride and what it means to people, as well as operational logistics for some time. We are running late night trains to get as many revellers home as possible.

Over the weekend, trains to, from and through Brighton, Hove and Preston Park are expected to be very busy.

We’re asking customers to:

  • Travel outside peak times where possible and allow extra time for their journeys as they may have to queue
  • Travel earlier in the evening if possible as the last trains of the day are expected to be particularly busy
  • Purchase tickets in advance where possible as there are expected to be long queues at ticket offices and ticket machines during the event
  • Re-check their journey immediately before travelling for any on-the-day alterations

As a crowd control measure:

  • Preston Park station will be closed all day on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August
  • London Road (Brighton) will be closed from 12 noon on Saturday and all day Sunday

Full details are available at https://www.southernrailway.com/travel-information/plan-your-journey/brighton-pride 
Engineering works between Lewes to Seaford engineering works

Network Rail will be undertaking engineering signalling works between Lewes – Seaford from 18 – 28 August 2018, closing the line between the two stations. Trains will still run between Brighton and Lewes with a replacement bus service 10 minutes in the peak and 15 in the off-peak stopping at all stations to Seaford.

Posters are on display at affected stations, and more information will be added to Southern’s website and on National Rail Enquiries next week. During the closure, staff will be on hand at all the station to assist passengers and provide water. More information can be found here.

 

The Office of Rail & Road has published today its initial findings after beginning its investigation into the May timetable changes. More details can be read here. Please click here for Network Rail’s response.

For further information contact or email gtr.stakeholders@gtrailway.com.

RMT announce new January 2018 strike on Southern trains

From The Argus

Commuters are due to face disruption with the announcement of another train strike in the new year.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out on January 8 as part of a long-running dispute over the role of guards and driver-only trains.

The union said it had made “every single effort” to resolve the bitter disputes, which it insisted were about safety.

The strikes will cause fresh problems for passengers, days after rail fares increase.

It also falls on the same day Brighton and Hove Albion play Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup at the Amex stadium in Falmer.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action.

“No one should be in any doubt. These disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies

“It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England.

“This suspension of normal industrial relations by the employers has to end if we are to make progress towards a solution that guarantees safe rail travel for all.”

Mr Cash said the Government should lift its “blockade” on talks in the separate disputes to allow the union to negotiate “freely” with the companies.

Andy Bindon, Human Resources Director at Govia Thameslink Railway, parent company of Southern, said: “We are very disappointed by today’s announcement of a further RMT strike in the New Year.

“Their decision is even more regrettable as it comes on the same day that we had invited them to talks in the hope of reaching a resolution to their long-running dispute.

“We ask them to call off the strike and come to the negotiating table as we have suggested on many occasions.”

Government paying Govia Thameslink £38m for ‘disastrous’ performance

From Brighton & Hove News

The Department for Transport (DfT) is paying £38 million to train company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) despite “disastrous outcomes” over the past year.

The payment is flagged up in a critical report by the House of Commons Transport Committee which spells out shortcomings in the official handling of railway franchises.

The cross-party committee of MPs said that the DfT had “failed to take responsibility for some of the failings in handling the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise”.

Louise Ellman, who chairs the committee, said: “The government has serious lessons to learn from the management of the TSGN franchise.

“Our committee exposed serious deficiencies in the department’s monitoring and enforcement of this franchise which has already led to a change of policy on performance reporting.

“This can only help to hold serially underperforming operators like GTR to proper account.

“If GTR is officially found to be in breach of contract – and the committee is still pushing ministers for an answer on this – the Department for Transport should consider restructuring the franchise.”

Click here for the full story.

Damning report slams Southern Railway management for poor performance

From The Argus

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Trains are in such a bad state on the Southern network that the contract would normally be pulled at this stage, MPs have recognised.

In a damning report on rail services published today, the House of Commons Transport Committee said Govia Thameslink Railway had cancelled far too many trains and criticised the company for not supplying information quick enough.

The Government committee has been considering whether GTR is now in default of its contractual obligations and has slammed the network over its performance.

“The proportion of services cancelled on GTR’s network is now substantially in excess of the default level. In normal circumstances, this would be grounds for termination of the contract,” they said.

They added: “Should the company be in default, the Department for Transport (DfT) must take the opportunity to restructure or terminate the agreement and deliver services in a more effective way for passengers. “The Committee concludes that the DfT’s claim that “no other operator” could do a better job in the circumstances is no longer credible.”

It added that its scrutiny of Govia’s performance was made more difficult by lack of access to essential information.

Drawing on evidence from rail passengers, the report was published as Southern services were returning to normal after a three day strike by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) in a bitter dispute over the role of conductors.

A further 11 days of strikes are planned until early December.

Louise Ellman, who chairs the committee, said rail passengers were too often badly served.

She said: “The individual voices of customers suffering woeful service on Southern Railway, in particular, came through loud and clear during our inquiry.

“GTR, RMT and the Government are all culpable to some extent for the prolonged dispute, but passengers have borne the brunt.”

Charles Horton, chief executive of Govia, said while the company had not got “everything right in the past two years” it was making improvements.

He added: “Our passengers have already seen 400 new vehicles on our network in the past two years across the GTR franchise, extended smart card technology across our network and delivered nearly 250 of our obligations under our franchise agreement.

“While performance is still way below where we want it to be, it’s good that the constraints of the redevelopment of London Bridge have been acknowledged and, also, the fact that performance was beginning to improve before the start of the dispute with the RMT. ”

He added the company had co-operated fully with requests for information to back up its claim for special circumstances.

A DfT spokesman said cancelling GTR’s contract would not address the issues.

But Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “This report is an indictment of the failure of rail privatisation and the Government’s record on Southern railways which have resulted in daily chaos and misery for passengers.

“The report rightly argues that in any normal circumstances there would be grounds for GTR to have its contract terminated and RMT is calling again for this failed franchise to be taken into public ownership as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, new data showed only three in four Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) trains arrived on time between August 21 and September 17 this year, with almost one in 10 cancelled or arriving more than 30 minutes late, Network Rail figures show.

GTR runs four services: Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express.

Jacqueline Starr, of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train companies, said: “Train companies are already giving customers better information, particularly when there is disruption, and developing smarter types of ticket that are simpler to buy and use, but we know that we have to do more for our passengers.

“It’s important to remember that we have a successful railway – Europe’s safest and fastest growing – with thousands more services and passenger numbers having doubled in the last 20 years.”

RMT urges Southern guards to take new role

From Brighton & Hove News

conductors-strike

The RMT union has urged train guards to take the new onboard supervisor roles being offered by Southern.

But the union has insisted that the three-day strike due to start on Tuesday 11 October will go ahead.

Southern welcomed the RMT’s new advice to members and called on union leaders to call off the “pointless” strike.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Despite the company spin there is no climb down from the union.

“Our dispute remains on and the fight for safety continues despite the bullying and threats from Southern.

“We have a duty to issue our members with clear legal advice that protects their position in the teeth of the threat of mass sackings. That is what we have done.”

Mr. Cash said that the union wanted to return to the arbitration and conciliation service ACAS for talks about the long-running dispute.

But, he said, the union had been rebuffed by bosses from Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

Southern said that it would run more than six out of ten services during the strike this week – more trains than it ran during previous strikes.

For the full story click here.

RMT announces five new dates for strikes on Southern

From The Argus

rmt

Southern Railway workers are to stage 14 days of strike action in five blocks from next month in the long running dispute over the role of conductors.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union announced an escalation of industrial action which will bring fresh travel chaos for hundreds of thousands of passengers.

The strikes will start on October 11 and will be held intermittently until December 8.

The union has held a series of walkouts in recent months in protest against changes to the role of conductors at Southern, which is owned by Govia Thameslink Railway.

Conductors are to take strike action by not booking on for any shifts between:

• 00.01 on Tuesday 11th October and 23.59 on Thursday 13th October

• 00.01 on Tuesday 18th October and 23.59 on Thursday 20th October

• 00.01 on Thursday 3rd November and 23.59 on Saturday 5th November

• 00.01 on Tuesday 22nd November and 23.59 on Wednesday 23rd November

• 00.01 on Tuesday 6th December and 23.59 on Thursday 8th December.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said in a statement: “Yet again our members are being forced to take industrial action in a bid to maintain a safe and secure service on Southern.

Govia Thameslink and the government have made it clear that they have no interest in resolving this dispute.

“Instead they have begun the process of bulldozing through the drive towards wholesale Driver Only Operation (DOO) without agreement and without any concern for the impact on safety, security and disability access.

“Last week there was a train derailment near Watford that involved two trains.

“The guards on both trains played a vital role in protecting the passengers and the trains in what were extremely frightening circumstances.

“If the train had been DOO and without a guard the consequences would have been far worse.

“This week we reached a deal with Scotrail that we are recommending for acceptance in a referendum of our members, that guarantees a fully competent conductor/guard on every new train.

“This agreement protects passengers, and guarantees a second safety trained member of staff on board a train, who can assist if there is an incident such as we recently saw near Watford.

“If an agreement can be reached on Scotrail, then an agreement can also be made on Southern.

“In the light of these recent developments it is disgraceful that neither the company or the Government are prepared to engage and are continuing to attempt to impose DOO in the interests of putting profit before safety.

“We call on them to get round the negotiating table as an urgent priority.”

GTR’s Passenger Services Director Angie Doll said in a statement: “The RMT’s desire to heap yet further travel misery on the public and affect the everyday lives of so many people is shameful.