Thursday 24 May 2018

GTR & Northern Trains Meltdown

As has been widely publicised by some, and kept extraordinarily quiet by others, this week has been a nightmare if you are a commuter on Southern, Great Northern, Northern Trains, and especially Thameslink. The introduction of the most comprehensive timetable change in decades has seen a huge number of cancellations, delays, short terminations and massive overcrowding.

The rail industry's response has been lamentable. Passengers - who pay their wages - have been kept in the dark, not knowing what trains are going to run from one day to the next. The mainstream media was all over it for a couple of days - except for those poor souls in the North, but most of them were going for the sensationalist stuff more than highlighting the real problems. The industry media have collectively caught laryngitis. not wanting to upset their mates on the inside.

On top of this the utter contempt shown by GTR towards the disabled (no train must be delayed due to the boarding of a wheelchair) has been downright inhuman. It has highlighted what everyone, including your humble blogger, has been saying in that removing the guards from trains has a much bigger impact then simply who presses the "doors close" button.

So this page is for those caught up in this utter chaos this week to have a voice - relate your experiences, so that I, and others, can force those who are in charge to look at your accounts and do the decent thing and make changes so the passenger is put first.

I will only approve comments relevant to this topic, and appropriate to be read by all. This is important to a lot of people. It needs to become important to a whole lot more.


  1. The Chaos Continuous

    On day one of the new Emergency timetable on Northern Rail with well over a hundred train cancelled and that on a reduced timetable. On the other companies it was little better

    In my view it can only be down to a total failure of management. I have worked on implementing critical systems (Nothing at all to do with rail though) and you have what is termed a Readiness Report and you don't implement until every function involved has signed it off to say they are ready to implement. Clearly this does not seem to have happened. You expect some teething problem's and have staff ready to deal with those minor issues. You have also the Plan B which is if in spite of all your checks etc it goes horribly wrong you cut back to the old system
    I am staggered that this has been allowed to go on for weeks now with no improvement at all and no real admission to why it has gone horribly wrong and not with just one line but all of them. Does Network Rail have something to do with it? I don't know but it appear to be the only common thing with all these lines

  2. Network Rail are in change of the tracks and signalling, and they say how many trains can use the tracks and where they can go. They are not responsible for timetables to the best of my knowledge. I thought that was done between the operating company and DfT. However, with everyone blaming everyone else it's difficult to know who, exactly, is responsible for what!

    1. That's potentially a problem area. You have network rail controlling the track and signally and having a great deal of control over capacity and routing but the various TOC's producing the timetables which potentially gives plenty of opportunities for things to go very wrong. You really need just one group producing, timetables for all the TOC's that way you can ensure the timetables are robust and workable

    2. As it happens I think I've got it wrong. It seems NR do do the timetables - 450 of them I'm told, but they, in turn follow instructions from DfT, who change their mind more often than I do when deciding what to have for tea.

    3. And when you have the track shared with multiple operators as with Thameslink it is very difficult to see how timetables can be scheduled sensibly by multiple companies. It can probably work or at least should if only one TOC is using the tracks