Charles Horton, CEO of the Govia Thameslink rail company, has announced his resignation moments ago, citing ‘hugely frustrating’ rail delays. The operator’s services have been in chaos after recent timetable changes.
The news comes one working day before a parliamentary enquiry scheduled for Monday:
The disaster of rail privatisation continues to unravel, just days after the government again had to intervene in the East Coast franchise. A whistleblower spoke on BBC radio yesterday about training issues he said had led to the GTR meltdown:
TSSA transport union General Secretary Manuel Cortes said:
This really is not before time. We’ve seen at least two years of passenger protests against the rail chaos at Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern and instead of offering reasonable solutions, Horton has never taken responsibility, but blamed unions and anyone else he could think of other than himself. The announcement has come from the GTR Comms team and circulated via email to staff, rather than the press release we might have expected, so I’m not sure how planned this resignation was?
This resignation really should mark the beginning of the end of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. Horton is part of his misnamed leadership team. I shed no tears for him but if he’s admitting defeat for the biggest and longest disruption to rail timetables in peacetime history, then it’s because the system is beyond redemption. He’s fallen on his sword. It’s time Grayling fell on his. But May’s weak and wobbly government is the weaker and the wobblier the longer she lets him cling to power.
Meanwhile, also today the company have been invited to attend an inquiry into the serious failings of GTR which will take place on Monday. I don’t think this is a coincidence.
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