Letter for publication : Thameslink and Great Northern rail failures

Dear editor,

The chaotic introduction of the Thameslink and Great Northern new commuter routes timetable shows just how much an already bad service can get even worse.

In the meantime Conservative  MP Mr Offord,  the Chair of the Thameslink  All Party Parliamentary Group,  has strangely kept his head well down. This is also the MP who welcomed the award of the Thameslink  franchise to Govia,  promising at the time that the service would improve- yet the exact opposite has happened ever since they started.

While the Secretary of State Chris Grayling MP blames everyone except himself (though he signed off on the new timetable scheme), perhaps he should also reflect on the Conservative Government’s promise made before the 2016 London elections to transfer the commuter lines to TfL, which after the elections he broke  because of his desire to ‘keep commuter lines out of the clutches of a future Labour Mayor’.’  It is not as if the lines in the  ‘clutches’ of the Conservatives have got any better , with this chaos hard on the heels of the renationalisation, yet again, of the East Coast Mainline which the Conservatives  had unsuccessfully and unnecessarily  privatised yet  again, when it was running well under public ownership.

TfL have had remarkable success turning round the commuter rail lines which have been transferred to them, like the London Overground. It is time for the Government to accept finally this is no way to run a railway. They should strip Govia of the franchises and honour their pledge to transfer the lines to TfL without further delay.


Andrew Dismore

London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden