Thameslink hits a new low with seven hour service gap
The shambolic introduction of Thameslink service has hit a new low today. According to RealTimeTrains, there has been no Thameslink service to Medway in Kent on the Greenwich and Woolwich line for seven hours, with no train along the line leaving Farringdon since 11:07.
One was due to run leaving Farringdon at 18:07 but hasn’t left Luton so doesn’t look like it’s running.
And according to RealTimeTrains, many trains have simply vanished from the time table. The 15:07 was listed as cancelled and then nothing shows until the 18:07 (which looks to not be running).
Does this wholesale removal make stats look better? Well, less dire.
These service removal has cut 33% of trains per hour at stations from Deptford to Westcombe Park. It’s also left stations in Kent such as Higham completely without a service.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling came out yesterday and tried to pin almost all blame on Network Rail. They’ve made some errors but did finish London Bridge rebuild work on time.
The overwhelming flaw is driver numbers, lack of training and trains. And that has been known for years with the Department for Transport letting a direct concession to GoVia to operate Thameslink, unlike most franchises.
Thameslink are reliant on drivers working long overtime hours and even then do not have enough staff. Other frontline staff have faced a barrage of criticism from passengers since the flawed introduction and one wonders what affect it’s having on them.
Thameslink chief Charles Horton must also shoulder much criticism. His lack of communication will be well know to Southeastern passengers, where he worked for years before being promoted (!) to Thameslink.
He has been watching the May 2018 start date for years. There’s no way he could not have known the severe shortcomings.
Neither show any sign of resigning. Yet as this London Reconnections article points out, the electoral damage could be large. The Tories have a long standing issue with votes in urban centres and cities, and Teresa May just does not appear to “get” housing and transport.
Transport many not be in top five issues nationwide, but in cities its far more prominent. How long will Tories in London and the Home Counties (and northern cities which have a similar shambles right now) watch on as Grayling throws votes away?
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