England

Govia Thameslink Railway boss hit by 'occasional delays'

Charles Horton
Image caption Charles Horton said there were "lessons to be learned" over the new timetable

The boss of beleaguered rail firm Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has admitted being delayed by his own trains.

GTR, which runs Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern, was forced to cancel hundreds of trains following the introduction of new timetables in May.

About 230 daily services have now been removed from GTR's routes to make for a "more consistent [revised] timetable".

Charles Horton said: "I have been caught up in delays - I travel on our trains every single day."

The GTR chief executive said: "Like most people who travel on Thameslink and Great Northern there have been occasional delays in the past few weeks.

"Some trains have run on time and others haven't. I'm sorry about that."

Image copyright Stephen Noble, Tom Bitcliffe, Kieran Trafford
Image caption Rail commuters have faced major disruption

Mr Horton said planning for the new timetables, which should have taken several months, had been "squeezed into a couple of weeks".

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced compensation for commuters and an inquiry into what went wrong, saying there had been "major failures".

Mr Horton said: "We have to get to the root of the problem and make sure lessons are learned."

'Better timetables'

He rejected claims the company did not have enough drivers to work the new timetable.

"We have sufficient drivers, but where drivers are available to run these services is mismatched," Mr Horton said.

"Better timetables delivering progressive improvements would be introduced from the summer onwards."

Britain's rail timetable is updated twice a year but May's update included more changes than normal in an attempt to improve punctuality and account for extra services and capacity.

The timing of all GTR and most Northern trains was changed, but all new journeys had to be individually approved by Network Rail.

Northern also brought in a temporary revised timetable removing 165 daily train services until 29 July.

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