A train comes alongside the newly extended platform at Uckfield Railway Station.

Uckfield trains – good news on revised timetable and Govia executives get a grilling

Uckfield train line commuters received one piece of good news this week – most services will be unaffected by a revised timetable being brought in from Monday by train operator, Southern.

A map show the effect of the changes on the company’s network shows the Uckfield Line as “most Southern trains will run on this route, but please check before travelling”.

The Brighton Mainline is given a similar status, as are services to East Grinstead.

The Gatwick Express will run a reduced service.

Services along the south coast from Brighton will have a limited service with trains from Lewes to Seaford described as “very limited” with a rail replacement buses operating.

The reductions in services come as Southern grapples with staff shortages in the midst of a bitter industrial dispute with the RMT union over changing roles for conductors.

A statement by Southern said: “We understand the impact that the current unpredictable and often late-notice cancellations and delays have on your journeys and daily plans. While this continues, we will be unable to reliably operate the full timetable.

“In order to give you more certainty for your journey and enable you to better plan, we will implement an amended timetable on Mondays to Fridays that we will be able to operate more reliably. We are continuing to do everything possible to restore a full service as soon as we are able.

“Times of other operators’ services will be unaffected by the timetable change but some services may be busier than normal, so please allow more time for your journey. We are working with other transport operators to offer you alternatives where possible.”

Transport Select Committee grills Govia executives

• Govia Thameslink Railway executives were grilled yesterday by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee along with representatives of the RMT union.

Chief executive officer Charles Horton and chief operating officer Dyan Crowther were told by chair Louise Ellman that passengers were “very, very angry” because disruption on the service meant they couldn’t get to work, couldn’t get home to collect children, and some were losing jobs because they could no longer get to work on time.

Mr Horton said he was “extremely sorry” for for the poor service customers had experienced, particularly in the last few weeks.

He said the franchise was currently in a “difficult” phase. It was a difficult and challenging franchise to run anyway and industrial action by RMT conductors had added to the challenging circumstances inherent in the franchise.

The franchise had three significant tasks which were to introduce new trains, train a large number of additional drivers to drive those trains and to put in place a new service pattern in 2018 which would deliver improvements in service.

The company was accused of being “entirely unprepared” for the task when it took on the franchise but Mr Horton highlighted problems they had faced.

One was that the impact of the works at London Bridge was underestimated. Delays and cancellations had been much more significant than anyone had realised before the franchise started.

Chief operating officer Dyan Crowther said, for example, that delays of 10,000 minutes over the course of a year were expected but, in fact, there had been delays of 10,000 minutes in the course of a week.

Mr Horton said the company also had fewer drivers at the start of the franchise than anticipated. They expected to have 650 drivers but instead there were 607. To address the shortfall they had launched the UK’s biggest ever driver training programme but it took 14 months to train a driver and it was taking time to get the number they needed so that trains weren’t cancelled because of a shortage of drivers.

Watch the full committee meeting here. The Govia executives are questioned from about 10.48.

See also:

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Barney’s Playbarn remains closed today after flooding

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