Letter: Modernising the region’s railway

Keith Taylor MEP repeats a number of misunderstandings about the Govia Thameslink rail franchise in his letter.

Contrary to RMT union claims, there was no ‘taxpayer hand-out’. Under our contract with the Department for Transport, we pass all money from ticket sales on to the Government. Because of industrial action, ticket sales went down by an estimated £22 million, so the Government received that much less from passengers than it would otherwise have done.

Mr Taylor claims we have made a ‘huge profit’; in fact we have incurred a small loss in the first three years of the contract.

We have not tried to cut costs by ‘understaffing trains’.

Since we made the improvements a year ago that are still opposed by the RMT union, we are now running more trains with more safety-trained staff, who have more time for passenger service, support and security. We are also delivering the UK’s biggest ever driver recruitment and training programme.

We continue to focus on modernising the region’s railway with new trains, routes and working practices, and we are confident that our trailblazing achievements will be felt by rail travellers for generations to come.

Charles Horton

Chief Executive, Govia Thameslink Railway, Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne

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