Following my earlier post on the delays and cancellations on the Great Northern line, I have now received a response to my letter from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) with their explanation for the delays to the service. You can read the letter here.
The letter explains that the poor performance is a result of on-going issues with driver vacancies that are being exacerbated by annual leave. In order to address this issue, GTR are running the UK’s largest driving recruitment and training programme and have 88 trainees in the system. In addition to this, GTR have said that they will be replacing trains to improve reliability but these will not be coming into service until late spring of 2018. There are plans to increase the frequency of trains during weekday off-peak times and at weekends to 4 trains per hour by December 2018.
I also asked about the outcome of the recent consultation on the proposed ticket office closures. GTR have committed that in light of the responses to the consultation, all tickets an railcards that are currently available will continue to be and Station Hosts will have access to ticket office equipment on the concourse allowing them to assist with a ticket purchase if not available from a ticket vending machine. These changes will be soft launched at 8-9 stations in the summer and GTR will welcome feedback from passengers, staff and stakeholders. GTR have informed me that talks are continuing with the trade unions regarding the plans, including staff training, safety and access to the correct technology to carry out the role. GTR have committed to all these and stated that no staff will lose their job or see a reduction in salary. GTR have also informed me that talks are continuing with accessibility groups and key stakeholders on how to improve the service for those with accessibility needs. You can see the updated proposals for stations in Enfield and Haringey here.
I will continue to keep an eye on the progress of the performance of the Great Northern line and see how the soft launch of the changes to ticket offices progress this summer. Please do get in touch if you have any comments or concerns about either of these issues.