September 22 2016

Government to offer financial support to Southern rail

The government has pledged support to help revive the privately run Southern rail network. They have promised financial help to increase jobs for station support staff, improvements to the rail line and emergency maintenance.

In the announcement, the government said it would provide £20 million to help improve services on the Southern rail network. In the last few months, passengers on the service have suffered through numerous strikes, cancellations and delays. The money from the government is expected to increase the number of regional rail jobs – particularly crews used to fix ongoing problems on the line, as well as speed up the replacement of older portions of the track. The money could also be used to add staff at busy stations, the Department for Transport said in announcing the move.

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“I want the Southern network to be run by a team of people who work together to make sure passengers get decent journeys and that problems are dealt with quickly,” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told The Telegraph.

“This review will suggest how we achieve a joined-up approach to running the train and tracks and make things work better for the public.

“We also need to get to grips with things that go wrong on this part of the network. That is why we are putting in place a £20 million scheme to tackle the cause of breakdowns that too often cause frustrating and damaging delays on the network.

“I now urge the industry, the train operating company and unions to work together to improve services for passengers,” Grayling said.

Various strikes on Southern’s service in August compounded to frustrations that included months of delays and cancellations for commuters. In July, in an effort to maintain their timetable more efficiently, Southern slashed 15 per cent of its weekly services.

Southern rail – best known for connecting London with Brighton, Gatwick Airport and South East England – is part of the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) organisation, Britain's largest train operator. It is a joint venture owned by London-listed Go-Ahead and France's Keolis.

Image Credit: Matt Buck (


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