Southern and Thameslink boss resigns

Charles Horton, Chief Executive Officer, Govia Thameslink Railway, speaking at the House of Commons Transport Select Committtee in 2016 (from parliament.tv). SUS-160507-111900001
Charles Horton, Chief Executive Officer, Govia Thameslink Railway, speaking at the House of Commons Transport Select Committtee in 2016 (from parliament.tv). SUS-160507-111900001

The boss running Southern and Thameslink services has resigned, it was announced today.

Charles Horton, chief executive officer at Govia Thameslink Railway, has previously apologised for delays experienced by passengers since new timetables were introduced last month.

The company has been beleaguered by problems since late 2015 and has been locked in a bitter dispute with the RMT union for more than two years over the further extension of driver-only operation on Southern services.

Throughout 2016 and into 2017 journeys were severely disrupted by repeated delays and cancellations.

Mr Horton is due to step down as CEO.

He said: “I recognise that passengers have been hugely frustrated at the significant disruption caused by the introduction of new timetables.

“It is the right time to hand leadership of GTR to a new pair of hands. I am immensely proud of my team and I would like to thank my 7,000 colleagues at GTR for all their hard work over the past four years.”

David Brown, group chief executive of Go-Ahead which is GTR’s parent company, said: “I would like to thank Charles for his hard work with Govia for the past 15 years. Under often challenging conditions, he has built a team to deliver the largest railway change programme for decades, on a franchise that is not only the UK’s biggest, but which has also has seen the highest passenger growth.

“We are committed to working with the Department for Transport and Network Rail to address recent problems and to deliver a reliable, punctual service for passengers.”

In light of the news the RMT union is repeating its call for the Government to strip GTR of its management contract to run services.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: “The Horton resignation opens the door for the this sorry chapter to be brought to a close and that means sweeping GTR away and returning the services to public ownership with safety , access and quality the guiding priorities.”

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