Southern/Gatwick X Stakeholder Forum – Part 3

Presentation by Angie Doll , Passenger Services Director, Southern

The TSGN (Thameslink Southern Great Northern) franchise was constructed primarily to deliver the Thameslink project by 2018.

GTR has will benefit from 4 new train fleets comprising 1,398 coaches.

GTR continues with a major driver training programme, further details from Martin Greer presentation later.

The network is overwhelmed and any delay or incident creates major knock-on effects. Southern are working a joint initiative with NetworkRail (NWR) to improve performance in a number of areas; the recent £20m extra funding will be used as deemed most likely to deliver improvement.

NWR have created a rapid-response team to resolve issues and recruited extra signalling staff.

Various new Thameslink routes will give a major boost to Gatwick connectivity.

There has been a 32% increase in passenger growth (over what period?). 

The rail industry badly underestimated the impact of London Bridge rebuild which continues to impact all services. But “we are where we are” and must move forward as best as possible.

The LB rebuild is already showing benefits, but the work is only ½ complete.

Since July the staff sickness level has doubled, but a review of roles etc has enables a steady rebuild of timetables since mid-Sept and this is progressing.

Major causes of performance loss: NWR 6%, industrial relations 3.5%, fleet issues 2.5%

AD presented a time-graph showing dips etc in performance, but it was noted by BRAG that this was an overall picture that did not accurately represent the performance of specific routes. This was acknowledged.

GTR vs RMT

GTR has not helped by using incorrect terminology. The term DOO s/b DCO (but see later). 40% of the network is already DOO (didn’t that figure used to be 60%?). The RMT is concerned about proposals being “thin end of a wedge” but there is a franchise commitment for a second member of crew. 

(Now the fun starts).

There was an 8 minute video which is not available to the public “in case it gives the wrong impression”. This video was intended to give a this is what DOO does and how it will work’ insight, but if anything demonstrated that GTR do not understand the implications of what they are saying. Quote from within the video “DOO does not mean that there will not be a second crew member on board” and noted that the on-board-supervisor (OBS) role was critical for passengers and GTR. “OBS role is here to stay”. “It is our intention to deploy an OBS in normal circumstances”. (What is normal? Non-normal? An ‘intention’ is not a commitment.) 

Q&A

(SHRIMP) In view of different interpretations etc of DOO/DCO etc, do you accept that the last 6 mths has been an industrial and public relations disaster?

YES. We have not been clear with our intentions and must learn from the mistakes.

Why is the Abellio Scotrail agreement different and why cannot it be used as a template for agreement?

The AS-R agreement is for pure DCO. AS-R is playing catch-up with Southern , we want to take this forward to the next stage. (Which is…..?)

This was very confusing. We had DOO, DCO, DOO(P) and an unspecified ‘DCO next stage’ within a 30 mins period.  Confused? Join the club.

Depreciating local performance data is being masked by wider-geographic figures, a practice we rather hoped the industry and DfT was moving away from. It is unhelpful and fuels wider suspicion and distrust.

NOTE: There was another piece of (financial) info given, but we consider this to be commercially sensitive and will not release it.

Other documents will follow.