Probe launched into railway timetable chaos in West Norfolk
An inquiry has been launched to look into the chaos caused to passengers following the introduction of a new timetable by West Norfolk’s main train operator.
Last week, Govia Thameslink (GTR), the parent company of Great Northern which runs most Lynn to London services, issued a joint statement with Network Rail apologising for the disruption caused by the new schedule, introduced last month.
More services have been cut. Now, the government has ordered an investigation into what went wrong and vowed that passengers will be compensated for the delays.
In a statement to MPs on Monday, transport secretary Chris Grayling said he would take enforcement action against the operator, including potentially considering its fitness to hold a franchise, if necessary.
But, despite calls for him to resign amid accusations he was not taking responsibility for the crisis, the move has been welcomed by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss.
She said the industry had to be challenged for its failure to deliver both reliable services and the long-awaited longer trains on the route.
She said: “Rail travellers in West Norfolk are experiencing delays and cancellations that are simply not acceptable.
“Last year I raised my concerns about the new timetable with the Transport Secretary, and I will continue to ensure that decisive action is taken to improve the service for passengers.”
She added: “Standing room only is not what I want to see on the Fen Line and combined with longer journey times, cancellations and replacement bus services – Network Rail and the train operating companies must be held to account.
“I am glad the Secretary of State has committed to do this.”
A GTR spokesman said yesterday: “We welcome the inquiry and will cooperate fully. The industry as a whole undoubtedly has lessons to learn from what has happened.”
The company has also confirmed it has cut 230 trains from its current schedules, around six per cent of its daily total, but has not said how many services to and from Lynn are affected.
It also plans to introduce a temporary timetable from July, which it says will “target trains where they are most needed, and progressively deliver improvement.
The spokesman added: “We apologise sincerely for the significant disruption being experienced by passengers.”