The new timetable across Govia Thameslink Railway commenced on Sunday 20 May 2018 and there have been wholly unsatisfactory levels of disruption on those rail services since then. A combination of delayed Network Rail infrastructure works and reduced time to plan a modified timetable meant that the new timetable was finalised much too late to permit adequate logistical planning for the timetable changes. I am determined both that the problems are dealt with as quickly as possible, and that this is not repeated in the future.
I am also clear that the way timetabling is done has to change. It is obvious that Network Rail’s current timetabling system simply cannot cope with the volume of work that it has to complete, and so we have asked both the current leadership and the incoming Chief Executive, Andrew Haines, to ensure that this issue is addressed as a priority. Until this has been done, I will insist on a gradual approach to timetable change wherever possible and not the significant changes that we have seen this month. This is ahead of South Western Railway’s new December 2018 timetable.