18 Days Remaining

Saturday 19th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

Labour renewed calls for the Southern Rail and Thameslink rail franchises to be taken into public ownership after “total chaos” hit services on Thursday and Friday.

Passengers were left stranded in the dark for an hour when their train broke down and blocked lines in north London on Thursday night.

Further embarrassment was caused when the recovery train, which was sent to the site to help the passengers, also broke down.

On Friday replacement buses were delayed and additional problems caused even more chaos on Thameslink and Southern lines, both of which are operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

Labour shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “Rather than stripping the incompetent operator of their franchise and running services in the public sector, the government are instead determined to plough on without any regard to long-suffering passengers.

“Not only are passengers suffering overcrowded, late or cancelled services — they’re dangerous too.”

General secretary of rail union RMT Mick Cash said: “How much more of this unprecedented chaos on Govia Thameslink Railways have passengers got to endure before the government pulls the plug on this basket case franchise?”

Southern was also slammed by the union on Thursday for threatening to withhold holiday pay from workers if they partook in any further strike action.

RMT and Southern are involved in a long-running dispute over removing safety-critical guards from trains.

Another 48-hour stoppage is planned by the guards on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

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