Gibb Report: Strike action was final straw for over-stressed Southern network


By Ben Jones

A REPORT into the poor performance of Southern in 2016 has finally been published.

The company is part of Thameslink Southern Great Northern (TSGN), the UK’s biggest rail contract.

Article continues below…

Enjoy more Railway reading in the monthly magazine.
Click here to subscribe & save.

The report was prepared by Network Rail non-executive director and career railwayman Chris Gibb for the Department for Transport (DfT) between September and December last year.

London Victoria’s concourse during one of the strike days last December. PA IMAGES

It identifies high levels of staff sickness and industrial action by trades unions over the controversial issue of Driver Controlled Operation (DCO) as key factors in the collapse of the timetable.

Mr Gibb backs DfT and Govia Thameslink Rail (GTR) criticism of the strikes, calling trades union motives for the action ‘debatable’ and ‘difficult to comprehend’.

Article continues below…

However, the report also criticises Network Rail, DfT and GTR and highlights many other areas of the system that were already under great strain as Southern attempted to run too many trains on deteriorating, unreliable infrastructure with a complex timetable and overcrowded trains and stations.

Chris Gibb, the author of the critical report.

Lowest bid

Other contributing factors include the ongoing disruption caused by Thameslink upgrades and London Bridge redevelopment, introduction of new train fleets, organisational changes and a high turnover in management roles at Network Rail.

Article continues below…

Read more in the July 2017 issue of The RM – on sale now!

Subscribe to The Railway Magazine
Enjoy more of The Railway Magazine reading every month. Click here to subscribe.

Railway Reads

From the history of steam through to 21st century rail transport news, we have titles that cater for all rail enthusiasts. Covering diesels, modelling, steam and modern railways, check out our range of magazines and fantastic subscription offers.

Article Tags:

About the Author