Network Rail picks up the tab for commuters after months of disruption on Thameslink line


Thameslink - Credit: Archant

Network Rail has put its hand in its pocket to fund new measures to benefit passengers affected by poor performance on Thameslink and another train service.

The rail company has agreed a £4.1 million reparation fund after the independent regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), determined that it had not delivered the reliability and punctuality needed to support Thameslink and Southern services from April to October this year - in particular those travelling through London Bridge station which has suffered months of chaos, overcrowding and delays.

ORR gave Network Rail the option of putting forward an offer of reparation which would directly benefit passengers or face a financial penalty of £2 million.

The new reparation fund will be used to increase the number of staff at stations served by Thameslink, its sister company the Gatwick Express and Southern to improve the flow of passengers and the efficiency of train departures in a bid to reduce delays to services.

It will also pay to employ more track workers to provide rapid response during disruption and introduce management software to help quickly resolve issues on Network Rail’s South East route.

The ORR found that Network Rail’s performance in respect of passenger services on Thameslink and Southern were below expectations and missed punctuality targets. The two train companies combined represented a third of delays and nearly half of cancelled and significantly delayed services in England and Wales in 2014-15.

The independent regulator will monitor the implementation and delivery of the rail reparation fund.

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ORR chief executive Richard Price said: “We welcome Network Rail’s commitment to improve passenger services.”