GTR boss steps down amid timetable woes

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The chief executive of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Charles Horton, has tendered his resignation following the ongoing challenges the operator faces to introduce the May timetable change.

The operator has run a disrupted service for several weeks, prompting criticism from passengers and politicians.

Horton said he recognised that passengers were frustrated and that now “is the right time to hand leadership of GTR to a new pair of hands”.

Both GTR and Northern services have been severely disrupted following the 20 May timetable change. Although much of the backlash has been aimed at the operators, Network Rail has taken some of the blame.

The ORR has launched a formal inquiry into the disruption.

David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said: “I would like to thank Charles for his hard work with Govia for the past 15 years.

“Under often challenging conditions, he has built a team to deliver the largest railway change programme for decades, on a franchise that is not only the UK’s biggest, but which has also has seen the highest passenger growth.

“We are committed to working with the Department for Transport and Network Rail to address recent problems and to deliver a reliable, punctual service for passengers.”

Horton, who will remain in post while a successor is appointed, has led the franchise since its launch in 2014. He will oversee the development of a temporary timetable prior to leaving.

Charles Horton said “I recognise that passengers have been hugely frustrated at the significant disruption caused by the introduction of new timetables. It is the right time to hand leadership of GTR to a new pair of hands.

“I am immensely proud of my team and I would like to thank my 7,000 colleagues at GTR for all their hard work over the past four years.”


Read more: Transforming the Wales and Borders franchise