Transport Secretary needs to take responsibility for rail failings

As the London Assembly Transport Committee completes its investigation into the causes of the huge rail timetable disruption that started with the Thameslink services in May, committee chair Caroline Pidgeon has written to the Transport Secretary, setting out the structural and organisation problems in the industry and calling for real responsibility and action from the government.

Crucially, there was no single controlling mind who was willing or able to put the process on hold. The complexity of the rail industry structure is, in itself, part of the problem here and you need to consider whether changes need to be made at a structural level. Furthermore, while the industry’s “can-do” culture is essential for getting things done and overcoming problems, it brings its own risks. Working on the basis that a solution will always be found can be dangerous; people need to be able to say “no, this just will not work”. The chaos that unfolded after 20 May is proof that not enough people in the rail industry were willing to speak up in that kind of culture. ...

Passenger confidence in the rail industry has been shaken by this episode. The rail industry is complex and fragmented, and many parts of it have been at fault. But you, as Secretary of State, need to take responsibility for the failings of the industry here, and take steps to make sure it does not happen again.

Read Caroline's full letter to the Secretary of State.