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Rebecca Wayman

Transport secretary blamed by MPs for rail timetable chaos

According to MPs, Chris Grayling, transport secretary, should have been better at preventing 2018’s rail timetable chaos.

Published in a report on May’s timetable changes, it has been said that “genuine change” is need to restore our trust in the current railway system.

Every May and December, national rail timetable changes are made. They’re often only small tweaks.

However, last May saw a much bigger timetable restructure, including 43,200 changes, affecting 46 per cent of passenger services.

The report suggests that nobody took charge of these changes, however Grayling had complete authority to judge such happenings and should have done more.

MPs have said the new system has been chaotic and has resulted in overcrowding and higher prices on trains.

Committee chairwoman, Lilian Greenwood, said: “There was extraordinary complacency about protecting the interests of passengers, who were very badly let down.

“It is extraordinary, and totally unacceptable, that no-one took charge of the situation.”

And the recent announcement that rail fares will increase by an average of 3.1 per cent added “insult to passengers’ injury”, she continued.

Grayling has reportedly announced a year-long independent rail review to look at the issues, chaired by Keith Williams, deputy chairman of John Lewis Partnership and former chief executive of British Airways.

A Department for Transport spokesman, concluded: “The disruption following the May timetable change demonstrated that significant change is required in the rail industry.

“That is why we launched the Williams review to consider all parts of the industry in order to put passengers first, with reforms to begin from 2020.”

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