Southern Rail counts cost of year’s rail disruption

by RUSSELL LYNCH
Southern Rail was blighted by train strikes: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Service has “stabilised” on the Southern Rail network where strikes have caused misery for thousands of commuters, franchise operator Go-Ahead Group insisted on Thursday.

But the firm, which runs Southern through its Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) business, counted the cost today as passenger revenue on the service fell 5% in the nine months to April 1, with passenger trips down 3.5%.

Hopes for an end to the long-running battle over driver-only operated trains were dampened earlier this month when union Aslef’s drivers rejected a deal. The RMT will mark the dispute’s anniversary with a protest in Parliament next week.

Go-Ahead, which warned on profits in February, said today: “Service levels have stabilised following the previous periods of industrial action, delivering more reliable rail services to customers. Discussions between GTR and the Aslef and the RMT unions continue with the aim of resolving the ongoing industrial disputes.”

Shares rose 88p or 5% to 1817p as the firm stuck to its full-year guidance. Shore Capital’s Martin Brown said: “Go-Ahead has sold off sharply in recent months, however... we believe the selloff is overdone.”

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