THE managing director of Govia Thameslink Railway is leaving.
Go-Ahead Group said that Charles Horton had tendered his resignation.
The news has followed a troubled period during which GTR attempted to introduce a completely revised timetable on 20 May with more than 3,000 retimed trains, only to find that the new schedules did not work.
As a result, GTR has been running a reduced timetable since 3 June in a bid to improve reliability, but the number of trains still cancelled or delayed by more than 30 minutes has hovered around 5 per cent in recent days, partly because of specific incidents.
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.”
Go-Ahead, which owns 65 per cent of Govia alongside partner Keolis, said he will remain in his post for a short period, and his successor will be announced in due course.
Go-Ahead chief executive David Brown 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.”
The RMT reacted to the news by calling for the franchise to be terminated. The union’s general secretary Mick Cash said: "The Horton resignation opens the door for the this sorry chapter to be brought to a close and that means sweeping GTR away and returning the services to public ownership with safety, access and quality the guiding priorities."