Tory MP demands rail service be handed to TfL ‘immediately’

Nearly a year after first making the threat, Chris Philp, the MP for Croydon South, has written to the transport minister to demand the immediate withdrawal of the multi-million-pound franchise from Govia Thameslink Railway for operating Southern and other commuter train services. He says he has acted now after nearly 1,000 train services were disrupted on one day earlier this week.

Not sure if he's in or out: Croydon South MP Chris Philp

MP Chris Philp:

The Conservative MP’s letter calls for the suburban service to be handed over to Transport for London “immediately”.

Philp today told Inside Croydon that the final straw for him over the deteriorating service levels was on Monday, when nearly 1,000 train services operated on Southern, Thameslink and the Gatwick Express were delayed or cancelled in one 24-hour period.

“I said I would give GTR until May to improve,” Philp said. “It seemed only fair to give them until the end of May, which I have done.

“For me, the terrible performance on Monday was the final straw.”

Train services from the Croydon area into London Bridge, including Thameslink and other Southern services which serve Philp’s constituency through Coulsdon and Purley, have undergone considerable disruption over the past 18 months due to the major engineering work going on around the terminus station and on the lines that run across the Thames.

But even that cannot justify the volume of delays and skipped stations – a particular issue for those commuters using Coulsdon South – which occur daily.

“GTR offer the worst service in the country, and it is getting worse,” Philp said.

“My constituents’ lives are being made a misery by the continual cancellations, lateness, station skipping and over-crowding. This franchise is too big and unmanageable, and is being very badly run at present. I am therefore calling for the franchise to be removed from GTR immediately and broken up in to smaller franchises.

“The suburban commuter lines, including the lines from Croydon to Victoria, are due to be moved under the jurisdiction of TfL by 2021. This needs to be done immediately. TfL has a far better track record than GTR and can be trusted to run the services more effectively.

“It is time to end the Southern misery now. We need more drivers, a better managed and motivated workforce, better communication with passengers, longer trains, more declassification of first class when trains are over-crowded and automatic compensation for lateness for Oyster card-users.

“Longer term, more investment is needed in track and infrastructure upgrades.”

Read Philp’s letter to the rail minister, Claire Perry, here

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Chris Philp MP, Commuting, Coulsdon, Croydon South, London-wide issues, Transport and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Tory MP demands rail service be handed to TfL ‘immediately’

  1. joeycan says:

    And about time too!
    I was at the meeting last Thursday and listened with increasing anger to the casual apologies coming from the mouths of the two ‘suits’ who attended from Southern and Network Rail. Where was the wailing and gnashing of teeth at the inconvenience caused to so many lives by this…Service !!!. I’m sure that were this farce acted out in Japan, the offending managers would have topped themselves in front of their audience for their failings.

    I can’t recall if it requires an act of Parliament to de-franchise a train operator but all three of our Croydon MPs should be on their feet in the House on Tuesday 31st May demanding immediate action.

    • Nick Davies says:

      You can read the franchise agreement here.

      It can be terminated for a selection of reasons, including poor performance, see page 521. The are subject to a Remedial Agreement as it is, also available from the link, what in other fields might be termed ‘special measures’, ie sort it out or else. It is up to DaFT to decide when it’s “or else” time, though unless a huge fuss is kicked up they’ll say the agreement should run its course. GoDire could of course make everyone’s day and throw in the towel; if they don’t the lawyers would make a healthy living if DaFT unilaterally terminates the contract early outside of any binding agreement.

      Passengers might like to contemplate the rubric at the top of the contract on page 6, where “the franchisee intends..actively to seek..greatly improved performance over the franchise term from its employers, its train fleet and other deliver to the passenger the best railway passenger service that can be obtained from the resources available to it.

      The resources available to it are nearly £9 billion over seven years.

  2. Pingback: London News Roundup: What Exactly Were Those Helicopters Doing Yesterday? | UnilagMusic UK

  3. nigestair says:

    Has anyone told this, no doubt ambitious, Tory that TFL is a publicly-owned concern, and suggesting that the public sector is better able to run something than the private sector is contrary to Conservative Party policy?

    Still, if he’s a pragmatist rather than an ideologue, then that’s no bad thing.

    We’re lucky to have the benefit of the enthusiasm he still has for his role, as a relatively newly elected MP, rather than a few years down the line when he’s been promoted, become disillusioned (as most employees do) or too comfortable. Could you imagine Tricky-Dicky Ottaway doing this?

    Whatever, I am pleased he is airing his constituent’s concerns, and trying to do something about it.

  4. I wish young Master Philp luck in his late arriving, sorely needed, doomed to failure enterprise. But why now? Oddly enough, I think it has something to do with the forthcoming referendum. All the oxygen of publicity is going to the four ( or five if you count the non-genuine-posh -boy IDS) white posh boys who are running the Brexit/Remain campaign. There’s precious little left for hungry political tiddlers like Master Philp….but if you can disinter something that looks like it may interest the public and may get your name onto a few Page 3s or Inside Croydons then its a no-brainer: you go for it, however far fetched the franchise failure hyothesis turns out to be.

Leave a Reply