Katherine Cox from GTR has provided the below update to ESRA:
“Thanks for those that could attend the conference last week (w/c 12 June). We hope that the day gave a good sense of the progress GTR has made, the challenges we continue to face, and the improvements that are still to come. We were keen to remind attendees of the reason why the franchise we created, and the need to modernise and increase capacity on a crowded, congested and complex part of the rail network. As we continue to progress our change programme, we ask for your support in understanding and communicating the context involved.
Thanks for the feedback you have provided, and for the group session on 2018 ‘culture change’ (the notes from which have been passed to the Thameslink team for follow up). The agenda was very full and we are conscious we overran in some areas, making the break times or Q&As shorter. We’re also aware that there were instances where we were unable to provide as full a response to queries at the time as we would have liked. There were some themes that came up – particular class 700 trains and the station host concept that we have included some notes on below. Some delegates handed in written questions and we’ll come back directly on those too.
The presentation from the day is attached for your reference: GTR Annual Stakeholder Conference 2017.
Update on the station host plan
The original plans for the roll out of station hosts, which met with opposition from trade unions, were suspended in favour of a comprehensive trial at a range of station ‘types’, in association with trade union representatives and station staff.
So far the trial has reported a generally positive reception from passengers but we still have more work to do before we are ready to extend this further.
We have amended the stations in the trial now to allow us to test the concept further still. The current station host trials will continue until the end of July at the following locations: City Thameslink, Cricklewood, Enfield Chase, Sandy, Battersea Park, Queens Road Peckham, Chichester, Winchmore Hill, Mill Hill Broadway. We have removed Balham from the trial currently and replaced it with Winchmore Hill and Mill Hill Broadway. This is due to the increased volume of passenger enquiries following the closure of the LU ticket office, and the layout of the station.
We are undertaking surveys with both passengers and staff members with a view of identifying feedback that will then inform any future plans and changes.
We will continue to update stakeholders on this project in our periodic newsletter In-Touch.
Class 700 reliability
We are continuing to work closely with Siemens on the reliability of the Class 700 trains. Reliability is gradually improving but, with just 4,100 miles between failures, it is still just half as good as any other UK fleet. There have been software upgrades and more will follow as necessary. We will wait to introduce more units while the manufacturer works on resolving these issues. The Department for Transport, who specified and ordered the Class 700s, have agreed that Wi-Fi and seat back tables will be installed.”
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)