There was an “extraordinary complacency about protecting the interests of passengers” among rail bosses, regulators and government officials, notes a damning report on the summer railway shambles, which featured 46,300 timetable changes. Additionally there was a “collective system-wide failure” and a decision-making process that was “not fit for purpose”, one that has now decided that it’s a good time to hike up fares again for captive commuters.

Of course those who rely on the railways to do their jobs don’t need to be told this. They know and they are angry. And one deserving focus of their anger is Govia Thameslink Railway, (GTR) which axed 470 of its 3,880 daily services.

The fallout continues, with GTR, which runs Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern railways, now coming across as a disreputable firm that cannot be trusted to put its wrongs right. We say this noting that passengers completing large numbers of claim forms for Delay Repay compensation, based on the large numbers of delayed journeys they have suffered are being accused of fraud by GTR, presumably to wriggle out of payment. The same nasty taste in the mouth is left noting the claim experience of others who have had their claim forms returned by GTR instructing them to supply details for “journey 1” when “journey 1” doesn’t appear anywhere on the claim form. One victim we know of several unjustified refusals of this kind for the same claim has now been told that the claim has been denied because the delays to its processing, caused by GTR, has put the claim outside the 28-day period for claiming. Clever or stupid?

One potentially good piece of news for passengers who don’t feel their complaints are being treated with the respect due is the creation of a new independent dispute resolution ombudsman for the railways with the power to hold train companies to account and force them out of their “extraordinary complacency”.

Let’s all hope it works, especially at GTR, where the CEO is Patrick Verwer, [email protected]

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