MSE News

Regulator investigates if customers had enough info during timetable chaos

The rail regulator launched an investigation today into whether Govia Thameslink Railway and Northern broke rules about providing passengers with enough information, before and during May's timetable changes. 

On 20 May, Govia Thameslink (GTR) – which runs the Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink services – overhauled its timetable, while Northern changed the times of some services. In the weeks that followed, passengers faced widespread delays and cancellations.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has started an investigation after concerns were raised about passenger information on Northern, Thameslink and Great Northern services during its timetable inquiry last month. 

See our Train Delays guide for tips on claiming refunds for delayed or cancelled trains – and check if you're owed extra compensation for the timetable chaos

What is being investigated?

All train companies must provide "appropriate, accurate and timely information" to passengers – including when there is disruption. 

The ORR will be investigating whether GTR and Northern have breached these requirements.

If the companies are found to have broken their licence obligations, enforcement action could be taken, which could include a fine. 

The ORR says it aims to finish the investigation by the end of November.

What do the rail companies say?

A spokesperson for Northern said: "We are truly sorry for the inconvenience passengers experienced as a result of the May timetable change.

"Delays to infrastructure meant we had to plan and deliver a new timetable in 16 weeks rather than the normal 40 weeks, which did not leave enough time to train our drivers on the new routes and types of train in the May timetable.

"We now welcome the opportunity to discuss the detailed reasons with ORR that affected the quality of information provided to passengers during the disruption."

A Great Thameslink Railway spokesperson said: "We will cooperate fully with the ORR's investigation."