Grayling communicates his disappointment after rail meltdown


Rail bosses have pledged to work with passenger groups and the Government to improve information given to passengers during bad weather following criticism from the transport secretary.

In a letter to the head of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies and Network Rail, Chris Grayling commended the efforts of railway staff to ‘keep, or get, services running’ during last week’s extreme weather, but said the industry needed to take action to improve customer communication during disruption.


He wrote: ‘When things go wrong, effective communication is the one mitigation that can be employed and one that is extremely important to the travelling public. There have been a number of instances which have come to my attention which do not reflect the high standards of communication passengers deserve.’

An RDG spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry for the disruption that customers experienced during the recent bad weather, despite the efforts of the thousands of people who worked around the clock to clear the snow and keep people moving.

‘We’re committed to improving the information we give to customers before and during their journeys, including during bad weather. We will work together with passenger groups and government to see how we can improve.’

As Transport Network reported on Friday (2 March), commuters and the passenger watchdog criticised South Western Railway over a decision to close down its network by 8pm that evening, to ‘get as many of you home as possible’.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, said the industry ‘needs to better communicate why such drastic action is necessary’.

At the weekend, following ‘multiple occasions’ where stranded commuters took to the tracks, British Transport Police and the rail industry acknowledged in a joint message: ‘It’s clear that communication will help avoid passenger action in these extreme circumstances.’


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