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Govia Thameslink chief executive Charles Horton resigns

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Every train time changed on 20 May

The boss of beleaguered rail firm Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is to resign.

Passengers have faced major disruption as hundreds of trains were cancelled following the introduction of new timetables in May.

GTR, which runs Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern, said chief executive Charles Horton would remain in post for a short time to oversee the development a temporary timetable.

The RMT said: “The rotten franchise he was steering remains in place.”

Announcing his resignation, Mr Horton said: “I recognise that passengers have been hugely frustrated at the significant disruption caused by the introduction of new timetables.

“It is the right time to hand leadership of GTR to a new pair of hands.”

GTR – Britain’s largest rail franchise – changed the time of every train on its timetable on 20 May.

The operator warned of disruption before the changes were brought in, but the implementation of the new timetable saw some services withdrawn and further cancellations without any warning.

‘Failure on every level’

About 230 daily services were removed from GTR’s routes to make for a “more consistent timetable”, the company said.

Last week, it emerged the firm was using taxis to make sure students could get to exams on time.

And Mr Horton admitted being delayed by his own trains.

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Mr Horton said he recognised passengers’ frustration

In a letter to staff, he said: “In my view, this was an industry-wide failure of the timetabling process. But with leadership comes responsibility and so I feel it is only right that I step down.

“Before my departure in a few weeks’ time, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure a smooth handover as we work to put our railway back on track and give our passengers a reliable service once again.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Mr Horton may now have gone but the rotten franchise he was steering remains in place and no change at the top will alter that.

“This whole basket-case operation is a failure on every level.”

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