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  1. ITV Report

Govia Thameslink Railway CEO Charles Horton resigns

Charles Horton recognises passengers have been 'hugely frustrated' Photo: ITV Meridian

Charles Horton, chief executive of Govia Thameslink Railway, is to resign, the company has announced.

The company said Mr Horton will remain in post for a short period to oversee the development of a temporary timetable to address the recent major disruption to rail services.

In a letter to staff, he said the company had been going through some "very challenging" times in recent weeks.

Passengers have faced major disruption since the new timetable was introduced Credit: ITV Meridian

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.

I am immensely proud of my team and I would like to thank my 7,000 colleagues at GTR for all their hard work over the past four years."

– Charles Horton
Credit: ITV Meridian

Rail passengers have faced major disruption since the biggest timetable changes in history were introduced in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Kent last month.

Every time of every train has changed as part of the £7 billion Thameslink upgrade.

The changes are designed to make trains more frequent and create more space for passengers.

Govia Thameslink will now run 3,600 services a day for over 900,000 passengers.

That's 400 more trains, creating room for an extra 50,000 people.

I would like to thank Charles for his hard work with Govia for the past 15 years. Under often challenging conditions, he has built a team to deliver the largest railway change programme for decades, on a franchise that is not only the UK's biggest, but which has also has seen the highest passenger growth.

“We are committed to working with the Department for Transport and Network Rail to address recent problems and to deliver a reliable, punctual service for passengers.”

– David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead

Meanwhile the ‎RMT union has called for GTR to be stripped of its franchise.

For well over two years now RMT members fighting to defend safety and access have been subjected to abuse and hostility under the regime led by Charles Horton.

"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.

"The Horton resignation opens the door for the this sorry chapter to be bro‎ught to a close and that means sweeping GTR away and returning the services to public ownership with safety, access and quality the guiding priorities."

– Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT