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Chris Grayling: I apologised for trains fiasco many times

TRANSPORT secretary Chris Grayling said he had apologised ‘many, many times’ already after he was criticised by MPs over train timetable chaos on parts of the network this year.

In a scathing report on the problems caused when new schedules came into effect in May, the transport select committee said he should have been more proactive in preventing it.

Mr Grayling (pictured) told the BBC he had apologised ‘many, many times across the summer for what happened’, adding: ‘The reality is, at no point did I get the information I would have needed to intervene, and we must make sure that never happens again. I absolutely accept responsibility for my department and myself not asking the tough enough questions.’

It comes as Govia Thameslink Railway has been ordered to pay £15million and banned from making a profit this year.

However, the operator — which runs Southern and Thameslink services — will not be stripped of its franchise despite its ‘unacceptable performance’ over the timetable fiasco.

Mr Grayling claimed that taking control of services away from the company would ‘cause further and undue disruption for passengers and is not an appropriate course of action’.

Rail strikes carry on as talks break down

TALKS to avert more strikes in the long-running dispute over guards on trains have collapsed. The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said walkouts on Arriva Rail North (Northern) will now go ahead every Saturday until the end of the year. Around a third of the usual timetable will run between 8am and 5pm. The union blamed the company for the breakdown in talks, saying it was ‘sick of being treated with contempt’. Northern said it wanted to continue discussions and all ‘options will be considered’.