£100m profit despite ‘nightmare’ service

Southern train
Southern train

A rail firm that axed 22 commuter services this summer has announced a £100million profit for its parent company.

Two months ago Southern Trains cancelled hundreds of services, including 22 linking Hemel, Berkhamsted and Tring directly to south London.

Yet Go-Ahead, the parent company that owns Southern rail operator Govia, reported profits of nearly £100million on Friday.

Lindy Foster-Weinreb, of the Berkhamsted Citizens Association, said: “It’s simply not acceptable.

“Southern shouldn’t be cutting services that they say aren’t profitable when they’re making so much money from the other transport routes that they run.

“We’ve had people contact us to say they’ve had to give up their jobs because they can no longer commute to them, and the few services that have now been reinstated won’t change that.

“They got the contract on the basis that they would provide these services. They should be made to fulfil that commitment.”

Southern Trains cancelled 341 services across the region from July 11, although it has now announced it will reinstate 119 of these.

The reinstated services include five southbound trains which call at Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring. This includes the 7.01am from Milton Keynes which calls at Tring at 7.22, Berkhamsted at 7.26 and Hemel at 7.30.

A Southern spokesman said: “Southern made zero profits last year.

“All our income went into delivering the service. The profits figure being reported relates to other businesses owned by our parent company, primarily the bus division.

“Southern is not expected to make a profit in the coming year either.”

London Midland Trains, which runs services between Northampton and London Euston, has said it will continue to accept Southern only’ and ‘via Kensington Olympia’ tickets on its trains between London Euston and Milton Keynes Central.

Steve Helfet, London Midland’s head of West Coast services, said: “The re-instated Southern services is good news for all our passengers.

“However trains will still be busy so we will continue to do all we can to make journeys as simple as possible for those who regularly use Southern and for our existing passengers.

“It is still important to plan journeys in advance and to leave enough time to reach your destination. I would encourage passengers to plan their journeys using the London Midland App, our website, or by asking a member of staff for assistance.”