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Southern Railway and Thameslink boss says firm paying 'millions' in compensation for timetable cock-up

THE boss of failed rail operators Southern Railway and Thameslink whinged today that the companies face paying out “millions” in compensation to passengers they let down during the chaotic introduction of disastrous new timetables.

Operators’ chief executive David Brown said tens of thousands of customers affected by the bungled changes in May were being contacted with offers of compensation. The new timetables led to widespread cancellations and delays.

Company Go-Ahead owns the operators, and also has the Great Northern and South Eastern rail franchises.

Mr Brown said rail privateers were “mortified” by the disruption, but blamed a “systemic industry failure” for the shambles.

Despite the timetable disaster, annual results revealed Go-Ahead notched up a 6.5 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £145.7 million for the year to June 30, sending share values soaring by 16 per cent.

Of the widespread cancellations and delays Mr Brown said: “It was a systemic industry failure and the biggest timetable change for a generation.

“We are all mortified by it, but we are getting it right now.”

The group's Thameslink and Great Northern services were worst affected, with eight weeks of disruption, but there were cancellations and delays across the industry.

Rail union RMT general secretary Mick Cash dismissed Mr Brown’s whines.

He said: “Passengers don’t want to have to grovel to greedy train companies for a few quid in compensation. They want publicly owned railways under public control free from these spivs.”

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