Southern Rail crisis: Lawyers ask when government will terminate troubled franchise

Lawyers warn the government about health and safety risks on Southern Rail

Southern Rail commuters

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lawyers representing commuters on the Southern Rail network have asked the Government when it will consider terminating the troubled franchise as industrial action drags on.

Lawyers representing the Association of British Commuters, a campaign group set up by Southern's disgruntled passengers, also warned the Department for Transport that  a "tragedy" will happen if Southern doesn't correct its "appalling" health and safety problems.

The lawyers inquired as to whether the DfT had carried out risk analysis ahead of the wave of strikes by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, and demanded to know when the DfT will consider risks sufficiently serious to warrant termination.

ABC is considering legal action over the handling of the Southern franchise, giving witness reports of incidents across the Southern network during recent disruption to services.

There were reports of violence at Brighton station; dangerous overcrowding and mass panic in crowds; mass rushes along overcrowded platforms to board trains in the case of last-minute announcements; and illness and incapacity brought on in the vulnerable, pregnant, elderly and disabled.

The group also said that reports have  emerged of at least two incidents of trains going through stations without making planned stops during the course of last week's strike.

They said: "It is not a case of if a tragedy might happen but when."