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Southern Rail owners to fund £13.4m improvement package

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The operators of the troubled Southern Rail franchise which operates the majority of services through Croydon, have been fined £13.4million to be spent on vital improvements.

The package, ordered by the Department for Transport, will see the Go-Agead Group, parent company of GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) which has held the Southern franchise since 2014 fund performance and passenger improvements.

The money will be allocated as follows:

£7m for DfT projects and improvement works, as yet unspecified, which will directly benefit passengers

£4m to fund 50 on-board supervisors over the next two years

£2.4m into various performance target efforts having repeatedly failed to meet its contractual targets over the past year which has been blighted by strikes, cancellations and service disruptions.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said continued industrial action could not be blamed for all of the shortcomings.

“Passengers who depend on Southern have been badly let down,” he said.

“GTR must do better in providing services to its passengers.”

At last year’s Develop Croydon Conference the council chief executive identified Southern Rail’s poor performance as the single biggest threat to the borough’s regeneration programme.