GTR seeking answers on train power shutdown


The country’s biggest rail franchise has promised to carry out a full investigation to establish why its new flagship trains shut down and would not restart after Friday’s major power outage.

The outage, which is believed to have been triggered by two suppliers to the National Grid going offline in quick succession, caused chaos across the transport network, with rail and London Underground services affected, as well as traffic lights on roads.

Govia Thameslink Railway's (GTR) Thameslink and Great Northern trains were significantly affected even after power had been restored. Its new class 700 and class 717 (pictured) trains had to be restarted by technicians, leaving some passengers stuck on trains for hours and blocking the track for other trains.


Steve White, chief operating officer of GTR, said: ‘As a result of the failure of the National Grid there was a direct impact on the overhead lines which are used to operate electric train services. Our trains responded to these fault conditions and shut down.

‘A safety feature was activated, which caused trains to shut down until the appropriate procedure had been undertaken by technicians.

‘We are carrying out a full investigation with Network Rail and Siemens Mobility to understand how this particular external power failure affected the overhead electric lines and, in turn, our trains.’

GTR said on Saturday that it resumed normal service on Thameslink  but the knock-on effect from Friday’s disruption continued to cause cancellations on Great Northern.

Transport user watchdog Transport Focus advised passengers who heeded advice not to travel to claim delay repay compensation, including those using a season ticket.

Director David Sidebottom said: ‘People whose journey was severely disrupted should also keep receipts for all unexpected costs that arose from their efforts to complete their journeys, and contact their train operator to claim not just for their delay but any additional expenses they incurred.’

In a statement energy regulator Ofgem said it has asked for an urgent detailed report from National Grid so we can understand what went wrong and decide what further steps need to be taken. This could include enforcement action.

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