Alan Williams

Emperor Trump may have cornered the market in fake news and alternative facts in recent weeks, but the rail industry has not been doing too badly over the last few months either. The nearly year-long dispute between Southern, Aslef, RMT and, yes, the Department for Transport that has adversely affected so many lives for so long has been riven with many selective facts, half-truths and even some frankly downright lies. It was almost a year ago that DfT Managing Director Passenger Services Peter Wilkinson unwisely publicly presaged a confrontation with the unions over driver-only operation (DOO) and the future role of conductors, in effect openly challenging the unions. But having thus lit the fuse, DfT then consistently left it to the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) ‘franchise’ to battle with them, with both ministers and officials repeatedly wringing their hands, claiming to have no power to intervene.

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