Southern rail boss paid almost £500,000 despite delays, cancellations and strikes

Charles Horton was paid the sum despite Govia Thameslink lost close to £15m

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The Independent Online

The boss of Southern rail was paid almost half a million pounds in 2016 despite ongoing travel chaos on the network amid strikes, cancellations and delays.

Chief executive Charles Horton received £478,000 last year even as parent company Govia Thameslink Railway lost close to £15m, the firm's accounts show.

Mr Horton also took home £17,000 from an old Southern rail entity, Southern Railway Limited.

A Govia spokesperson said: “As a matter of policy we do not discuss the remuneration of any of our employees.”

Official Network Rail figures show les than half of GTR trains arrived at their destination on time last year, with 26 per cent arriving more than five minutes late.

Earlier this year, passengers voted Southern as Britain’s worst train company in the National Rail Passenger Survey.

The company has said that many of the delays and cancellations are out of its control.

Repeated walkouts by train staff have centred around a dispute over “driver only operation”. The Aslef and RMT unions which represent drivers and train guards insist that they are concerned trains run without guards are not safe.

Around 30 per cent of all passenger services in the UK run without a conductor, according to Department for Transport figures.

Southern said it had operated 95 per cent of services during the latest strike on Saturday, with more than half of conductors defying the RMT’s industrial action by turning up for work. 

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A Southern spokesman said: “Now being able to run a near-normal service and with more and more conductors and [on-board supervisors] coming into work on strike days, the RMT needs to call a halt to their futile industrial action on Southern. 

“They now need to resume talks with us, shake hands on a deal and let's move forward together“.