Train drivers have to swap mid-journey to go through tunnels as they are unqualified to complete the journey

It is a new crisis for a bungling operator already causing chaos for hundreds of thousands of passengers.

Govia Thameslink says it was not given enough time to train staff before new timetables started.

Unqualified drivers get out before a busy tunnel then trained “pilots” arrive to take it through the 2,000ft link.

Often it involves swapping with a driver who has come through from the other side at Finsbury Park, North London.

It is causing inevitable delays as passengers wait on trains. Herts cllr Sam Collins revealed the situation after meeting train bosses.


ADVANCE FINE BLAST

TRANSPORT Secretary Chris Grayling was under pressure last night to explain why the fine for Govia Thameslink was decided a year ago.

His department signed off an upfront £12million “future poor performance” fee with the crisis-hit firm last July — before the latest bungled timetable chaos. It covers them to this September.

Labour MP Chris Evans called it “a free pass for poor perfomance” and demanded an explanation.

He said: “An untrained driver will drive the southbound train to Finsbury Park. But they will have to wait for a pilot driver to be available, driving a northbound train through the core (tunnel) to Finsbury Park where they essentially swap.

“The time it can take if things don’t all align could cause delays and cancellations.”

It is understood the firm only had access to the tunnel in February.

The new timetable came in last month.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has since faced huge criticism over delays and cancellations.

Govia Thameslink said: “We continue to train our drivers for the requirements of the new timetable. We have outstanding requirement for train drivers due to the late notification of the timetable.”

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