The possibility of sacking Southern is still on the table, according to Rail Minister Jo Johnson.

Despite not being the “preferred option”, it hasn't been ruled out by the Government at this stage.

That was revealed following a meeting between the Minister of State and Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake at Department for Transport's offices earlier this month.

It comes as rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) announced it’s investigating the train company which runs Southern, Govia Thameslink Railway.

Alongside Northern, the pair are accused of allegedly breaching a condition of their operating licence during the May timetable chaos earlier this year.

This means they must provide “appropriate, accurate and timely information” to allow passengers to plan their journeys “with a reasonable degree of assurance”.

But Transport Secretary Chris Grayling believes it's "not straightforward" to overrule industry leaders after an investigation found "nobody took charge" during the highly documented saga.

The interim report by the ORR warned of a "lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities" as GTR cancelled up to 470 trains each day during the disruption - lasting several weeks.

While the May 20 timetable change planned to bring benefits to passengers due to major network upgrades, it received widespread criticism instead.

Mr Brake said: “There is chaos on our railways and it’s all happening under the less-than-watchful eye of our inept Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling.

"It is a pity Mr Grayling does not spend more time sorting out problems he is responsible for on our railways and less time pontificating on the so-called benefits of Brexit.

"For Eurostar the ‘benefits’ of a no deal Brexit, which many suspect Mr Grayling would favour, simply involves the service stopping running at all.

“At least then Mr Grayling wouldn’t have to worry about making the Eurostars run on time."

Sutton Guardian has approached Mr Grayling for further comment.

A DfT spokesman said: “The independent Glaister Review’s interim report made clear that failings across the industry, including at GTR, led to the unacceptable disruption faced by passengers in the aftermath of the May timetable changes.

“While services have improved significantly, we are taking the review’s findings into account and have consistently said we will take appropriate action if the operator is found to have failed to meet its contractual obligations.”