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Failure to stop events increased by 10,000 in four years

Trains in Britain miss scheduled stops an average of 160 times a day, according to recent figures from Network Rail.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the BBC revealed that in the financial year up to 23 February, over 52,000 services out of a planned six million had one or more failure to stop events.

Almost a third of these were on services operated by Govia Thameslink (GTR), with 16,000 failure to stop events in that period.

The figures showed that there were 10,000 more failure to stop events in the last financial year than in 2014-15.

A spokesperson for GTR said that skipping a stop is only ever a last resort when a train that is running late would prolong the disruption.

“We operate the country's most congested rail network and with a train departing every 27 seconds on average, even a minor delay to one train can cause a widespread and long-lasting knock-on effect to many other services and passengers across many routes,” they added.

The spokesperson also pointed out that there is no financial incentive for operators to miss a stop because it counts as a partial cancelation, which incurs a financial penalty.

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience for the Rail Delivery Group, said that, overall, less than 1% of stops are not made.

“This only happens as a last resort to prevent delayed services causing further disruption and while we understand this is frustrating, we ensure there are alternative options for customers to continue their journeys,” she explained.

Network Rail data has shown that primary delay from incidents has stayed relatively stable, but that reactionary delays have started to increase as the network has become more congested.

Starr added: “Working together, the partnership railway is delivering a long-term plan to change and improve, boosting punctuality by easing pressure on the busiest parts of the network.

"While the number of incidents causing delays and cancellations is going down, each incident is having a bigger impact due to congestion on the network and this is something that we are working hard together to get right.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson concluded: “While any inconvenience caused by stop-skipping to passengers is regrettable, it helps restore the timetable, benefitting many more people across the wider network.”

Top image: Gareth Fuller PA Wire

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