GTR failures account for 86% of national decline in rail performance
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has, unsurprisingly, once again come bottom of the two separate public performance measure (PPM) charts released this week.
The first dataset, collected by Network Rail and accounting for period 11, reported a decline in the national PPM, which was logged at 87.9% – a slight dip from the same period last year (88.4%).
The national figure does however show improvement from the PPM reported at the end of 2016, where it dropped to an unprecedented low of 79.1%.
Figures collected for the period, which accounts for 8 January to 4 February, also revealed that GTR came at the bottom of the charts with a PPM figure of 76.6% – a 2.9 percentage point drop from their performance in the same period last year.
The second dataset, released by the ORR, found that GTR only logged a PPM of 68.8% in quarter three of 2016-17, representing a whopping 7.1 percentage point drop from the previous year. The operator also accounted for 1.8 of the overall 2.7 percentage point fall across the whole London and south east (LSE) sector performance.
The company also fared poorly with regards to cancellations and significant lateness (CaSL), a measure taken when trains are cancelled or delayed by more than half an hour. Network Rail reported an increase of 1.3 percentage points in terms of significant delays across GTR services, from 4.9% last year to 6.2% in this year’s period 11.
More strikingly, the ORR announced that the percentage of cancelled or late GTR services had soared by 4.6 percentage points compared to Q3 last year.
“In Q3 of 2016-17, GTR operated 15% of all services in Great Britain. PPM failures by GTR services, however, were responsible for 86% of the decline in national PPM in Q3. That is, GTR services that failed PPM accounted for 0.9 pp of the overall 1.1 pp fall in the quarterly national PPM for Q3,” the ORR added. “For the LSE sector, GTR accounted for 65% (1.8 pp) of the 2.7 pp fall in the quarterly PPM for Q3.”
The regulator’s findings also said that GTR had recorded the worst PPM score of all in the last nine quarters, though admitted that this was in part due to ongoing work on London Bridge.
Overall, the ORR recorded a national PPM of 84.3% in Q3 – the worst score recorded for this specific quarter since 2005-06.
A GTR spokesperson commented on Network Rail's period 11 report by saying: "The re-introduction of the full timetable on Southern from 24 January improved reliability and consistency for passengers.
"The freight train derailment at Lewisham was among the top five incidents that most affected our services.
GTR also pointed to a track circuit failure in the St Pancras area and a person hit by a train at East Croydon, as well as conductor rail issues at Battersea Park as the reasons behind the heavy delay.
Talking about the RMT and Aslef strike, GTR said: "We’re doing our best to find a way forward with the unions to resolve the dispute on Southern and are working closely with Network Rail on its £300m funding package to improve track, signalling and overall performance."
The poor results for GTR, the parent company of the beleaguered Southern, are to be expected given the major disruption that has been caused due to the operator’s ongoing dispute with unions RMT and Aslef.
Yesterday it was reported that Aslef members had voted to reject an agreement to end the dispute, which first came about due to Southern’s proposed plans to switch to driver-only operated (DOO) carriages on their services.
Elsewhere in the network, another significant finding in Network Rail’s figures was that First Hull Trains had seen its percentage of cancelled or delayed services double over the past year, skyrocketing from 6.5% of their services last year to 13% in period 11 this year. First Hull’s overall PPM for period 11 also fell considerably, from 81.5% last year to 78.2% this year.
Heathrow Express also experienced a significant PPM dip, from 93.3% in 2015-16 to 84.4% this year.
In more positive news, the ORR also reported that First TransPennine had seen a rise of 8.1 percentage points in their quarter 3 PPM scores, the biggest increase across the board.
And TfL Rail once again stood out from other operators, recording a PPM of 96% in period 11 this year – a 4.4 percentage point rise from 2015-16. This would have placed it at the top of the performance chart were it not for Merseyrail’s stellar 97% PPM.