Latest Rail News

18.09.18

Rail delays hit 12-year high after timetable delays and severe weather

Severe weather and the introductions of new timetables have led to the worst punctuality on British railways in 12 years, new figures from the ORR show.

One in seven trains missed the industry measure of punctuality in the 12 months to August, marking the highest level of delays since February 2006.

Freezing weather in February and March saw train punctuality fall as the Beast from the East hit parts of the network.  Further delays were caused by new timetables introduced on 20 May, causing major disruption to passengers in the north and south-east of England in particular.

The ORR will publish its interim report into the cause of the problems on Thursday.

The government is also expected to launch a review of the railways this week, led by the deputy chairman of John Lewis, Keith Williams, which will look to respond to criticism of the franchising model.

Robert Nisbet, regional director of the Rail Delivery Group, said the government is “investing billions to ease congestion, reduce delays and minimise disruption.”

“The industry is working hard to deliver its long-term plan to drive better punctuality so that more services arrive on time,” he added. “We have been saying that the time is right for root and branch reform of the railway so that it can deliver more for passengers, communities, businesses and taxpayers.”

The 12-year low in punctuality comes as fares are set to rise by 3.2% in January.

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “The delays and cancellations on our railways is fast becoming a national disgrace thanks to the Tories.

“Nobody should have to suffer daily delays as part of their commute, but under the Tories passengers are paying through the nose for the privilege of being crammed into late and overcrowded trains.

“The government’s blind obsession with privatisation is putting the future of our railways at risk. Labour will do what’s best for passengers and taxpayers by taking the railways into public ownership in order to improve services and cap fares.”

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Image credit - lenanet

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