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TOCs received £167m for delays but only paid passengers £22m – TSSA

Train companies received over £167m in payments for delays from Network Rail this year, while only paying out £22.2m to passengers for disrupted journeys, according to rail union TSSA.

When releasing the figures the union accused rail firms of acting “like a modern day Robin Hood in reverse”.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “"For every eight pounds they got from the taxpayer, they only paid out £1 to passengers. They take from the poor traveller to make themselves even richer. It’s the economics of the madhouse.”

Under industry rules TOCs automatically receive compensation from Network Rail if a train is five minutes late. However passengers have to claim for compensation and only become eligible for one if their train is 30 minutes late.

But according to the ORR there is no linkage between the two compensation schemes. The Schedule 8 payments that operators receive from Network Rail are designed to encourage it to improve performance.

In a report earlier this year the rail regulator said: "There is no direct linkage between the two, with Schedule 8 relating to the compensation and incentive arrangements between train companies and Network Rail, and the passenger facing arrangements being a means of compensating passengers for delays to their journeys."

Responding to the claims from TSSA a spokesperson from Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail and the TOCs, also stressed the compensation schemes are not related.

“Passenger compensation is completely unrelated to the rail regulator’s scheme where payments between Network Rail and operators are designed to discourage delays and encourage punctuality,” the spokesperson said. “When delays occur it disrupts people’s journeys and can put them off travelling altogether, hitting train company revenues and the amount operators pay back to government for investment in the railway. Payments between operators and Network Rail reflect this.”

Rail Delivery Group also pointed out that compensation to passengers has increased by £10m this year.

Earlier this month official figures showed that passengers suffered 200,000 train cancellations last year, and the Office of Rail Regulation said that TOCs must make it easier for passengers to claim compensation.

(Image: c. Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

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