Rail service improvements and disruptions


Concerns over TOC compensation payments as ‘beast from the east’ causes transport chaos

Train operators have been criticised for benefitting from cancellations and delays as the “beast from the east” wreaks havoc across the UK.

Network Rail has paid over £2bn in compensation to rail operators following delays and cancellations caused by adverse weather, engineering works between 2011 and 2017, according to the Telegraph, whilst passengers have received just £187m in compensation in the same period.

The report comes whilst passengers are faced with transport chaos due to heavy snow fall.

In order for passengers to be compensated for delays, their train must be delayed by at least 30 minutes and passengers must submit a claim.

Conversely, a delay of one minute sees train companies automatically receive compensation for the delay.

Tim Loughton, a Conservative MP argues that passengers should also receive compensation automatically.

“It’s a complete scandal. They are being paid for failure, they are profiting from delays and cancellations.

“There is no way that they should be holding onto that money,” he told the Telegraph.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Passengers will think that this system which rewards companies for delays gives perverse incentives to train operators.

“People are having to apply and go through complicated, bureaucratic processes to get any form of compensation. It should be simple and automatic.”

He accused the DfT of blocking reforms of the system.

Responding to the concerns about the compensation received by train companies, a spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group explained: “These payments are overseen by the rail regulator which says that they keep costs down for taxpayers and farepayers, and they are completely separate from the money customers rightly receive for delays.

“The payments compensate train operators for lost revenue when fewer people travel due to disruption and they encourage rail companies to work together to improve punctuality. 

“The industry is changing and improving how compensation for delays is paid which is why people received £74m last year, five times more than five years earlier.”

A DfT spokesperson said: “We are working closely with the transport sector to keep our national transport network moving in all weathers.

“Key transport operators – including train operating companies and Network Rail – have winter contingency plans in place.

“We want operators to do everything they can to keep passengers informed while pulling out all the stops to restore services.

“Passengers can now claim compensation for delays of 15 minutes on some routes and we expect this to be available across the network eventually.

“We continue to work closely with train companies to better inform passengers of their entitlement to compensation, which rose by almost two thirds to £73 million last year.”

Top image: Chris Steer

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Paul B   01/03/2018 at 20:00

Perhaps the issue is more the exorbitant amount of compensation which the TOCs are receiving, which is clearly adding to the already significant costs of running Britain's railways

Jak Jay   02/03/2018 at 11:59

Like the bit about Train Operating companies and NetWork Rail have contingency plans in place,so explain how both main lines to Scotland have been blocked for days,priceless! todays(2/3) shows the network close to collapse.

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