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Cancelled or delayed trains hit national 14-year record high

The proportion of trains cancelled or significantly late (CaSL) in the last quarter of 2016-17 was the highest-ever nationally since 2002-03 and the highest in London and the south-east sector (LSE) for over 15 years, ORR figures have revealed.

In Q4, almost 4% of services were either cancelled or delayed by more than 30 minutes across the network, growing to a whopping 4.8% in the LSE – the highest figure since 2001-02.

Unsurprisingly, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) accounted for 73% of the year-on-year rise in the national CaSL, and for almost 80% of the rise in the LSE’s CaSL figure.

Across its services, GTR recorded the highest CaSL (6.7%) since the ORR’s time series began in 2004-05, racking up the largest amount of cancellations and delays of any other franchised operator.

Full cancellations accounted for 0.8 percentage point of the increase, with 36% of GTR CaSL failures in Q4 resulting from traincrew problems (up from 30% in the previous year). The operator also planned to run nearly 16,600 fewer trains in that quarter compared with Q4 in the previous year.

Shortly behind GTR was Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), with almost 6% of its services significantly delayed or cancelled altogether, although this was just 0.1 percentage point worse than the same period in 2015-16.

Open access operator Hull Trains recorded the worst CaSL figure of any other company, with almost 9% of its services affected. However, the ORR said the failure of a VTEC train at Retford contributed to the increased CaSL scores of both Hull Trains and Grand Central (6.3%) in the fourth quarter.

In terms of public performance measure (PPM), the national average stood at 89.1%, the lowest since 2006-07. Once again, GTR was the lowest-performing operator, with a PPM of 78.8% – although Network Rail figures from the first period this year already indicate that this trend might be starting to change, with the TOC no longer coming at the bottom of performance charts.

The best-performing TOC in Q4 was Merseyrail, excelling with a PPM figure of over 96%. This correlated with Network Rail’s more recent findings, where Merseyrail outshined all other operators with a performance of 98.2%.

(Top image c. Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)


Lutz   15/05/2017 at 23:46

All due to the deliberations of the Unions.

Lee   16/05/2017 at 11:31

I'm afraid it is not quite as simple as that Lutz! Other common (in my part of the country at least) issues include signalling issues, points failures and trespass incidents. Indeed the number and frequency of signal issues seems to have increased since the Northwest Regional Control Centre opened, possibly a coincidence but irritating nontheless. Not being completely familiar with the complaints/refund process, I do wonder why passengers can not make refund claims against Network Rail for delays incurred by Network Rail issues such as signalling failures, or is this covered by a claim against the TOC? It was my understanding that TOC's only upheld claims attributable to their service not to third-parties such as Networkrail. If this is correct it does seem odd to claim against someone for something outside of their control even though the claim gets passed on.

Mark Hare   16/05/2017 at 13:13

Sadly (or perhaps understandably) Lee, the average passenger doesn't care who has caused the delay to their train, all they know is that it's running late. The passenger is entitled to claim direct from the TOC, I believe the TOC can them claim back from NR if it is an NR issue that has caused the delay, although that's why TOCs employ people in delay attribution, to investigate the exact cause of delay and apportion 'blame'.

Notts Railman   16/05/2017 at 18:36

The passenger has a contract with one or more TOCs; if the TOC fails to deliver, the passenger can claim compensation from them. Network Rail has no relationship with individual passengers. It's just the same if you buy food and find it is defective (mouldy, etc.) Your claim is against the retailer, not the transport company which didn't keep it cold, or the factory which did not operate a sterile production environment.

Lutz   16/05/2017 at 18:41

@Lee I think not.

Andrew Gwilt   17/05/2017 at 04:07

I think RTM have also missed out Southern and Greater Anglia. Greater Anglia have been worse with more delays as their trains keeps on breaking down as their rolling stocks are ageing and GA have ordered new trains in 2-3 years time. Southern have been the worst train operator in the Southeast as last year. Southern caused lots of commuters to experience so many delays because of DOO (Driver Only Operation) with Gatwick Express who have ordered the Class 387/2's to replace the Class 442's (previously Class 460's).

Ryan   18/05/2017 at 07:16

Statistically speaking, Greater Anglia has not been missed out, the delays experienced are the same as with any other TOC. It's not a special case like you make it out to be.

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