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Govia Thameslink has biggest PPM decrease in period 2

Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR’s) performance and punctuality measure (PPM) figures were significantly worse than any other TOC in May 2016, according to Network Rail’s latest data.

The company’s PPM for period 2 of this year was 78.1%, the lowest of any TOC and significantly below than the next-worst performing company, which was First Hull Trains, with a PPM of 86.8%.

Its PPM also fell by 8.9 percentage points compared to the same point in 2015, when it was at 87%. The TOCs with the next biggest drops in PPM were Heathrow Express, with an 8.1 percentage point drop from 94.8% to 86.9%, and Stagecoach South West, with a significantly smaller drop of 2.4 percentage points from 92.6% to 88.4%.


GTR also had the highest cancellation and significant lateness (CaSL) rate, at 7.4%. First Hull had the next worst results, but these were still significantly beneath GTR’s, at 3.9%.

GTR had a 3.5 percentage point increase in CaSL from last year’s 3.9%. The companies with the next largest increases were Stagecoach South West, with a 1.8 percentage point increase from 2.0% to 3.8%, and East Midlands, with a 1.1 percentage point increase from 1.0% to 2.1%.

The Network Rail figures also show that GTR is responsible for 42% of its delays, whereas 55% were caused by Network Rail and 3% were caused by other companies.

Capture 2

GTR also had the worst PPM in May 2015, but at that point it was at the same level as Grand Central, which has since had a 4.8 percentage point increase to 91.8%, despite suffering the biggest PPM decrease in period 13 of last year.

According to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), GTR also had the worst overall PPM of 2015-16, which it attributed to problems including the ongoing engineering works at London Bridge.

The GTR PPM figures also now incorporate Southern, which GTR took over in July, making it the UK’s largest rail franchise.

Southern has faced an unusually high rate of cancellations due to staff sickness, combined with an ongoing industrial dispute with the RMT over the introduction of driver-operated only trains.

A spokesperson for GTR said: "Passengers have experienced a significant downturn in service for which we sincerely apologise. Our service has inevitably been hit by the RMT’s industrial action by conductors which has seen a substantial increase in cancellations. Not only have we lost services on strike days but there is also an unprecedented level of conductor sickness which has now forced us to ‘pre-cancel’ 31 trains every day to limit the impact and help passengers better plan their journeys. As well as the availability of train crew in general, route punctuality also continues to be affected by work at London Bridge which has significantly reduced network capability, and train fleet failures."

He added that there had been 14 incidents of people hit by trains, multiple signal failure and trespassers on the tracks, one of which at Streatham North Junction caused almost 3,000 minutes of delay, in the past month.

GTR has developed an improvement plan with Network Rail, part of which is also incorporated into the remedial plan it has been required by the Department for Transport to produce after breaching the terms of its franchising agreement.

GTR recently unveiled its new fleet of Siemens Class 700 trains, capable of holding 1754 passengers and intended to increase frequency on the network.

The latest figures also show that the recently formed TfL Rail had the highest overall PPM and the biggest increase, with a 6.5 percentage point increase from 87.4% to 96.9%, and the biggest CaSL decrease, from 5.6% to 2.1%.

Howard Smith, Transport for London’s operations director for TfL Rail, said: “It's really good to see strong performance, particularly the PPM figure being the best in the country for this period. We are at a crucial time when passenger numbers are increasing significantly and a huge amount of work is taking place on track, stations and depots ready for full Elizabeth Line services in 2018. Great credit to Network Rail and MTR - but we must keep up the good work.”

(Image c. Andrew Matthews)

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