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GTR PPM recovering in period 5, but still behind other companies

Emergency measures have allowed the troubled Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise to improve its performance and punctuality measure (PPM) figures, but it is still behind other TOCs, new figures show.

GTR’s PPM measure for period 5, from 24 July – 30 August, was 73.1%, 11 percentage points behind its PPM at the same time last year and 12.3 percentage points behind the next lowest-performing company, Virgin East Coast.

739 Capture 3

GTR’s PPM has been improving, from 66.8% in period 3 to 70.4% in period 4, but it remains consistently far behind other TOCs.

Most of its problems are due to the Southern franchise, which has been hit by widespread delays this summer owing to problems including strikes by RMT, a high rate of conductor sickness and delays at London Bridge.

GTR was forced to cancel 341 services a day to try to regain control of the franchise, although it has now promised to restore them.

Southern has also received £20m funding from the government to try to solve the causes of its problems. However, the Association of British Commuters is now seeking a legal challenge against the DfT’s handling of the franchise.

Southern has also announced that it will be forced to cancel services on 7 and 8 September because of another RMT strike.

The Go-Ahead Group, which owns Southern’s parent company GTR, announced last week that it had made a £57m rail profit last year, although GTR has suffered a loss in profits.

The average PPM rate for England and Wales was 88.8% compared to 90.3% at the same time last year.

GTR’s cancellation and significant lateness (CaSL) measure was 9.9%, compared to 5.1% at the same time last year and was 5.8% for Virgin East Coast. Two-fifths of GTR’s period 5 delays were judged to be caused by the operator, although 57% were caused by Network Rail and 3% by other operators.

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8 September UPDATE

A GTR spokesperson said:  "Period 5 was particularly challenging for all four GTR brands. 

"Driver availability issues were compounded by decreased appetite for overtime and rest day working over the holiday season. Week 2 of the period performance suffered from a repeat sewer collapse at Forest Hill, restricting the number of services running into London Bridge and resulting in large volumes of reactionary delay.  Week 3 was highlighted by a five day strike, which, although suspended after three days. the short notice of this suspension did not allow for a full timetable to be operational on Thursday, 11 August. Emergency speed restrictions at Three Bridges, Haywards Heath and Balcombe were put in place due to track condition from Wednesday, 17 August which led to major reactionary delays across the network. 

"As you know, right time performance tends to mirror PPM performance figures. The key for us in improving right time arrival performance is concentrating on right time departures from stations. Our teams in train planning, operations and stations all work hard to save precious minutes and seconds when it comes to getting a train away on time safely. We fully understand the impact of a train leaving even 30 seconds late from a station so we work hard on improving dwell times at stations with better platform management - particularly at stations such as Brighton and Victoria where on Gatwick Express services, we have seen improvements in right time starts of 7% and 17% respectively."

(Image c. Andrew Matthews)

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David   06/09/2016 at 11:53

Won't be helped by the "major incidents" on both Thameslink and Great Northern last night.

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