Saturday 4 May 2013

Half or a Third of Trains Run Late

 First Great Western was slightly better than average

A third of trains are running late – rising to more than half among the worst performers - when judged against tougher Government-backed ‘real time’ punctuality targets, damning new figures reveal.

More than half Virgin Trains and Cross Country services fail to arrive on time when allowed just  59 seconds leeway from the timetabled schedule  to qualify as being punctual.
This strict ‘right time’ measures  contrasts with what ministers say is the more ‘dishonest’ measure favoured by the rail industry. This classes short-distance services as being ‘on time’ if they arrive within five minutes of the scheduled time. Long-distance services are officially on time if they arrive within 10 minutes.
Nationally, under the stricter 59-second rule, nearly three out of ten trains (27.7 per cent) ran late with just over seven out of ten (72.3per cent) on time from April 1 to 27.
More than four out of  ten (42 per cent) long-distance services were  late with only six out of ten (58per) cent on time in April.
In London and south-east England more than a quarter of services (27.3 per cent) of services were late with nearly three-quarters (72.7%) on time.
For regional services including Scotland a quarter (25.3 per cent)  were late with three quarters (74.7per cent) on time.
Network Rail’s  59-second figures  also revealed punctuality for each train company for the 12-month period ending on April 27. 

 Cross Country and East Coast are poor performers
Among individual rail companies the poorest-performer was CrossCountry, whose routes reach every part of Britain except London. More than half of CrossCountry's trains  (53.9 per cent) were late  with only 46.1per cent  on time over the 12 month period.It was followed by  Virgin Trains which had just 48.9per cent of trains on time, Southern (55.5per cent), 
First ScotRail (59.8per cent) and state-run East Coast (60.9per cent).

Best Performer - London Overground
Best-performing company was London Overground with nearly 9 out of ten services (86.8per cent) arriving within 59 seconds of timetable.
When judged against the more liberal punctuality measures, Britain’s two main London to Scotland train companies – state-run East Coast and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains - were the poorest performers for punctuality last month, rail watchdogs revealed.
One in seven (14.9 per cent)  of East Coast trains ran late with only 85.1per cent of trains on time in the period April 1-27 2013.
West Coast line operator Virgin was only marginally better with a similar proportion (14 per cent)  of services running late and just 86.0per cent on time.

The national average  was for one in 14 trains running late (7 per cent) with 93.0per cent on time.
Network Rail (NR) said East Coast punctuality had been affected by two overhead line incidents - near Potters Bar in Hertfordshire and at Grantham in Lincolnshire.
Transport Minister Mr Baker said: 'It is totally dishonest to say trains are punctual when for short distance and journeys they can arrive within 4 minutes and 59 seconds and for long-distance they can be within 9 minutes and 59 seconds and still count as being officially on time.
'Taxpayers and passengers deserve better than this. That is why we have put  pressure on the rail industry to publish proper real-time performance  figures.
‘I am determined to see improvements on the level of transparency on the railway and I am pleased that the industry is becoming more transparent including the release of ‘right-time’ data, for which I have consistently pushed.
‘This goes further than anything passengers receive in Europe. Two out of three trains on the network are arriving within 59 seconds of the stated arrival time and 93% are meeting target. 
'This is a strong performance given the growth in passenger numbers. I wonder how many motorists could predict their journey time within a minute?'
A spokesman for the watchdog office of Rail Regulation said passengers ‘are experiencing a worse service than a year ago’, adding: ‘We are disappointed with Network Rail’s recent performance.’
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said: ‘Punctuality is vitally important to passengers and train companies and that's why we will continue to work closely with the rest of the industry to drive improvements to services.’