A gushing press release from Network Rail has boasted that overland rail reliability is now at its highest ever level.

A grand total of 90.6% of trains are claimed to arrive “on time” now – although their definition of “on time” is not what I would call “on time”, being an allowance of up to 5 minutes late for local services and up to 10 minutes late for long-distance trips.

Another way to look at the figures though is to say that a staggering 10% of all train journeys are still arriving over 10 minutes later than timetabled.

Which is a bit pathetic really.

Oh, the claim in the press release said “This is the first time in the history of Britain’s railways that the benchmark of 90% of trains on time has been reached over the course of a year.”

Considering how long Britain has had railway networks that does, to be fair, sound quite impressive.

However, it transpires that “the history of Britain’s railways” only goes back as far as 1992.

Just like BBC 3, which constantly reruns episodes of Dr Who, but also seems to think that Dr Who didn’t exist before 2005 – it seems that Britain’s railway history has been equally truncated and now began as recently as 1992.


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  1. harrumph – sounds a bit like their “void days” procedure – when too many trains run late on any particular day, they can just declare the day “void” so that that day doesnt figure in the calculations.

    and as for “benchmark” vs “target” – if you shoot an arrow from a bow into an object, thats “hitting your target”. If you take the same bow and arrow, hold it up to your ear, let go and hear a “twang” – that’s a “benchmark”.

  2. and whats this “Before 1992, national train performance was not measured or recorded” business????? Rubbish! Bang goes my fond image of a crusty Victorian station master glancing at his fob watch and berating his underlings because the 3.27 is 45 seconds late.

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