The reports of how many trains arrive on time are to be shaken up, and the result could be to make train reliability appear to drop drastically.
At the moment, trains are deemed to be late if they arrive more than 5 or 10 minutes late, depending on the type of service. It’s now been agreed that the late running reports will calculate lateness to within the minute.
The new-style report from the Rail Regulator (ORR) shows that 64.7% of stations were arrived at on time in the year to June 2019. That compared to a train punctuality score of 85.9% in the same period a year ago, but that was based on the older scoring method, which gave trains a lot more time to arrive before reporting as late for duty.
When both reports are compared based on the new tighter way of reporting, while the headline shows a huge drop in performance, punctuality actually improved slightly over the year, although the ORR is noting that some of that improvement could be due to more recorded station stops over the year, which skews the statistics a bit.
The move makes a certain level of sense, not least in that people will have a clearer understanding of train delays, especially if planning a journey that involves changing trains along the route, and can be clearer about their chances of arriving on time, or needing to ensure a longer wait at the interchange station to absorb delays.
Detailed information on the causes of train delays is also included in the report for the first time, providing greater accountability into the problems on the railway.
The latest figures also show that 2.8% of trains were cancelled in the last year, down 0.1pp from the previous year.
More than half of all cancellations were down to train operating companies, for reasons such as a train fault, while 27.8% of cancellations were down to Network Rail operations and infrastructure such as track and signalling faults. 17.1% were caused by issues such as severe weather and trespassers.
In the south-east England region, the train operator performance scores were:
- 83.2% – c2c
- 82.0% – Heathrow Express
- 76.7% – TfL Rail
- 70.9% – Govia Thameslink Railway
- 70.6% – London Overground
- 68.8% – Southeastern
- 68.5% – Chiltern Railways
- 66.6% – Greater Anglia
- 63.5% – Great Western Railway
- 59.7% – South Western Railway
- 45.5% – Virgin Trains West Coast
- 41.0% – London North Eastern Railway