PUNCTUALITY across Britain’s rail network has continued to decline – with only 84.6 per cent of trains within 5 or 10 minutes of right time in the past month, and only 55.4 per cent ‘on time’.
c2c Rail had the best punctuality in the four weeks ending 8 November, with 96.9 per cent of its trains arriving within 5 minutes of schedule – while Southern had the poorest , with 78.7 per cent of its services arriving within 5 minutes of right time.
Over the whole network, 84.6 per cent of trains were within the ‘public performance measure’ (PPM, based on 5 minutes within schedule for commuter and regional services, or 10 minutes for long-distance services) – down from 86.2 per cent in the same four-week period in 2013.
On the major trunk routes, East Midlands Trains recorded 86.8 per cent PPM (down from 88.8 per cent last year); First Great Western was at 83.9 per cent (down only 0.1 per cent); East Coast recorded 82.7 per cent (up from 77.1 per cent a year ago); and Virgin Trains’ performance was 81.2 per cent (down from 85.1 per cent in period 8 last year).
When it came to ‘right time’ arrivals, Chiltern was top last month with 84.3 per cent on time (up from 83.1 per cent in 2013), while CrossCountry was worst at 29.2 per cent (36.4 per cent last year).
On the major trunk routes, East Midlands Trans had 57.6 per cent of arrivals on time (well down from 66.9 per cent a year ago); First Great Western recorded 58.5 per cent on time (down from 61 per cent); East Coast had 45.7 per cent right time arrivals (up from 42 per cent in 2013); and Virgin Trains recorded 44.1 per cent of its trains ‘on time’ (down from 45.2 per cent in last year’s period 8).
And on the other, non-London, major inter-city route, First Transpenine Express took a big hit this year – PPM fell from 88.4 per cent in 2013 to 80.5 per cent per cent last month, while right time punctuality (51.8 per cent in 2013) slumped to 33.9 per cent in the four weeks to 8 November.
After 2002-03, when records started in their current form, overall performance across the rail network improved steadily for eight years, from less than 80 per cent PPM until it surpassed 90 per cent in 2010-11, but in the past two years it slowly, but steadily, declined to a moving annual average of 89.2 per cent at present.
Right time punctually – below 50 per cent in 2002-03 – rose above 70 per cent in 2010-11, but it has declined since then to stand at 64.4 per cent in the four weeks to 8 November.
Network Rail does not show the comparative number of trains operated each month. But the number has risen substantially since 2002-03, while overall network capacity has grown little.
Network Rail qualifies its four-weekly performance statistics with the following information:
“Network Rail and the train operators run more trains across Great Britain than are run in most European countries – almost 20 per cent more than in France and 60 per cent more than in Italy.
“Great Britain's 24,000 trains per day is also more than Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Norway combined.”