Damning new figures reveal worst performing train companies are running just half their services on time
21:51 GMT, 20 December 2012
The worst performing train companies are running fewer than half their services on time, damning new ‘real’ punctuality figures revealed.
CrossCountry, whose services snake around Britain, managed a punctuality rate of only 48.8 per cent over the last year when ‘on time’ is defined as being within a minute of the published timetable – not within up to 10 minutes as at present.
The CrossCountry figure, relating to the 12 months ending December 8 2012, is contained in new information released by Network Rail (NR) as part of ‘right-time' data on punctuality.
The worst performing train companies are running fewer than half their services on time (file picture)
Publication follows an edict by Transport Minister Norman Baker that train companies are being ‘totally dishonest’ with passengers on punctuality and must start telling them ‘within just a minute’ when their trains are on time.
Under this more exacting criteria, trains are considered late if they arrive more than 59 seconds after the timetabled time. Until now, trains are considered to have arrived on time if they are no more than five minutes late on short routes and no more than 10 minutes late on long-distance journeys.
Under the stricter rule, Virgin Trains ran only 54.1 per cent of trains on time in the 12 months to December 8.
Other companies to run fewer than two in three trains on time are Southern (56.9 per cent), First ScotRail (59.7 per cent), London Midland (65.7 per cent) and Southeastern (65.8 per cent).
Transport Minister Norman Baker said reluctant and rip-off train companies are being 'totally dishonest' with passengers on punctuality
The national average for punctuality is 69.2 per cent.
London Overground, meanwhile, ran 88.4 per cent of trains on time in the 12-month period.
Other top performers are Arriva Trains Wales (86.1 per cent), Chiltern (84.7 per cent) and c2c (84.3 per cent).
Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus, said: ‘Passengers tell us that punctual, reliable trains are a top priority, and that late trains can disrupt their whole day.
‘It is good to see that the actual performance has been made available at a train operator level, which much more closely matches passenger experiences.’
Delays: Trains are now considered late if they arrive more than 59 seconds after the timetabled time
He went on: ‘Greater transparency helps passengers to make informed decisions about how they travel, and we look forward to seeing even more information like this coming into the open.’
Under the current regime, the average punctuality figure given by
Network Rail for the 12-month period to December 8 was as high as 91.5%.
The normal figures – known as the public performance measure (PPM) –
for the period November 11 to December 8 showed overall punctuality at
85.3%, a fall on the 88.4 per cent figure for the same period last year.
Network Rail pointed to the bad floods
during the period, which it said had 'a dramatic effect' on services
from November 11 to December 8.
passengers were also plagued with many
non-weather-related incidents, with hardly any morning rush-hours free of
HOW PUNCTUAL ARE MY TRAINS IN 'REAL TIME'
Trains on time within a minute of the published timetable
Train operator % on time
Virgin Trains 54.1
First Scotrail 59.7
London Midland 65.7
First Transpennine Express 67.8
East Coast 68.0
Stagecoach South West Trains 68.2
First Great Western 70.6
Greater Anglia 71.2
First Capital Connect 71.7
Northern Rail 74.0
East Midlands Trains 76.8
c2c Rail 84.3
Arriva Trains Wales 86.1
London Overground 88.4
National average 69.2
Network Rail added that the adverse weather 'in every period so far this year has had the greatest impact than at any time in the last 10 years'.
But even under the more liberal definition of ‘late’, four companies still ran fewer than 80 per cent of trains on time in the four-week November/December period.
They were CrossCountry (74.5 per cent), East Coast (76.6 per cent), London Midland (77.0 per cent) and Virgin Trains (79.7 per cent).
First Great Western, one of the companies particularly badly affected by West Country floods during the period, managed a punctuality figure of 80.6 per cent, although this was down on its performance of 87.5 per cent in the same period last year.
Best-performing company under the more liberal system in the latest four-week period was London Overground, which ran 97.3 per cent of trains on time.
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 are putting pressure on the rail industry to publish proper real-time performance figures.'
Taking his cue from two popular BBC Radio 4 comedy series, Mr Baker said: ‘Punctuality should be measured by ‘Just a Minute’, not ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a Clue.’
DELAYED PASSENGERS TO RECEIVE COMPENSATION WORTH 7MILLION
Passengers plagued by delays and cancellations by a trouble-hit train company are to get a 7million package of compensation and benefits.
Transport Minister Norman Baker announced that London Midland season ticket holders will be given five days of free travel passes.
There will also be 500,000 additional cheap advance tickets on key network routes in London, Birmingham, Northampton, Crewe and Liverpool and a commitment to invest in infrastructure improvements.
Passengers plagued by cancelled train services are to get a 7million package of compensation and benefits
It follows serious disruption for many weeks on London Midland services caused by repeated staff shortages.
Mr Baker said: ‘London Midland has cancelled or delayed hundreds of services in recent months. On repeated occasions, they were not able to provide enough drivers and some services had to be cancelled, with severe delays to services, and they have fallen short both of everyone's expectations and their franchise obligations.
The Government said London Midland will spend millions of pounds improving the resilience of their trains and will invest at least 2.25 million on a range of measures to benefit passengers – primarily in the West Midlands, where the worst disruption was experienced.
London Midland's parent company, the Go-Ahead Group, said: ‘We acknowledge the impact that this has had on our passengers and we have now put measures in place to ensure we have sufficient drivers to operate our services.
Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: 'We worked with London Midland to encourage them to compensate passengers and are pleased to see that both regular and occasional passengers affected by the recent disruption will now get something back.’