United Kingdom train punctuality to be measured to the minute

Marco Green
March 24, 2019

Train services will soon be classed as late if they are just a minute behind schedule under tougher punctuality standards which are set to come into force next month.

At present Network Rail data shows nine in ten (89.1 per cent) of trains arrive "on time", but this will fall to two in three (66.9 per cent) under the new measure, which deems a train "late" if it arrives 60 seconds after its due time.

Rail punctuality across the United Kingdom sank to a 13-year low in 2018 according to the ORR, and rail satisfaction hit its lowest level in a decade amid strike action, timetable chaos and frequent delays and cancellations.

From April 1, train firms will publish a spread of information about their services, such as how many were early, within a minute of the timetable or within three, five, 10 or 15 minutes.

The current Public Performance Measures judges a train to be on time if reaches its final destination within five minutes of the timetable, or up to 10 minutes late for long distance journeys. Train operators and Network Rail are already using the data to pinpoint issues that cause delays and improve punctuality (see case studies below).

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) described the new performance measures as the most transparent in Europe. "Record investment to upgrade the railway, including the roll out of thousands of new carriages, will continue to help improve journeys over the coming years and in the short-term, we're using a more transparent measure of punctuality to help us cut delays and reduce disruption".

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: "Passengers want a reliable, on-time train service". How that performance is measured and reported should, our research shows, mirror passengers' real-life experience to help build passenger trust. Trains will be timed upon arrival at each station, to the minute, which'll create mountains of additional delay data to crunch, tut over, and perhaps even write emails about.

The incoming measures will not have an impact on passengers' compensation rights for delayed trains.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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