Rail reliability slips in region again

Abellio Greater Anglia train.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train. - Credit: Archant

The number of trains run by Abellio Greater Anglia that arrive on time has fallen again.

In June less than 89% of its services arrived on time, according to new figures published by the Department for Transport.

They show that only three of the 15 train operating companies operating in England had worse reliability figures than Greater Anglia – the DfT is not responsible for Scottish or Welsh rail services.

The figures show that 92.7% of Greater Anglia trains arrived on time in April, 90.7% arrived on time in May, and 88.8% arrived on time in June.

In June 2014 91.2% of trains in the region arrived on time. The definition of “on time” varies – a commuter train can be up to five minutes late and still be “on time” while longer distance trains have to arrive within 10 minutes of their scheduled time.

Jonathan Denby from Abellio Greater Anglia said many of the delays were caused by problems which were outside the train operator’s control.

He said: “We’re sorry that customers have experienced more delays in the last three months. These have been due mainly to a mix of infrastructure problems, severe weather and fatalities.

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“We are working closely with Network Rail to improve performance. We are investing over £35 million in initiatives to improve service standards during our current, short franchise, including a number of projects focused on modifying and upgrading trains to improve punctuality and reliability.”

Nationally, the number of trains arriving on time during June was 91.3% compared with 91.7% for the same month last year. Martin Abrams from the Campaign for Better Transport said: “Any drop in overall performance and punctuality is worrying and while there could be any number of unavoidable reasons why a train arrives late at its destination, the way train companies and Network Rail have been working together in recent months needs to be looked at.

“The main areas for improvement have to be how delays and disruptions are dealt with. If a train is running late modern communications mean passengers should have accurate, up to date information before they’ve started their journeys ensuring they have time to make alternative arrangements if necessary.”

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