Cancellations and punctuality for train companies operating in the north of England, including Avanti West Coast, have deteriorated sharply this summer, although they are planning far fewer train services, rail regulator statistics show.
A performance review of passenger train operators by the Office of Rail and Road showed that TransPennine Express and Northern both cut more than 15% of their timetable from the previous summer, far more than any other operator in the Kingdom -United.
Meanwhile Avanti, which connects the capital to major cities in the West Midlands, North West England and Scotland, scheduled 8% fewer trains then canceled 12% of services in the day , and more than 60% of its surviving trains failed to arrive. on time.
The ORR admitted that even these statistics likely underestimated the chaos in the north, as trains canceled before 10 p.m. the day before – ‘ghost’ services which are then not listed on departure boards – are not counted as official cancellations. This also means that trains lost due to strikes are not counted as cancelled.
The regulator said it was working with the rail industry to strengthen reporting and “understand more precisely what passengers are experiencing on the network”.
Even without recording trains lost to strikes or phantom cancellations, ORR’s report on the performance of passenger rail services paints a damning picture of a growing north-south divide in rail services.
Avanti led all others for cancellations in the July-September period, falling fastest over the year at 12.2%, with TransPennine Express, LNER and CrossCountry trailing them in the rate of reliability decline .
The intercity operator owned by First Group/Trenitalia also had the worst punctuality score, with only 38.8% of trains arriving on time.
The ORR report echoes a recent Guardian analysis that shows the north is worst hit by rail problems, in a year of record cancellations on the network. More than 314,000 trains have been fully or partially canceled across Britain in the past year to October 15.
The ORR said the last quarter was the worst for cancellations since its records began in 2014 – and those cancellations excluded six days of strike action when 80% of services failed to operate.
Avanti plans to add many more services to its timetable from this weekend, with TransPennine Express and Northern also bringing back services and changing timetables, although Northern leaders have expressed doubts over their ability to deliver.
The calendar, however, will be turned upside down almost immediately by social movements and engineering works at Christmas. Further strikes will end most of the railway next week, with members of Network Rail’s RMT union and 14 rail operating companies due to walk out on December 13-14 and 16-17 as part of the dispute for a long time on wages and work. After the reduction of trains for Christmas and New Year’s Day and engineering, the strikes will resume in January.