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Rail passengers lost record four million hours to delays last year

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Rail passengers lost a record 3.9 million hours to delays in 2018, according to consumer group Which?

Data shows around 80 trains a day were delayed by at least 29 minutes, affecting 8.1 million passenger journeys – the highest figure since records began in 2011.

A further 660 trains per day were cancelled, another record number.

The findings come as the rail industry rolls out its latest summer timetable which aims to introduce 1,000 extra services per week across the country.

Robert Nisbet, regional director of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) which represents the railway, said: “We know that services on some routes weren’t good enough last year and rail companies are working together to improve punctuality and tackle delays across the country.”

The best and worst train companies

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Transpennine Express accounted for more than a third (37%) of all cancelled trains in 2018, according to Which?

These train companies also recorded the highest cancellation rates as a proportion of their own services, with one in ten (10%) services on Transpennine Express cancelled last year and 7% of GTR’s trains.

LNER (which was Virgin East Coast up until June 2018) and Virgin West Coast had the highest significant delay rates of their planned services at 5% and 3% respectively.

Northern accounted for 12% of all significantly late trains and 14% of all cancellations in 2018.

The train companies with the lowest proportion of services affected by both significant delays and cancellations in 2018 were Chiltern Railways and East Midlands Trains.


Which? is calling for automatic compensation for delays and cancellations to be introduced across the network as soon as possible.

Its research found passengers claim for only a third (34%) of journeys where money is owed for delays and cancellations.

Neena Bhati, head of campaigns at Which?, said: “Passengers have faced a torrid time on the trains since the beginning of last year where the rail industry has fundamentally failed on punctuality and reliability. People then face a messy and complex compensation system which puts them off claiming when things go wrong.

“A vital way the government’s rail review and industry can start to restore faith is by introducing automatic compensation for delays and cancellations so that passengers don’t have to fight to get the money they are owed.”

Last week, 84 MPs, including nine members of the Transport Select Committee, backed Which?’s calls demanding automatic compensation for passengers in a letter to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

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