NEWS
27/04/2018 14:23 BST | Updated 27/04/2018 15:12 BST

'Untold Misery For Passengers': What You Need To Know About The UK's 'Failing' Railway Franchises

A new report has described the situation as a 'multi-faceted shambles'.

Tens of thousands of trains have been cancelled in the last two years, travellers face daily misery on their commutes to work, and the running of the UK’s rail franchises is plagued by a “catalogue of failures”. 

This is what a new report from the Government has said about the management of the country’s three most important rail franchises. 

The report has focused on Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern – services that are used by millions of Britons every day.

So here’s everything you need to know about just how bad some of the UK’s rail companies really are. 

The top figures

1) Govia Thameslink trains were the “most delayed” on the entire rail network.

2) Between July 2015 and March 2017, 146,000 services were cancelled or more than 30 minutes late.

3) That’s 7.7% of scheduled train services. The figure excludes trains which were cancelled in advance because Govia Thameslink expected significant disruption.

3) During a particularly bad four-week period between November and December 2016, less than two thirds of trains arrived at their destination within five minutes of their scheduled arrival time.

4) Poor infrastructure caused around 13% of the delays passengers suffered between July 2015 and March 2017. Network Rail has acknowledged that the condition of the rail infrastructure has deteriorated to a point where it is no longer reliable. 

PA Wire/PA Images
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

The worst of it – what MPs said

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which published the report, accused the Department of Transport of overlooking the “poor condition of the infrastructure”.

There has been “some improvement” in services in recent months, the PAC accepted, as well as greater collaboration between public sector company Network Rail – responsible for infrastructure – and private firm Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates the trains.

PAC chairwoman Meg Hillier said: “The operation of the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise has been a multi-faceted shambles causing untold misery for passengers.”

Hillier said: ”This imbalance cannot continue. The franchising model is broken and passengers are paying the price.”

The Government’s response:

A DfT spokeswoman accused the Committee of producing “an imbalanced report that fails to grasp the complexity of the situation”.

She said the Govia Thameslink franchise was created to deliver the Thameslink Programme which will “revolutionise” north-south journeys through the capital.

The spokeswoman accepted that disruption suffered by Southern passengers in 2016 was “unacceptable” but insisted the performance of the network has “improved dramatically”.

She added that the DfT’s franchise model “already puts passengers and taxpayers first”.