Train running at below 10% on time
That's disgraceful. The lack of punctuality since SWRs takeover hasn't gone unnoticed, as bosses have been summoned to a meeting with the transport focus watchdog to explain the problem with punctuality. There in particular seems to be a huge rise in 'track circuit failures', which SWR would say is not their responsibility. However, their takeover must have something to do with it as they were pretty much unheard of during SWTs reign. SWR I'm sure will say they are committed to punctuality but they have been saying that since day one and punctuality has decreased significantly.
I would be as interested as you to see what SWR have to say about it.
Clearly, by their 3 days of silence, SWR are saying nowt! Punctuality now running at just 81.9% for mainline services and no explanations forthcoming...
So this is my January so far on the 8.42 Surbiton to London Waterloo. Cancelled 3, Late 10, Strikes 3, on time (within 5 mins) 4, and actually none of those were on time. Very poor in anybody's book and not even the courtesy of a response. Come on SWT, if you are going to host a forum at least participate!
Hi Ian, Peter and Jim.
We try everything we can to minimise delays and run trains to the right time.
My desk is situated in the SWR / Network Rail control room so I see first hand how our Train Managers monitor the train service and when delays do build how they take action to avoid one delayed train effecting others. London Waterloo handles more passengers per year then London Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport combined, the scale of the operation is huge. At London Waterloo, during peak times, a train arrives / departs nearly every minute from the station and even a 30 second delay at somewhere like Clapham Junction has a massive impact on the service.
We are working with our partners Network Rail who own and manage all the tracks, signals and infrastructure to ensure it is as robust as possible and when disruption does happen our control room are committed to minimising delays. Our controllers have to take into account the drivers schedule, the guards schedule, what the train is doing next, the likely impact on passengers and how the change may affect every other train.
Genuinely, the only way to almost guarantee an improvement in train performance is to run less trains. This therefore increases the gap between them and allows for minor things, like an infirm person needing assistance to get off a train delaying it by 30 seconds, and doesn't cause congestion affecting the train behind and so on. We aren't perfect but trust me we all want the same thing, a reliable train service.
A good video that explains how unplanned disruption can cause knock on delays can be found here.
In short we are trying to minimise disruption and improve our service recovery plans when it does happen.
How come the situation is so much worse now than under SWT ownership?
Under SWT trains were late WPL to WAT about once per week or fortnight. The reliability was amazing. When I started commuting about 14 years ago it was terrible, very few on time. That disappeared over the years and was just a distant memory. Now its back. I expect the train to be late, every morning now. It's generally late arriving a WPL and much later arriving at WAT.
I can understand how the network could be very congested at Clapham but it shouldn't be the case that every train through WPL is late. If you can't manage that part of the network you will never manage the flow into central London.