County's rail provision ranks among nation's worst

By Tim Aldred

04 Apr 2024

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A new analysis of government statistics has shown that the rail companies serving Lancashire are among the least reliable in the country.

Travel deal site Tripplo used data from the Office of Rail and Road between January 2021 and September 2023 to find the percentage of train journeys that were either cancelled or delayed by 15 minutes or more.

The worst offender was Avanti West Coast, which connects Blackpool, Lancaster, Preston, Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham & Wesham with Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. According to the official figures, 15.36 per cent of its trains were either cancelled or delayed – working out to more than one in six trains not arriving when expected. 

TransPennine Express, which connects Lancaster and Preston with Scotland, Liverpool and Manchester, placed seventh out of the 24 ranked operators, with almost 10 per cent of journeys delayed or cancelled.

The county's main operator, Northern, which serves stations throughout the county, placed 11th, with 6.5 per cent of journeys affected. The company performs closer to the most reliable operator (Great Anglia, 2.2 per cent) than the worst, but still ranks in the bottom half of the league table.

According to the Office of Rail and Road, the percentage of recorded station stops arriving ‘on time’ (early or less than one minute after the scheduled time) in Great Britain was just 62.2 per cent in the latest quarter (1 October to 31 December 2023).

Axel Hernborg, founder of Tripplo, commented on the findings, saying: “The findings offer a glimpse into the state of the nation's rail services. Across the nation, there's a noticeable variation in performance, with some operators, such as Avanti West Coast, consistently underperforming. This variability in findings perhaps highlights the complexity of maintaining a cohesive rail network while emphasising the necessity for ongoing evaluation, strategic planning, and investment to bolster reliability standards and enhance the overall passenger experience.”

“It’s no secret that the UK’s rail network is a far shout from those within mainland Europe in terms of efficiency and reliability, and these findings simply underscore that.”

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