/ Travel & Leisure

Update: train pain – our railways are stagnating while prices soar

We all have our own individual train horror stories, but is satisfaction with our railways declining across the board? Our research suggests it is…

Update: 04/12/2018

We gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee in September on the impact of the May timetable changes on the passenger experience.

The Committee’s report, published today, found that no-one took responsibility for fixing the timetable mess and that blame for the appalling delays, cancellations and lack of information endured by passengers lies across the sector.

Research showed that less than a fifth of passengers affected by the recent timetable chaos said they were told about their right to claim for disruption to their journey.

Recognising the need for support when things go wrong, the committee backed our long-standing calls for automatic compensation to be urgently introduced across the board.


 

The rail regulator is also examining the issues that caused the chaos in May and is expected to publish its final report and recommendations later this month.

Following the government’s own analysis, the Secretary of State announced today that GTR will make no profit from its franchise in this financial year. The government has also capped the amount of profit that the operator is able to make for the remainder of its franchise, which is due to expire in September 2021.

Rail fares are going up in 2019: how much more will you pay?

Were you caught up in the timetable chaos? Did you claim compensation? Let us know how you feel the situation was handled.

Update: 16/10/2018

Feel like your station is the least reliable in Britain? If you commute from Manchester’s Oxford Road station, then you’d be right.

Today, we’ve revealed the UK’s most disrupted railway stations. To find them, we considered how many departures and arrivals were cancelled or at least one minute late (the industry’s measure of punctuality is five or 10 minutes late, depending on distance and region).

What’s the worst experience you’ve had on Britain’s trains? Share your stories with us here and use #TrainPain on Twitter.

Value for money?

Passenger satisfaction with the railways has dropped over the last decade while fares have ballooned, our new analysis showed today.

Satisfaction with punctuality and reliability has fallen by 6% over the past 10 years (from 79% in 2008 to 73% this year) our analysis of Transport Focus’s data showed.

For commuters, that satisfaction has dropped even more markedly, sliding by 10% (from 72% in 2008  to 62% today).

Satisfaction with value for money remains low, at 46%, having increased by just three percentage points over the decade for all passengers.

For commuters there’s been only a marginal rise in appallingly low satisfaction levels, from 30% in 2008 to 31% now.

During the same period rail fares have grown by over 40% – more than one and a half times higher than the overall rate of CPI inflation (26%) – for the same period.

Trust in tatters

Trust in the rail industry is at its lowest point in nearly six years, according to our Consumer Insight Tracker.

Only 23% of people have trust in train travel. And this is six percentage points less than last year.

This makes train travel one of the least-trusted consumer industries, beaten to last place only by car dealers.

Auto comp call

But the data’s perhaps not entirely surprising, given over 110,000 of you have now signed our petition demanding a better rail service.

So what’s to be done about our stagnating and increasingly expensive railways? Train companies need to get their act together and the government needs to make them.

We want trains to work for passengers, not just for train companies. That’s why today we’re calling on the government to introduce automatic compensation for all passengers who experience delays and cancellations.

Claiming compensation is a time-consuming and often complicated process, meaning too many people just don’t claim. Making it automatic would send a real message to our train operators and make sure passengers always get the compensation that they are owed.

Comments

Derek P raised some pertinent points in a different Conversation. It is more appropriate to discuss them here. The other Conversation is Are train companies doing enough to help disabled passengers? and the link to the preamble [Derek’s comment and the preceding ones] is –
https://conversation.which.co.uk/travel-leisure/train-disabled-passenger-rail-experience/#comment-1546397

Derek wrote “I think a lot of the current failures arise because the commercial franchises need to run at a profit, so they cannot always consider the greater good of providing a key national infrastructure to get folk where they need to be when they need it.

“With the industry currently split between Government overlords and private contractors, when problems arise, it becomes all too easy to waste time apportioning blame, instead of owning and fixing problems.

“Hence the attraction of bringing all of the railways constituent businesses together into a single entity, to act with common goals and purpose, is obvious to many.

I am responding as follows –

Some of the franchises are subsidised, Derek, but, yes, in most cases they not only need to make a profit for the owning company [or joint owners] but to pay a hefty premium to the government throughout the contract – and these run into billions of pounds for the bigger franchises. Even the subsidised ones need to make a profit so if the subsidy is not big enough their profitability can reduce or turn into a loss. So the demands of the DfT for high premiums or their desire to keep subsidies low, can, in the kind of fluctuating economic period as we have now, have a major effect on survival or failure. The downturn in commuting numbers is having an impact on the train operating companies in the London travel-to-work area that could not have been predicted at the time the tenders were submitted as rail travel had been on a constant growth curve for some time.

I agree that there is a lot to be said for bringing together “all of the railways’ constituent businesses into a single entity, to act with common goals and purpose”, and it is interesting that the DfT are now attempting to bring that about for the new contract on the East Coast [LNER] route – but crucially without changing the ownership structure.

I remain mystified how the timetable chaos on the Govia Thameslink Railway developed because some of the biggest wheels in the railway industry sat round the table with the DfT and the ORR every month, for two years, to keep an eye on the timetable planning, rolling stock provision, crew training, and service delivery, and make sure all the interlocking parts meshed together. It was called the Industry Readiness Board and you couldn’t put together a more comprehensive and high-ranking cast of players covering all sectors and interests with a common purpose and common goals. It even had an Independent Assurance Panel led by a former top-level railway manager with a long and impressive career in the railways who knew all the problems, the territory, and the people involved. Perhaps the Board was too powerful and was frightened of its own shadow. Whatever, it failed to show a red signal as soon as it became clear that things were spiralling out of control and the timetable implementation was unravelling before their very eyes. Whoever was the DfT rep [fairly high-powered in all likelihood] must have been off-guard; it would be interesting to know what he or she reported back to the Minister. Right up to the last minute when it could have been stopped, no one was brave enough to pipe up and say this will not work; in fact they all sat there saying their part of it would.

As a percentage of turnover, train operating company profits are surprisingly low, which is why the DfT is having to struggle to get enough companies to bid for future franchises to provide effective competition, and why so many have extensive or total foreign participation.

Another way of looking at the ToCs “profits” is that they aim to make more money (but not much) than it costs. Even if the railways were taken into full public ownership I would expect them to be run in a financially similar way; I don’t want losses to be added to any legitimate subsidies. I’m not convinced that a government-run “business” is capable of that.

Rail profits are, as John says, very low, so even if the profit were removed it would have little significant effect on rail fares.

All operations need incentives to improve performance, whether it is the individuals who are employed or the business or organisation itself. Being required to not make a loss, and a small profit, means financial prudence and, allied with sanctions if performance does not reach the required standard, seems a simple way to create such an incentive.

As we can see by the lead article here, Which has come up with the suggestion of financial penalties for under performing rail operators, by means of increased compensation payments to passengers.

In the related convo on the problems experienced by disabled passengers, we’ve that one undesirable unintended consequence of such performance metrics is the practice of keeping trains on time by not letting pre booked wheelchair users onto trains.

I think the rail Industry needs more joined up thinking.

I don’t think that pre-booking leads to preventing access as a generalisation. It is particular poor experiences that are reported here, along with some good ones.

Whoever runs the railways would be required to run them to time, as far as is possible. Other Convos list complaints when this does not happen. Delaying a train can have knock-on delays for other trains and their passengers, maybe severe at peak times. So a sensible approach has to be taken by both parties.

malcolm, I agree with your first point.

I think the obvious answer for allowing sufficient time to safely board all passengers and for avoiding late service penalties would be to run fewer trains more slowly.

Or, put another way, we’re trying to squeeze too much traffic through our current rail infrastructure.

The problem is partly (largely?) commuters where the traffic has had to increase to try to keep pace with demand. Having fewer, slower, trains would exacerbate that situation.

It seems to me that providing those who need assistance allow sufficient extra time to allow them to arrange assistance and ensure staff are on hand at the start of their journey, and providing the ToCs are prepared with the staff and equipment, it should run smoothly. Once the staff know someone requires help, they can contact the destination station to arrange the necessary assistance at the end of the journey.

Another problem is insufficient time given for elderly passengers who rely on walking sticks to board & alight from trains in quiet periods when there are few passengers. If there is no guard (often the case on Southern) the situation can be dangerous.

I would like to share my experience with trains abroad, which have left me speechless by their perfection and structure.

I have just spent two weeks exploring Japan. Their public transport system is a great example of how well-planned infrastructure can create a successful symbiosis between man and machine, and how the two can truly co-exist in harmony.

In busy Tokyo, trains run perfectly on time. If a train is delayed by one minute (or arrives/leaves a bit too early) you get a written apology.

Tokyo`s population is 37 million while the population of London is just around 9 million and still they are able to successfully transport each citizen from A to B. Their common terrible weather conditions, such as floods (after-effects of which I have also witnessed while travelling to Osaka) rarely disrupt their excellent services.

I don’t want to sound too idealistic, there are downsides too: Japanese trains are more overcrowded than in the UK. However, in matters of efficiency and timekeeping, they are definitely a great example for a modern society.

This experience has left me wondering, what made Japanese trains so perfect? Why can’t we just copy that?

In a nutshell, Kristina, it’s absolute obedience and absolute discipline. This is founded on certain ethical, cultural and pathological characteristics of the Japanese way of life that is inculcated at every stage of a person’s development.

Japan has also invested heavily in dedicated tracks and high speed trains to optimise the efficiency and performance of the system. Their achievements are most impressive.

There can be no excuses for the state of affairs on the British railway system at present.

Last (and only) time I was in Japan, my train back to Toyko from Mito ran so late that I nearly missed by flight back to the UK.

Sorry about it, Derek. Seems, nowhere is perfect. Do you know what was the reason for the delay?
This time my trains to Osaka were also cancelled due to the flood, but I was provided with an alternative option.

I had been thinking about this for a long time and yes, I completely agree with you, John, the cultural aspect probably affects the way things work in certain countries.

However, in my opinion, British people are also very disciplined, as I have never seen so many queues in any other country! And whole “after you”, “no, after you” ceremony in the UK also is a significant sign of manners and love for order in the same time.

I’m not so sure. What you say does apply to a certain strata within UK society, but there’s also a significant wedge of the disaffected, the disillusioned, the anarchic or the simply selfish that exist in significant numbers in the UK. Most possibly don’t ride the Trains I suspect, but they’re there, and nowhere is this reflected more than in Education throughout the country.

In Japan teachers are revered and sensei are accorded great respect in Japanese society. That’s about as far as you can get from the way British teachers are treated in some areas in Britain. If we accept John’s premise about the deeply embedded cultural norms of the Japanese, it’s worth reflecting that the way a lot of British children behave at school is a consequence of the Cultural norms here – delivered courtesy of their parents – or parent.

My train was delayed because it was limping along slowly, unable to deliver it’s design speed.

Oh, what a shame, very disappointing. Sorry you had such a bad experience with Japanese trains. But at least when someone is talking about “perfect Japanese trains”, you actually have proof, that sometimes they are not that perfect.

All the other trains I took their worked fine.

And, on my last ride to the conference, a Japanese colleague showed me how to change the working language to English on the ticket machines. Up to then, I’d been enjoying the challenge of using them in Japanese.

Oh! I even didn’t know you can change it to English! I was using them in Japanese for whole 2 weeks and constantly asked everyone to help! Wish we’d spoken earlier about it, Derek!

Glad to hear you escaped the recent floods in Osaka and earthquake in Hokkaido Kristina. I visited Japan in 2005 and was also very impressed by the efficiency of their infrastructure and rail systems. I found it hard to believe the Shinkansen had been in operation since 1964 – absolutely essential to the success of their economy. Everywhere was so clean – no litter anywhere.

The downside for me being, I was propositioned by a Japanese guy whose failed attempt at an American accent failed when I informed him that I was in fact, very English and proud of it!

So happy to know that you had the same positive experience as I did in Japan!

I do agree with you, the bullet train system is impressive, it is definitely a proof of Japanese economy bloom, but also a great step forward for a mankind in the world of technology and development. Did you know, that the maximum operating speed of the bullet train is 320 km/h (200 mph) and test runs have reached up to a world record 603 km/h (375 mph) – just to compare, Jet planes can reach speeds of 885 km/hr (550 mph)?!

And yes, for non-native speakers it can be a bit difficult with accents sometimes. I am sure that the Japanese gentleman meant no harm 🙂

Kristina: the bullet train has never achieved that speed. You’re thinking about the record held by Japan’s experimental maglev train L0 Series, having achieved 603 km/h (375 mph) on a 42.8 km magnetic-levitation track in April 2015. The fastest conventional rail vehicle was France’s specially tuned TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse). Reduced to three cars, it broke the world record in April 2007, reaching 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) on a 140 km section of track.

Yes, I was thinking about Maglev, you are right, that’s why I just wrote “test runs”. Glad we are on the same page, Ian! Have you been on the bullet train? So impressive, isn’t it?

It is, but cramped for those of us who are 6.3″ tall 🙂 It’s hard to beat TGV and Eurostar, though, for speed and comfort.

I agree, I did feel a bit claustrophobic too, I must say!

My another interesting experience was taking a train from Sweden (Malmo) to Denmark (Copenhagen). It started overground, but then it went underwater.

Any other interesting train root ideas?

The Swiss have some wonderful narrow gauge railways.

Keith says:
4 December 2018

SO MANY EVENINGS THIS YEAR SHIVERING ON EAST CROYDON PLATFORM 3 WAITING FOR SOUTHBOUND TRAINS THAT ARE INEVITABLY DELAYED

I agree with correspondent’s comments about our railways being inferior to other countries. A lot of the problems with today’s rail structure is that the franchise system isn’t fit for purpose. The DfT seems to go for the cheapest options for the franchises rather than the one’s which will deliver the best service.

I think another reason why foreign railways are often better than ours is that foreigners and their governments are more will to spend money maintaining and investing in them.

I believe that’s the case now and has always been the case.

There are historic problems with our railways. One is they are essentially Victorian routes into congested cities; changing that is very expensive, as we see with Crossrail for example. Another fundamental one os our loading gauge – particularly a problem with tunnels, that prevents the use of double-decker carriages that can greatly increase the capacity of standard length trains.

We could increase the utilisation of trains by spreading out the rush-hour, having staggered working hours; a lot cheaper than trying to increase capacity.

We need to break out of the “work means being in the office” thing. Yes, some people need to be in the office/ on the shop floor but not everyone or not every day. Investment in fast internet in the suburbs and a culture change will allow more people to work from home if not every day then most days. Office days will enable companies to promote and maintain team working, training, facilitate promotion of company ethos and allow mentoring.
I fully accept that after being an official homework for a number of years, that it is not for everyone. Management have to accept that home workers can sign off at the end of their day and not be disturbed and workers must not think that the office never closes and be drawn into working excessive hours.

David Jones says:
16 October 2018

The thing is – we need trains with more than 2 or 3 carriages on them, not necessarily more services, which only impacts on the congestion already experienced on the busy network. Franchising means the train operating companies won’t hire in any more than they have to, of course, hence the appalling overcrowding.

I agree with you David. Longer trains are the right answer on many routes or at certain times of the day. Whereas ten- or twelve-coach trains are now being introduced on many suburban services, two- or three-car trains remain in many areas; sometimes they should be coupled together to make four-, six- or nine-car trains but there is a shortage of the right rolling stock for the specific route for a variety of reasons. This is being relieved over the next few years as new trains are delivered and displace existing trains for use on other routes or services. It obviously requires investment in additional depot capacity and maintenance resources, and in some places signalling alterations, to cope with the longer trains so it is not always straightforward.

Electrification delays have caused a serious hiccup in the cascade of rolling stock as diesel trains are having to be retained while the electrification programme catches up. Some of these hold-ups will clear in the near future as the wires are switched on and the electric trains can operate allowing the diesels to supplement or replace services elsewhere. Lots of new trains are now appearing on the Great Western routes to Bristol, South Wales and the West Country. These are releasing high-speed trains which will be modified to bring them up to modern standards and re-formed to provide five-coach trains for inter-regional services connecting major towns and cities. The same sort of exercise in replacing, refurbishing, or reconfiguring train formations is happening all over the country leading to a very big increase in capacity.

For many years frequency of services has taken precedence over overall capacity leading to congestion on many routes, especially on commuter lines. As you say, over the years the franchising policy has deterred the train operating companies from investing in capacity because the whole construct was based on a false premise of no growth, whereas in practice the railways in Great Britain are carrying double the number of passengers compared with the number at privatisation. Recent problems with infrastructure failure, timetable chaos and strikes have added to passengers’ woes and are still not fully resolved.

We live in Devon, I’m sure everyone remembers the only train line beyond Exeter to the whole of the Devon and Cornwall being washed away in the winter storms at Dawlish. The train companies especially Great Western Railway worked extremely well during that crisis providing efficient bus links and information, including the work to restore the line. We were promised with great fanfares by the Conservatives in the election campaign that SW would receive huge amounts of investment to our transport infrastructure. However the line is still vulnerable to flooding, landslips and delays whenever we get storms, high tides, heavy rain or floods. Of the two companies with a franchise GRW are investing heavily improving rolling stock and manage to get their trains through no matter the weather, Cross Country on the other hand our link to anywhere other than the GWR route can’t run their trains when it’s wet poor things! Why were Cross Country given a franchise which includes the most vulnerable coastal route in the country? Their trains have been cancelled because the driver hasn’t turned up, the toilets are frequently dirty or not functioning and the buffet will often close or run out of food or hot water after Bristol yet the trains continue for another 4 hours before reaching Penzance.

Whichever company had the franchise for the Cross Country service the same trains would be operated as they would be transferred to the new franchisee.

The problem is the salt water spray that is thrown up during high tides in rough weather; the underfloor engines and control gear don’t like it.

When the existing trains are eventually replaced I would hope the design will be improved to prevent the incursion of sea water. Large rocks might also be used on the foreshore to quell the force of the waves before they hit the sea wall.

There was talk of rerouting this section of line inland, but at great cost. It’s done pretty well since IKB built it. I think wave breakers have been used, but when there is exceptional weather, rain or storms, the best laid plans…….. One plan is to move part of the line further out to sea on a causeway to get it further away from crumbling cliffs.

Phil says:
18 October 2018

” Whichever company had the franchise for the Cross Country service the same trains would be operated as they would be transferred to the new franchisee. ”

Not necessarily. The trains are actually owned by separate companies who lease them to the operators like Cross Country who hold the franchise. Cross Country could easily lease alternative stock.

Yes, but that would require Department for Transport approval, involve a lengthy procurement period, and leave the rolling stock leasing company with trains on its hands with plenty of life left in them and not necessarily a future market – so the premature exit terms would probably be prohibitive and unsustainable within the economics of the franchise [especially for a small one-off set of trains incompatible with their other rolling stock].

Claire Thomas says:
19 October 2018

Which,
Following your advice, I have been trying to claim using delay repay when my trains (Great Northern, now Thameslink) are late. However, I have several times been told my claim is not successful but the rationale is super vague so I can’t see what the problem is. I am told to just submit my claim again using the code “resubmitted claim” or something similar. By now it is weeks after my delayed journey and with no idea why they disagree that I am eligible for a refund I give up …sad but true .. I am busy … But are they counting on this and using this to fob us off and avoid us paying the refunds …?
Could you submit a freedom of information request or similar to find out what proportion of claims are successful/unsuccessful and/or investigate a few unsuccesful cases and find out why they were refused and whether this was the correct decision?

I notice there has been no response from Which? to Claire’s eminently sensible suggestion to explore why the delay-repay compensation claim scheme is failing consumers.

I feel that if Which? is going to launch this kind of Conversation it must resource the follow-up work it generates or at least explain why not.

Morning John. One of our key asks in our huge and widely publicised rail campaign has been for automatic compensation. We agree that people shouldn’t have to spend time going through complicated claims processes – our calls for auto comp are also mentioned in this very topic. We also recently discussed formal rail complaints being completely ignored:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/travel-leisure/rail-complaints-satisfaction-experience/

The launch of the Rail Ombudsman was also another big win for our campaign, and this was updated on here:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/travel-leisure/rail-ombudsman-escalate-complaint-launched/

However, I agree with you it’s unfortunate we didn’t get back to Claire here (sometimes comments do get missed. Claire – my apologies). I’ve sent this comment to our author, Gen, and will hope she can provide a more comprehensive explanation of our views on the current delay repay system.

I also use the delay repay system on and almost daily basis and agree with Claire – it’s badly designed, slow, time-consuming and feels like it’s trying to fobb you off. I too have had many claims turned down incorrectly.

Thank you, George.

I trust Which? is recognising the number of people who have expressed objections to automatic delay compensation in these Conversations. They have a point even if their view does not prevail so there might be a case for an opt-out provision.

In an ideal world a compensation claim would be an annual [or less frequent] event rather than a daily one.

It will be interesting to see whether the CAA’s action against Ryanair who refused to pay delay compensation when flights were affected by workers’ strikes will lead to a precedent that could affect the railways. The CAA are seeking a ruling that a strike is not an “exceptional circumstance” under which an airline is exempt from having to provide compensation. If it is held by the Court, in line with certain other European jurisdictions, that a strike is an exceptional circumstance then the train operating companies will surely seek to apply it to themselves.

You’re welcome. If there are objections to automatic compensation then we’d take them onboard (pardon the pun).

The situation with Ryanair is indeed interesting and something we’re very much involved with: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2018/12/ryanair-faces-action-over-compensation-for-cancellations/

As you say, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see rail companies adopting this ruling, should it be upheld.

The title of this convo:
Update: train pain – our railways are stagnating while prices soar

George said:
I also use the delay repay system on an almost daily basis

We now have an ombudsman that has to be paid for.

I want to say something really sarcastic here, but will refrain and stick to…..

Which? needs to give serious consideration to the consequences of pushing for compensation and how it affects those that already struggle to pay for their train travel. Which? staff might be able to afford annual season tickets, but many lower paid workers will not have that luxury and can thank Which? for their increased fares.

Hi alfa. I don’t think that’s an entirely fair comparison – the amount paid out in compensation by rail companies is incredibly small – owing mostly to the fact that a tiny proportion of passengers who are eligible actually make a claim. According to this article:

https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2016/dec/31/train-companies-pocket-millions-delays

‘Less than 0.5% of GTR’s turnover is paid out in compensation; across the industry only one third of eligible passengers obtain a payout.’

When delays are attributed to Network Rail, NR must then compensate the train operators. The same article (albeit from 2016) mentions that operators picked up £107m from those delays – passing on just £26m to passengers (an £81m profit!). GTR specifically is already paid a flat-fee to run the service by the government (around £1bn).

The Rail Delivery Group’s own press release sets out why fares have increased yet again:

https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/media-centre/press-releases/2018/469774758-2018-11-30.html

I don’t think it’s right to say ‘thank Which? for increased fares’ – we’re calling for a better service, with compensation being paid fairly when it’s due. We’re paying more than ever but the service is getting worse – something is broken somewhere, and we’ll keep campaigning to fix it.

Hi George,
This reminds me of our internet service. Every time we get more than a shower of rain, we lose the internet. We phone up Sky and the first thing they do is give us compensation instead of getting the problem fixed. We and probably the other 20 or so households affected would rather have a reliable internet and landline service than compensation. We tell them what and where the problem is that has been going on for many years, but it does not get sorted out once and for all. The manpower wasted on telephone calls, line-testing, replacement equipment, engineer visits to the exchange and properties will by now mount up to a darn sight more moneywise than getting the problem fixed and it has be funded from somewhere.

As you say, your first link is 2 years old before automatic compensation was introduced. If you and everyone else on your train service are now claiming almost daily for compensation, how is this helping to sort out your service?

Which? is in a position to ask questions and get answers. Why is there an almost daily problem with your service? What can be done to improve the situation? I fully support action campaigning to fix the problems but people and organisations need to talk to each other and work together to achieve results.

But demanding compensation is only diverting funds from where they are needed and will only push up the cost of travel.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Why can’t Which? campaign for a speedy and reliable on-demand compensation scheme? That’s all that consumers are asking for. Adding ‘automatic’ to it will only delay its introduction and cause more waste of fare-payers’ money.

The fact that Virgin Trains introduced automatic delay-repay does not mean it should become the industry standard. With an automatic process commuters will have to make a diary note of the journeys they think have triggered a refund and check their bank accounts to see if the payment has arrived – and will it identify the date and time of travel?

With an on-demand process the passenger can easily keep a note of their claim on the part of the form that they don’t hand in.

People like George who has to claim compo almost every working day would soon get in a muddle reconciling the delays and the automatic payments.

I can predict the objection – “we have to go paperless to save the planet”. A government that cancels the electrification of significant stretches of the railways should not be entitled to use that argument.

Morning alfa. Automatic compensation hasn’t been introduced yet, and the numbers of people who claim for what they’re owed are still very low. Funds aren’t being diverted from improvements to compensation – as I explained; Network Rail compensates the operators for delays attributed as its fault, but this money isn’t getting passed on. I think we’d all agree it’s better off in the pockets of overcharged, inconvenienced and struggling passengers than it is in the pockets of the profitable operators. Indeed in no industy fare rise announcement has the relatively minimal (and required as per franchising agreements) cost of compensation been cited as a reason for increasing fares.

Which? is asking serious questions of both the operators and the government to stop the railway from running in the industry’s interests and start running it for passengers. A video timeline of our progress can be seen here:

https://twitter.com/WhichUK/status/1070369449415458816

While updates are available here, along with exactly what we’re calling for:

https://campaigns.which.co.uk/train-hell-rail-passengers/

We have regular meetings with passenger groups, the Department for Transport and other stakeholders (such as the Rail Delivery Group) in order to work together to fix these problems. It’ll take time, but we’re making progress. We’d all much rather live in a world in which compensation is rare, but until that happens passengers don’t deserve to be paying extortionate fees for a second-rate, miserable service.

Kevin Wilkins says:
19 October 2018

I used to used scotlrail to travel from Airdrie to Edinburgh park but the service became so unreliable and over crowded that I chose to go by car. Most days it takes me less time door to door and it is costing me less than half of what it used to by train.

Peter says:
4 December 2018

What I feel is so unfair is that huge fare increases are proposed for January, at a time when people are expected to be about £1000 a year worse off because of the effect of Brexit, and after a year of constant delays and cancellations. At our station, no service is supplied at all on strike days, nor any replacement bus services. All this has had a massive effect on work (especially for the self-employed who lose income when they cannot travel to work, and also on family life due to late returns home in the evening. I have regularly directly emailed the CEO of Southwestern railway to freeze fares in January: he replies, but he always refuses to do freeze fares blaming a reducing level of government subsidy.

Like the rest of the country going to pot all because MPs and government think only of themselves and lining their pockets..Don’t care a bit about the future of the country and the children of the future..

We run a Victorian Railway with the same attitudes by the people who work in it and run it. They do not care about passengers, so treat them like cattle, and charge exorbitant fares.
You can see how bad our rail system is if you travel on German DB railways who run clean trains on time, with seating for all, and give passengers full information all the time.
Who would have thought that a new timetable offering MORE Trains could result in CANCELLATION of hundreds of trains ?
The system is broken and corrupt, and MUST be changed.

If this had been in a private company they would have been dismissed along with Chris Grayling.

The government should step in and refuse to let the train companies increase the cost of tickets, if they do get rid of them. But hey the government doesn’t give toss.

My local M.P. David Morris for Morecambe and Lunesdale is a complete pratt. I wrote to him regarding the poor service Northern Trains were giving to their customers, and they were not fit for purpose. I insisted they were removed from the rail franchise immediately, they were chosen to run trains but they were not doing so. I do not want their managers to say sorry I want them to run trains, which they still are not doing. I maintain that they are in breach of their rail contract. I had to repeat my concerns in a second letter as he did not answer my questions, second letter still not answered my questions. My M.P. would not engage in Northern being removed from their. franchise.

Rail privatisation was supposed to give us choice – all we have in our area is Hobson’s Choice – Northern Rail. Not worth using the trains if and when they turn up – they are dirty, old and uncomfortable. They reek of diesel fumes and pollute our atmosphere.

it should never have been privatized in the firt place the trains were running pretty good before..stupidity

This whole thing is SO TOTALY GRAYLING.