Revealed - the most delayed trains between Norwich and London
Attention all passengers, it is the news every commuter dreads to hear over the station tannoy.
Today the Evening News can reveal the shocking state of our region’s railways, where more than 90pc of some train services are routinely delayed.
Seven of Abellio Greater Anglia’s services between Norwich and London Liverpool Street were late on more than 200 occasions in 2017.
The figures were compiled by Raildar, which logs train firms’ performance compared to their timetables.
In 2015, Network Rail said it was investing £170m to improve performance on the Norwich to London Liverpool Street line. It came after Abellio was ranked fifth-worst of 23 UK train operators, with 14pc of services arriving late.
One thing that never fails to arrive on time are rail firms’ annual price rises. This month companies were allowed to up fares by 3.6pc - the biggest increase in five years. That saw an off-peak return from Norwich to London increase from £53.10 to £55.
Green Norwich city councillor and member of Nor4Nor (Norfolk for Nationalisation of Rail) Lesley Grahame said: “What’s the use of Norwich in 90 if people can’t afford it? It’ll be Norwich in £90 before it happens.
“Money needs spending more effectively by people who have a public service ethos.”
Across the county five of the worst offenders were off-peak trains between King’s Lynn and London King’s Cross, operated by Govia Thameslink, which were late between 229 and 234 days last year. The worst, the 09:54 from Lynn to London, ran on time on just 10 occasions in 2017.
While many of the delays average out at a few minutes, another of the region’s two main rail operators was singled out as one of the worst in the country.
A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) said around 146,000 trains (7.7pc of services) have either been cancelled or delayed by more than half an hour since Govia began operating its franchise, which includes the Lynn to London line in July 2015. That compares with 2.8pc on the rest of the network.
The NAO said much of the disruption was caused by a shortage of train crews. Its head Amyas Morse said: “Over the last three years, long-suffering passengers on the Thameslink franchise have experienced the worst performance on the rail network.”
ABELLIO: WE’RE WORKING TO IMPROVE
Abellio Greater Anglia, which operates trains between Norwich and London Liverpool Street, said it was working to improve the performance of its services.
A spokesman for the Dutch-owned franchise said: “We know every minute matters to our customers which is why Greater Anglia is working with Network Rail to improve punctuality.
“We’re spending £5m on making our existing trains more reliable, and constantly challenging our award-winning engineers to come up with new innovations to improve them. We’re spending £1.4bn on new trains which will start to come into service from 2019.
“We recognise that any delay is inconvenient for customers, which is why we have improved our delay repay compensation scheme, so that customers can receive compensation payments in a way most convenient to them.
“We’re also planning to introduce automatic delay repay.”
GOVIA: IT’S NOT OUR FAULT
Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates services between King’s Lynn and London King’s Cross, said it was not to blame for the delays to its trains.
A spokesman for the company, which has the highest passenger number of passengers on the network, said: “A significant proportion of the causes of these delays, such as those with the rail infrastructure, are beyond our control.
“We operate over some of the most congested routes in the country, where passenger numbers have doubled in as little as 12 years, so any problems can knock on to cause widespread service disruption. We’re modernising the service to address this. Our recast of the timetable in May has been specifically designed to create more capacity where it’s most needed and to give passengers a more reliable railway. Part of this rewrite will be to improve the way trains wait and pass one another on the single track railway between Lynn and Cambridge.”