Govia Thameslink now ‘most punctual’ - but one in four trains still late

Govia Thameslink are one of the country's most reliable train operators, according to new figures. P

Govia Thameslink are one of the country's most reliable train operators, according to new figures. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Govia Thameslink Railway is now the most punctual major rail operator based on the latest statistics – but one in four trains are still late.

The Office of Rail and Road released figures last week which show that 71.2 per cent of all GTR trains ran on time - a 7.4 per cent increase over the same quarter last year.

This makes GTR - which operates the Thameslink and Great Northern services - more punctual than any other major operator in the last period, delivering 'on time' services at six per cent above the national average.

The figures also show that GTR is cancelling less trains than last year, by a reduction of 1.1 per cent. However, the 4.2 per cent of GTR trains cancelled over the quarter means GTR ranks as the second worst major operator for this metric.

On the whole, the latest figures represent a boost for GTR after receiving heavy criticism in recent years over the service's declining performance. This time last year, GTR was still recovering from the timetable chaos of May 2018 which caused severe delays, cancellations and overcrowding. In 2018, GTR cancelled more trains that any other train operator, with 23,000 cancelled trains.

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Steve White, Govia Thameslink's chief operating officer, said: "These figures again demonstrate the continuous punctuality improvements that are being delivered for our passengers, with a 7.4 per cent year-on-year improvement. Staff at Network Rail and GTR can be proud to have delivered a higher level of punctuality during the summer.

"There is much more to do. We continue to work hard with our industry partners to improve all aspects of travel on our network, with our focus on providing a safe, on-time railway."

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Jon Cooke, member of Hitchin Rail Commuters Campaign group, commented that "while the data may show GTR improving overall", it does not "reflect the situation in Hitchin".

He added: "According to Hitchin is ranked 1,527 out of 2,619 stations - with only 44% of trains on time in the last 12 weeks. This is clearly unacceptable and reflects the reality facing Hitchin commuters and rail users, which needs addressing urgently."

Tom Moran, managing director for Thameslink and Great Northern, was also forced to apologise this morning, after a spate of delays and cancellations disrupted the service last week.

Mr Moran said: "I am acutely conscious that this last week hasn't been the reliable, punctual service our customers deserve. We have a plan, jointly with Network Rail, to address these problems."

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