This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 27/11/2018.
REVEALED: The remarkable number of Southern and Thameslink trains cancelled last year
One in every 23 trains run by Govia Thameslink was either fully or partially cancelled.
New figures have revealed the staggering number of Southern and Thameslink trains that were cancelled last financial year.
Analysis of figures from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) show that Govia Thameslink (which runs Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services) cancelled more trains than any other company in the country between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018.
Out of 1,141,500 Govia trains that were planned during that 12-month period a total of 49,872 trains were cancelled.
This works out as one in every 23 trains.
Although the number of cancelled trains may seem extraordinary it actually appears to be a huge reduction.
This figure – during a year when there were a number of strikes during a long-running industrial dispute – didn’t take into account Thameslink, Great Northern or Gatwick Express services.
The ORR defines a “full” cancellation as happening when a train either never starts its journey, or stops before it gets halfway.
A “partial” cancellation happens when a train stops after covering more than half its journey, or misses out one or more stops.
At the other end of the spectrum to Govia was Chiltern Railways.
Just one in every 83 passenger train services was cancelled across its network in 2017/18.
There are 23 franchised train operators running on the UK’s railway system, which was privatised between 1994 and 1997.
It means operators can set their own fares without government regulation.
Train cancellations may often be beyond operators’ control, and could also be caused by infrastructure faults, severe weather or trespassers.
There were 7.3 million scheduled passenger train services that should have run in 2017/18 – but 188,616 were fully or partially cancelled, or didn’t call at all their planned stops.
That works out as one in every 39 passenger train services that were cancelled.
It is a rate that has worsened over time.
Modern records go back as far as 2014/15, when one in every 55 train services across the UK was cancelled.
Most – but not all – train companies operate a system known as “delay repay”, which means that passengers can get part or all of the money spent on their ticket refunded depending on if their train was cancelled or significantly delayed.