UK rail passengers lost almost four million hours to significantly delayed train journeys in 2018 – making it the worst year since records have been held, according to Which? research. The staggering level of delays – 3,928,560 hours in total – relates to 8.1 million passenger journeys and meant around 80 trains per day were significantly delayed.
The National Audit Office has concluded that high levels of disruption for passengers mean that, to date, the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise has “not delivered value for money”. The department for transport franchise to support the delivery of the major Thameslink upgrade programme and improve passengers’ experience of services.
Rail fares have gone up by an average of 3.4 per cent in the UK, the highest increase in five years. While protests are planned across the country in opposition to the rise, the department for transport argued increases were capped in line with inflation.
The UK government has backed transport improvements across the northern of England with £400 million of extra funding. More than £100 million will go towards local road schemes to bust congestion pinch-points and speed up journeys, while an extra £300 million will help push forward plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail to bolster links between Northern towns and cities with more frequent and faster services.
Caledonian Sleeper has offered a glimpse of its brand new £150 million fleet of trains ahead of their introduction next year. A dedicated website has been launched where details of the trains will continue to be revealed ahead of their phased introduction to service from spring 2018.
The UK department of transport has scrapped plans to electrify railway lines in Wales, the Midlands and the North. The cost of the proposed plans had spiralled upward, leading the government to rethink the initiative.
Seven rail companies in the UK have agreed to allow passengers to buy advance tickets until as close as ten minutes before a journey starts. Such tickets are often cheaper for travellers.
Following two weeks of intensive talks, ASLEF and GTR Southern have reached a provision agreement on the long-running dispute between the two. The talks have sought to resolve the on-going dispute between train divers and Southern Rail.
Measures to improve ticketing information for passengers and make it easier for people to choose the best value fare for their journey were agreed earlier at a forum co-hosted by rail minister Paul Maynard. Working alongside consumer organisation Which?, the department for transport, the Rail Delivery Group and Transport Focus have come together to develop the proposals.
SNCF has introduced newly-designed TGV Océane trains on the line linking Paris-Montparnasse station with Bordeaux and Toulouse in south-western France. SNCF Voyageurs chief executive Florence Parly joined by Alain Vidalies, French minister of state for transport, oceans and fisheries on the first train as it left Bordeaux-St-Jean station.
UK transport secretary Chris Grayling has set out plans for improved coordination across track renewal and train operations in England. Plans include the creation of East West Rail, the first new integrated rail operation in decades that is separate to Network Rail, and the closer alignment of incentives between the management of infrastructure and the operation of train services.