Report reveals concerns saying Kirklees ‘trains are less reliable now than a year ago’

Dewsbury train station
Dewsbury train station

The performance of north Kirklees’ two main rail operators is now worse than this time last year after several months of deteriorating service for customers, a new report has revealed.

The Transport for the North performance report for Northern and TransPennine Express said levels of reliability are now lower than in the same period for 2018, when the North was still recovering from the timetable chaos of May.

Rail officials say the operators have been hit particularly hard by severe weather events such as the flood risk in the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge, cancellations caused by a lack of a train crew and train failures.

But Tom Davidson, Transport Planner at Transport for the North, wrote: “The downturn in reliability is a significant concern going into the autumn, when demand traditionally increases and the effects of leaf fall can have an impact on performance”.

A review of Britain’s railways, independently chaired by former British Airways executive Keith Williams, is expected to report back later this year.

Coun Judith Blake, a member of the TfN board, said: ““It’s extremely disappointing to get the confirmation that passengers in the North continue to experience unacceptable performance in terms of punctuality and reliability.

For TransPennine Express, its public performance measure - equating to the number of trains running on time - was 70.9 per cent between July 21 and August 17, compared with 75.7 per cent for the same period last year and 85.2 per cent in the period between December 9.

Over the 28 days, an average of 42 trains were cancelled or part-cancelled every day, representing 12.9 per cent of all services. The operator says 60 per cent of the cancellations were caused by other operators or Network Rail.

Northern’s public performance measure was 79.4 per cent, down from 82.2 per cent a year ago and 86.8 per cent between December and May. An average of 139 trains a day were cancelled or part-cancelled each day, representing 5.3 per cent of services. Of these, 90 each day were caused by Northern itself.

TransPennine Express said: “Performance has improved this month and we are working hard to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible service for our customers.”