Govia Thameslink Railway worst in UK for cancellations in 2018

Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Great Northern train services, had the highest number of cancel

Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Great Northern train services, had the highest number of cancellations in the UK in 2018. Picture: Great Northern - Credit: Archant

Govia Thameslink had more cancellations last year than any other train company in the UK, according to recent statistics.

The Office of Rail and Road released statistics which show that 23,000 GTR trains were cancelled in the first quarter of 2018/2019, out of nearly 299,000 planned services.

In the second quarter of 2018/2019 23,000 GTR trains were also cancelled, out of nearly 318,000 services. The quarters follow the financial year, so the first quarter is from April 1 to June 30, and the second is for the three months following that.

The train company with the second highest number of cancelled services was Northern, with 11,000 trains cancelled out of more than 213,000 planned for the first quarter of 2018/2019, and with 8,315 out of just over 220,000 cancelled in the second quarter.

The most reliable train service in the country was the Caledonian Sleeper, with 10 trains cancelled in the first quarter and 18 in the second.

Thameslink introduced a new timetable on May 20 last year, which led to widespread delays and cancellations, largely due to staff shortages as train crews adjusted to the changes.

An interim timetable was introduced on Sunday, July 15 to try to address the issues, which saw a slight improvement in services.

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The Monday following the interim timetable’s introduction 55.9 per cent of Thameslink trains arrived at their scheduled time, compared to 46.6 per cent of trains between May 27 and June 23.

A GTR spokesman said: “The proportion of services cancelled because of train crew issues peaked sharply immediately after last May’s timetable changes, at almost five per cent.

“This was because, given extremely short notice, we were unable to match our drivers’ route knowledge and home depots to all of the new service patterns required.

“This was reduced quickly by introducing the interim timetable in July, and has fallen steadily since to the previous year’s level of around one per cent or less, with 400 more daily services now running.

“Thanks to the UK’s largest ever recruitment and training programme, we now have over 2,000 qualified drivers and a further 300 in training, more than enough for our fleet of 535 trains in normal circumstances.”