Yorkshire's six months of rail chaos exposed: Thousands of trains cancelled at least-reliable stations in UK

Tens of thousands of train services in Yorkshire have been cancelled or significantly delayed in the six months since botched timetable changes took effect - with the region's railways now among the least reliable in the country.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 24th November 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 24th November 2018, 1:29 pm
Passengers wait for service announcements at Leeds railway station. Picture: Simon Hulme
Passengers wait for service announcements at Leeds railway station. Picture: Simon Hulme

New analysis by The Yorkshire Post today reveals the extent of the ongoing problems which have engulfed the region’s rail network since May 20, when the largest-ever revision of the national rail timetable came into effect but caused chaos across Northern England.

Figures from the performance tracking website On Time Trains for the past six months show three of Yorkshire’s four busiest stations are in the bottom ten nationally for cancelled and delayed trains.

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Commuters leaving Sheffield railway station, which has seen hundreds of trains cancelled in the past six months.

York, where more than 2,000 services have been cancelled, is the worst of the 100 busiest stations in the country - with Huddersfield second-worst and Sheffield seventh.

Leeds is 12th worst - making it the best performer of Yorkshire’s major railway stations. But even in Leeds, which handles more than twice the number of services than York, almost 3,500 trains have been cancelled, with one in ten trains using the station over 10 minutes late.

In contrast, nine of the top 10 best-performing stations are in London, with only Liverpool Central in eighth place breaking the pattern.

London Fenchurch Street is the country’s best-performing station, with 82 per cent of trains arriving on time.

Smaller stations in Yorkshire fare even worse, making up half of the ten worst-performing stations in the entire country. For four of them, it has been more likely a train will be over 10 minutes late than arrive on time in the past six months.

Slaithwaite in the Colne Valley is the worst performer in the entire country, with just five per cent of services arriving on time - the same percentage as the number that have been cancelled.

Ravensthorpe in West Yorkshire is the third-worst, where only seven per cent of trains have been on time, while Batley is the sixth-worst. Dewsbury is eighth and Malton ninth.

There was not a single Yorkshire station in the top 100 best performers, with the highest-ranked being the little-used Snaith in East Yorkshire, which was in 148th position.

Conservative MP for Pudsey and Defence Minister Stuart Andrew told The Yorkshire Post today, “these figures are not good enough”.

“We need rail companies and the network to redouble the efforts to sort this out so that hard working passengers and constituents get the service they expect and deserve,” he said.

Earlier this week, it was revealed public spending on transport in Yorkshire and Humber fell by £18 per person in a year while increasing £90 in London. A report by IPPR North found spending was £315 per person compared to £1,019 in the capital.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train operators, Network Rail and the rail supply chain, said: “Every minute counts for our customers and while the number of incidents causing delays and cancellations is going down, each incident is having a bigger impact due to congestion on the network. Working together the rail industry is delivering unprecedented investment to increase capacity across the country by tackling bottlenecks and easing pressure on the busiest parts of the railway.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport, which has challenged the IPPR figures, said: “We want performance to improve which is why this Government is investing more than ever in the railway over the next five years, including £3 billion to upgrade the railway between Manchester, Leeds and York.

“Today there are more services running on both Northern and TransPennine Express than earlier this year.”