Ser­vice im­prove­ment – but is­sues still to be solved

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views -

IT is just over a month since Trans­port for Wales took over from Ar­riva Trains Wales – and its per­for­mance fig­ures may sur­prise you.

Ev­ery four weeks, fig­ures are pub­lished show­ing how each train op­er­a­tor fares.

Since Trans­port for Wales took over on Oc­to­ber 14, 88.9% of ser­vices ran their en­tire planned jour­ney, called at all sched­uled sta­tions and ar­rived at their ter­mi­nat­ing sta­tion within five min­utes of the sched­uled time. That is up by 0.9% on the same pe­riod last year, when Ar­riva Trains Wales was in charge.

Some 4% of ser­vices were can­celled or were sig­nif­i­cantly late. That is down 0.4% since the same pe­riod last year.

How­ever, the fig­ures pub­lished by Net­work Rail show the num­ber of is­sues which the “train com­pany could have pre­vented such as de­fec­tive trains or a lack of train staff” has gone up from 30.7% un­der Ar­riva to 41.5% un­der Trans­port for Wales.

Trans­port for Wales says it has more trains than ever off the tracks for re­pairs with one in four trains cur­rently out of ac­tion.

Last week, the new op­er­a­tor said that a fifth of its trains were out of ac­tion and await­ing re­pairs due to leaves. Around 25 of its trains out of a 127-strong fleet were un­der­go­ing main­te­nance and re­pairs.

To­day how­ever, the num­ber of trains out of ac­tion has gone up – it is now 36 out of the to­tal fleet of 127 out of ac­tion, one in four.

While ex­treme weather – which is de­fined as tem­per­a­tures be­low -5C or above 30C, storm winds of more than 65mph, snow of depth greater than 15cm or rain­fall greater than 150mm in a 24-hour pe­riod – is blamed for 0.6% of the de­lays.

But Trans­port for Wales says that while the fig­ures show 41.6% of de­lays are classed as some­thing it could have pre­vented, many are things out­side of its con­trol.

The weather can also cause dam­age to trains and is counted within the fig­ures as a de­fec­tive train which the op­er­a­tor has to ad­dress.

The op­er­a­tor says it is look­ing at send­ing trains for re­pairs away from its own de­pots to speed up re­pairs.

No date for the 36 trains to re­join the net­work can yet be pro­vided.

Lack of staff is also some­thing the op­er­a­tor is blamed for. That can be due to a num­ber of rea­sons, ac­cord­ing to the op­er­a­tor. Sick­ness is one, and if un­fore­seen sick­ness comes at a time when other staff are on an­nual leave it can re­sult in a short­age.

If a crew is in­volved in a fa­tal­ity, it can mean a longer spell off for the driver, for ex­am­ple, to re­ceive coun­selling.

Trans­port for Wales has taken out a full page ad­vert to apol­o­gise to cus­tomers who have ex­pe­ri­enced can­cel­la­tions, de­lays or trains with­out enough car­riages.

The ad­vert which ap­peared in the Welsh me­dia was ti­tled “We’re sorry”, to apol­o­gise.

It reads: “We’re sorry that over re­cent weeks too many trains have been can­celled, de­layed, or have ar­rived with fewer car­riages than nor­mal.

“We know that over­crowd­ing and un­cer­tainty are big chal­lenges for peo- ple, and we want to apol­o­gise that you haven’t re­ceived the ser­vice that you de­serve and ex­pect.

“Safety is our top pri­or­ity. On­go­ing is­sues as­so­ci­ated with re­cent storms in com­bi­na­tion with age­ing trains have led to an un­prece­dented num­ber of our trains be­ing out of ser­vice, and this has meant we have had to run re­duced ser­vices across the whole of our net­work. 36 trains out of a to­tal fleet of 127 are cur­rently un­der re­pair.

“We are run­ning ad­di­tional buses to re­place ser­vices that have been can­celled and to pro­vide ex­tra ca­pac­ity where we ex­pect trains will be very busy.

“This will con­tinue for as long as is needed, but we’re also work­ing hard to safely and ef­fec­tively re­turn trains back into ser­vice.

“Our en­gi­neers are work­ing around the clock to re­pair the ex­ist­ing fleet of trains and keep the tracks clear of de­bris dur­ing the blus­tery and slip- pery au­tumn weather.

“Our main­te­nance de­pots are op­er­at­ing 24 hours a day, and we are work­ing with sup­pli­ers to speed up these es­sen­tial re­pairs.

“We know that you, our cus­tomers, de­serve bet­ter from your rail ser­vices in Wales and the Bor­ders, and this is not what you ex­pected from your new op­er­a­tor.

“We apol­o­gise for the in­con­ve­nience and want to re­as­sure you that we are do­ing all we can to im­prove ser­vice lev­els as soon as pos­si­ble.

“You can find more in­for­ma­tion about ser­vice dis­rup­tion and claim­ing com­pen­sa­tion for de­lays by vis­it­ing www.tfwrail. wales.

“We are at the be­gin­ning of the jour­ney to trans­form rail ser­vices in Wales, but change takes time”.

The let­ter is signed by chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer for TFW Rick Davey and Net­work Rail’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Ali­son Thomp­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.