Published on: Thursday, 10 June 2021
Last updated: Friday, 11 June 2021
Greater Anglia was the most punctual long-distance train operator last year, new independent figures reveal.
75.8% of its Norwich – Ipswich – Colchester - London Intercity services ran on time during 2020 according to a new stringent measurement requiring trains to arrive within 59 seconds of the scheduled time.
This represents a 9.3% improvement on the previous year.
The figures were announced by Modern Railways Magazine’s Fourth Friday Club and the Institution of Railway Operators at the industry ‘Golden Whistles’ awards 2021.
Greater Anglia was also recognised for improving the punctuality of its commuter services by 7.3% compared to the previous year in the category for London and South East operators. This is the second year in a row that the operator has received this award.
The Institution of Railway Operators measured all UK train services for 12 months up to 12th December 2020 on a moving annual average using industry data.
They used the new ‘on time’ measurement where trains have to arrive within 59 seconds of their scheduled time, including at all intermediate stations on the journey rather than just at the destination station.
This is gradually replacing the national ‘Public Performance Measure’ (PPM) which classes a service as on time if it arrives at its destination within 5 or 10 minutes of its scheduled time, depending on the route and is the punctuality measure in Greater Anglia’s current contract with the Department for Transport. It has been the standard national measure since regular rail performance results started being published in the 1990s.
The rail industry has committed to working towards using the ‘on time’ figure as the standard measurement.
Greater Anglia’s Head of Performance and Planning, Keith Palmer, said: "Although there is more to do to continually improve our performance, I’m pleased that the hard work of our engineers, depot and fleet teams is leading to better, more punctual services for rail passengers in the region.
"We’ve invested millions in reliability improvements to trains across the entire network and the continued roll out of our fleet of brand new trains will help to provide the consistent and improving levels of service that our customers expect."
Glen Merryman, South East Area Chair of the Institution of Railway Operators, said "Winning one Golden Whistle is an achievement but to win a Gold and a Silver in the same year is a massive success and testament to the effort and focus that has gone in to delivering exemplary performance.
"These achievements are against a back drop of Covid 19 timetable changes and the introduction of an entirely new fleet of trains which are already improving punctuality for our customers.
"Congratulations to all at Greater Anglia for two very well deserved awards."
Network Rail Anglia’s Operations Director, David Davidson, said: "Last year, colleagues from Network Rail, Greater Anglia and the wider industry stepped up together to keep the railway running reliably during a national pandemic. We should be proud of the results we achieved, and aim to increase performance even more in future.
"Alongside the roll out of Greater Anglia’s new trains, we are taking innovative new approaches to delivering a more reliable railway, from the signal box to the maintenance depot. Together, we are driving down delays for passengers."
Greater Anglia also recently reported record-breaking annual PPM punctuality for the last 12 months with just under 95 per cent of Anglia trains running on time – with punctuality on some individual routes even higher.
The top six performing routes for the last year were: Norwich – Great Yarmouth, with 97.4 per cent of trains on time; Marks Tey – Sudbury, 97.0 per cent; Norwich – Sheringham, 96.8 per cent; Norwich – Lowestoft, 96.7 per cent, Norwich – Cambridge 95.9 per cent and Ipswich to Felixstowe, 95.7 per cent.
Annual results reached record levels across all lines with rural services at 95.3 per cent, Great Eastern services at 94.7 per cent, West Anglia services at 94.6 per cent, Intercity services at 93.7 per cent and Stansted Express services at 92.9 per cent.
No route fell below 90 per cent of trains running on time – for the first time in the history of not just Greater Anglia, but its predecessors too.