Transpennine: The true scope of cancellations was discovered

the Transpennine Express

The rail regulator's figures have revealed the full extent of cancellations made by the Transpennine Express rail franchise.

In a period of four weeks, the company canceled 1,048 trains and 312 partial trains before 22:30 GMT on the day before they were scheduled to run.

These cancellations weren't counted in official statistics because they weren't made public on the day they occurred.

According to Transpennine, such decisions "were not taken lightly.".

When an emergency timetable is required due to bad weather or damage to rail infrastructure, these advance cancellations, also known as P-coding cancellations, are typically used. .

But in each instance, the Transpennine trains—which run through the North of England and into Scotland—were postponed because there weren't enough train crew members to go around.

In the four weeks leading up to February 4th, it far exceeded any other rail operator in the number of cancellations it made in this manner. As an illustration, government-owned Northern reported 182 complete cancellations, Transport for Wales 30, and LNER 17, all of which were attributed to a lack of staff.

The Office of Road and Rail (ORR) regulator, who released the data, claimed that when P-coding was taken into account, Transpennine's cancellations score for that time period increased from an official 8.9 percent to 23.7 percent.

According to previous statements made by Transpennine, it only uses planned cancellations "when resources are not available to cover advertised services in order to maximize advance notice of service changes for customers.".

"Combined impact of prolonged higher-than-usual sickness levels, the significant driver training program to facilitate the delivery of the Transpennine route upgrade, and an aligned lack of a driver overtime agreement," it claimed, were to blame.

"As a result, it has become necessary to daily cancel services in order to remove them from the schedule. ".

Nevertheless, the ORR, which released these data for the first time on Friday, has criticized the practice.

The regulatory body stated in January that cancellations were at "record levels" and that its investigation "confirmed a further gap between cancellations statistics and the passenger experience.".

This was "driven by an increased number of unrecorded 'pre-cancellations,'" according to the statement.

"For a traveler, this might imply that a train they had planned to catch when they went to bed could vanish from the schedule by the time they arrived at the station without being aware that the train had been cancelled. ".

The contract with Transpennine, which expires on May 28, has been called for to be withdrawn by Labour and some Conservative MPs. .

Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary for Labour, claimed last month that the service had "never been worse.".

Passengers were "confused and frustrated," according to Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, when a train they expected to board was cancelled the day before they were scheduled to travel. They may be surprised to learn that this doesn't count as a cancellation.

Things like this leave a bad taste in the mouth and undermine public confidence in the railroad. The problem has been brought to light by the extent of this so-called "P-coding" on some operators recently. We are pleased to represent the passenger viewpoint in industry discussions on how to allay regulator's worries.

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