UK Train Services For Transport

Britain’s trains have had their least reliable year since records began.

The figures show that 3.6% of planned trains were cancelled or part-cancelled in the 12 months to 23 July, according to analysis of Office of Rail and Road data by PA Media. The news agency said it was the highest proportion in records dating back to 2015.

The disruption includes repeated strikes, severe weather conditions and Covid-related staff absences. Cancellations have surged in recent weeks after strike action over jobs, pay and conditions.

Avanti West Coast cancelled 16.2% of its services in the latest four-week period between 26 June and 23 July. That is the highest figure in any recorded period for the west coast franchise, which runs trains between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

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Avanti has come under fire for drastically reducing its timetable, with Labour saying it should be stripped of its contract if services are not restored.

Avanti has said it is facing staff shortages caused by drivers engaging in an “unofficial strike”, with a sharp decline in the number who are voluntarily working on their rest days for extra pay.

But the drivers’ union Aslef says this is “disingenuous” and blames the company for failing to employ enough drivers.

Other operators that had their highest cancellation scores on record in the four weeks to 23 July include CrossCountry (10.3%), LNER (7.4%) and Merseyrail (5.5%).