Complaints about trains rise by 60 per cent as Weston commuters struggle to get to work on time
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 July 2018
A rise in significantly delayed and cancelled trains in North Somerset is leaving commuters late for work.
Complaints about the service run by train operator Great Western Railway (GWR) have risen by 60 per cent in the past year. From December 2017 to March this year, 6.1 per cent of trains were significantly delayed by 30-120 minutes, or were cancelled.
GWR admits network improvements have ‘come at a price’.
Rory Sparshott, who commutes between Weston and Bristol Temple Meads, said the frequent cancellations leave him late for work regularly.
He said: “The two trains I use are late more often than not. I get a 10 per cent discount from GWR every month because of the delays, which speaks for itself. It is getting worse as well.”
In the past year, four per cent of trains were cancelled, a rise of 1.5 per cent compared to 2016-17.
A GWR spokesman said it is making ‘visible and tangible’ progress towards upgrading its infrastructure and trains, which will mean faster journeys, more capacity and greater frequency.
They added: “As we approach the final stages of the work, we are only too aware performance in some areas of the GWR network has been impacted. The progress we have made has come at a price, as Network Rail does more engineering work, in less time, to meet the tough timescales involved.
“In turn, this has put pressure on with wider punctuality and reliability being challenged.”
The spokesman said engineering work, new signalling and staff training have affected services.
They added: “We expect this position to improve as new trains arrive, infrastructure is commissioned and some of the major projects close down.”
Statistics released by the Office of Rail and Road show GWR blamed National Rail for 57.4 per cent of delays. It attributed 32.6 per cent of delays to problems with its own services.
Passengers faced significant disruption on Sunday, which GWR blamed on engineering work, the World Cup final, good weather and too few staff.
It meant trains from North Somerset to Paddington were few and far between in the late afternoon and evening.
Marina Traversari, who commutes from Weston to Bristol, said the delays are leading to overcrowded and hot trains.