In Brief

UK passengers lost four million hours to rail delays last year

Satisfaction is at a ten-year low amid growing calls to re-nationalise network

British rail passengers spent estimated 3.9 million hours waiting for delayed trains in 2018, according to consumer group Which?

Around 80 trains a day faced significant delays throughout 2018, resulting in more than eight million passenger journeys held-up by at least 29 minutes.

Which? said the “lamentable year” for rail punctuality was compounded by the rail network's similarly woeful results for cancellations, which averaged 660 per day across the country - the highest figure since comparable records began in 2011.

In a separate report Which? also found more than a third of passengers do not claim delay compensation they are owed.

The findings, based on analysis of Office of Rail and Road data, come as rail companies across the UK implemented new summer timetables on Sunday, which will see 1,000 extra services per week.

“But, the new timetable was not without its teething problems,” says the Daily Telegraph, with passengers travelling on London Northwestern and Great Northern on Sunday taking to Twitter to complain that some trains were overcrowded, delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages.

A review of the rail industry was commissioned last year, following criticism of the way the franchising model is run. The Daily Mail notes that LNER, which took over the East Coast main line from the failed Virgin East Coast franchise in June last year, had the worst record for significant delays in the new Which? report.

A series of high-profile failures, most notably the introduction of new train timetables in 2018 which led to chaos and thousands of train cancellations, has sparked mounting calls for the UK rail network to be re-nationalised.

Labour has made it one of its signature policy pledges, and although the idea has been criticised by business groups, it has found growing support among a public frustrated by years of price hikes and worsening services.

Overall passenger satisfaction with rail services has fallen to a 10-year low, according to a report published in January by the independent transport watchdog, Transport Focus.

A survey of 25,000 people found 79% were satisfied overall with services, the lowest since 2008, with more than one in five passengers unhappy.

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