We regret the delay to your train…

For every late train there is a reason. Some are straightforward, others more complex, and each knock-on has an affect around the network, but with each delay comes a cost.

Phil Marsh explains the work of the Delay Attribution Board, which adjudicates for the industry on the more complex cases. In the last three financial years Network Rail (NR) has paid more than £1billion to train operators in delay compensation – and its likely to get worse. 

Fallen trees can be another source of delay. Some trains get damaged by impact, with trees resulting in injuries to the driver and units out of service for repairs. NETWORK RAIL

Performance has fallen for seven consecutive years, with infrastructure failures causing more delays than train operator errors of failures, which is something to be expected. How has the UK rail industry arrived at this situation and how is it managed? 

We all have tales about horrendous rail journeys where trains have been delayed, cancelled or missing out intermediate stops to make up time, or because of being diverted.

In its own words: “The Delay Attribution Board (DAB) is the Industry body remitted to provide guidance and assurance to the Industry on delay attribution issues.” 

It presides over delay attribution responsibility, but it is the Track Access Contract Schedule 8
mechanism that turns delays into financial penalties or bonuses via the contractual relationships within the industry.

Another cause of delay is helium balloons tangled in the overhead wires. Last year there were 613 balloon incidents. Plastic bags can also be problematical when they get caught in the wires. NETWORK RAIL

The DAB’s purpose is to ‘Lead, Advise and Monitor the effectiveness and accuracy of the delay attribution process and use of the Delay Attribution Principles and Rules (DAPR) and the Performance Data Accuracy Code’ – currently 166 pages long. The DAB normally meets every four weeks, interrupted by a summer and Christmas break, dependent on when the meeting falls, and the amount of business on the agenda for that meeting.

NR chief executive Andrew Haines said at a recent briefing the company has budgeted £1billion in performance payments for delay compensation in Control Period 6, which started from April 2019. This is taxpayers’ money and is paid to all train operating companies when a delay occurs.

Read more and view more images in the June 2019 issue of The Railway Magazineon sale now!

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