Trains which reach Preston 5 or 10 minutes late will no longer be recorded as 'on time' under tougher new rules

A tougher standard for punctuality will be introduced on Britain’s railways next month in an attempt to improve performance.

Monday, 25th March 2019, 6:48 am
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 7:53 am
Britains rail firms will face a tougher standard of punctuality from next month

Train times will be recorded to the minute at every stop, whereas the current measure means a train is deemed to be “on time” if it reaches its final destination within five or 10 minutes of the timetable.

Punctuality across Britain sank to a 13-year low in 2018.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) described the new performance measures as the most transparent in Europe.

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Britains rail firms will face a tougher standard of punctuality from next month

It said the information is already being used to reduce disruption, such as helping to prepare responses to seasonal conditions including autumn leaf fall, snow and high temperatures.

From April 1, train firms will publish a spread of information about their services, such as how many were early, within a minute of the timetable or within three, five, 10 or 15 minutes.

The proportion of trains cancelled will also be shown.

The existing five or 10-minute standard will continue to be published.

RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: “Every second matters to us and our customers which is why rail companies have together developed and are now using these to-the-minute measures for train punctuality at every station as part of our plan to improve the railway today.

“Record investment to upgrade the railway, including the roll out of thousands of new carriages, will continue to help improve journeys over the coming years and in the shorter term, we’re using a more transparent measure of punctuality to help us cut delays and reduce disruption.”

CrossCountry has already begun specifically targeting “on-time” starts on routes from Cardiff Central to reduce the chance of delays to services running through its hub in Birmingham. This has led to a 5.4 per cent improvement in trains leaving on time.