Measured over a 28-day period, 99% of Merseyrail services arrived at their destinations on time or within five minutes. Tony McDonough reports
Train operator Merseyrail says it has achieved a 99% punctuality record – a first for the UK rail industry.
Merseyrail completed an entire 28-day period with 99% of its trains arriving on time or within five minutes (Public Performance Measure – PPM). It says it is particularly proud given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Merseyrail Electrics (2002) is a 50/50 joint venture company between Serco and Abellio, which has a 25-year concession agreement with Merseytravel – the transport executive body and delivery arm of the city region’s Combined Authority.
Zoe Hands, chief operating officer at Merseyrail, said: “With passenger numbers starting to grow as we emerge from lockdown, our trains have called at stations over 187,000 times during the past month to get key workers and those on essential journeys to where they need to be.
“We’ve long prided ourselves on making sure the Liverpool city region has the best rail service in Britain and we are almost always on time averaging over 97% punctuality. However, to hit 99% is a staggering and unprecedented achievement and a true testament to the hard work of all our staff.
“If we can achieve this with what is, on average, the oldest fleet of passenger trains of an UK operator, imagine the possibilities when we begin to roll-out the brand-new fleet of trains.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and our service partners at Stadler, Network Rail, British Transport Police and Carlisle, without whom these kinds of achievements would not be possible.”
The Combined Authority is investing £460m into a 52-strong new train fleet which is currently undergoing testing on the network. The fleet could more than doubled in size over the next few years if ambitions to expand the network become reality.
The new Class 777 trains include free Wi-Fi, wider seats and space for up to 50% more passengers. They will also feature pioneering sliding step technology which will allow unassisted access for wheelchair users and those with bikes or buggies – a first for the UK.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Transport Portfolio Holder for the Combined Authority, added: “This result gives us great confidence to continue delivering services for key workers and more passengers in the coming months should national lockdown restriction continue to ease and play a role in supporting the wider economic recovery of the city region.”