A slight trip, and the British railway network falls flat on its face.
On Tuesday evening, as I was returning to Milton Keynes for my French conversation class, after a day at Westminster, Euston descended into chaos. At least three separate incidents were causing problems on the line between London Euston and Rugby.
I wrote the draft for this post (in longhand) yesterday while awaiting the arrival of a friend from Lutterworth who was travelling via Coventry. The train had been have problems for most of its journey from Scotland. It finally gave up the ghost in Rugby. In the meantime a freight train breakdown shut down the route via Northampton.
Even the best networks suffer occasional problems (and to be fair, reading the news from France this morning, alerted me to the problems their network had suffered due to the heatwave). 100% punctuality is an impossibility - so much can happen that is outside the control of the track operators and the train operators.
But for regular users of the trains, service disruptions occur all too frequently. The annual average for London Midland is 87.9% of trains arrive within 5 minutes of schedule. Virgin trains had 89.4% of trains arriving within 10 minutes of schedule in May 2015. (Btw it would be nice if at a station COMPARABLE statistics were available!)
Train travel is very expensive in the UK - and this isn't good enough. ANSWERS (rather than apologies & the occasional refund) is what passengers want - in other words ACCOUNTABILITY.