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Network Rail Performance - Briefing Note

Wessex Route Briefing Note – Performance – As of May 2018


Network Rail’s Wessex route is one of the busiest and most congested parts of the railway network. The number of passenger journeys on the route has more than doubled in the last 20 years, to around 234 million per year, and is expected to increase by a further 40% by 2043.

We appreciate our service has not been good enough overall following the completion of major upgrade work at Waterloo in August last year. Our passengers deserve, and rightly expect, a high performing train service.

A number of significant incidents have impacted the service in recent months, including infrastructure issues at Waterloo (see page 2 on ‘Waterloo’), a fire in the throat of Waterloo in December (which caused severe disruption), bad and extreme weather conditions and points failures and track issues at some of the busiest parts of our network. The congested nature of our network means that delays can have a severe knock on effect.

Train performance on the Wessex route in April 2018 was recorded as 89.5%, using the public performance measure (PPM)1. We will continue to try to provide the best service possible for our passengers. Independent review on performance

The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, recently commissioned an independent review into operational performance on the South Western Railway network to ‘ensure all possible steps are being taken to improve performance and passenger experience’.

We welcome the review and are working with its chair, Sir Michael Holden. It is expected to be completed in summer 2018.

Responding to incidents

When an incident happens on the railway network we respond as quickly as possible to limit disruption and get people on the move again. Our joint Network Rail and South Western Railway control centre, at our state of the art Basingstoke railway operating centre, has improved interventions leading to a 1.4% improvement in performance between the morning and evening peaks. We have appointed seven senior incident officer roles working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to lead on incident responses affecting Network Rail and South Western Railway.

The public performance measure (PPM) shows the percentage of trains which arrive at their terminating station within 5 minutes (for London & South East and regional services) or 10 minutes (for long distance services) - https://www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are/how-we-work/performance/public-performance-measure/

Preventing incidents

We are making every effort to stop incidents before they happen, through increasing resources on this part of the network and using ‘intelligent technology’.

We are increasing our asset inspection regime in the Waterloo area and have appointed a new track section manager to prevent incidents occurring.

We have provided some additional teams and resources for maintenance and incident response between Waterloo and Basingstoke.

Using ‘intelligent technology’, we monitor the efficiency of our infrastructure, which has allowed us to intervene early on around 500 occasions in 2017/18 which could have all resulted in infrastructure failures delaying passengers.

There has been a 6% improvement in service affecting failures in the past year, with a 27% improvement since 2014. o We are introducing new safer isolations to turn off electricity to the track remotely. This keeps our staff off the track, improving safety, with less disruption to passengers and means we can deal with incidents more quickly. Waterloo upgrade programme

Disruption after upgrade work at Waterloo last August was due to signalling equipment faults and snagging issues. Newly installed infrastructure did not perform as we expected in day-to-day operating conditions. All issues relating to the upgrade were resolved in autumn last year.

The ongoing £800m Waterloo and South West Upgrade will be completed by the end of this year with the reopening of the former Waterloo International Terminal. o This will increase peak time capacity at Waterloo by 30% - space for an extra 45,000 passengers every morning and evening.

The five additional platforms in the former International Terminal will also give us more flexibility during disruption, which should improve our ability to recover from delays.

Please direct any questions to the Wessex route public affairs lead, Aeneas Tole, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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