An apology for our current performance
I know it’s been a tough few weeks for many customers and I want you to know that we’re very sorry for the disruption. We’ve been dealing with a few different issues recently, but we’re working hard to reduce the impact in the future. I’m grateful for your patience as we get our services back on track. I know waiting for a train can be frustrating especially when it’s then cancelled completely, so let me explain a few reasons why our service may be running late:
- An increase in trespass incidents: Last month we saw an increase in the number of trespass incidents on the network – for example in October, three separate incidents occurred on three consecutive days, causing major disruption.
- Slippery conditions: Autumn can be a beautiful time of year, but the falling leaves are no smiling matter when they fall on the tracks and cause slippery conditions. Our trains can release sand onto the tracks to increase their grip, but sometimes for your safety, we still need to slow down.As with any type of traffic, when all the trains slow down it can create a knock on effect and that’s why ‘leaves on the line’ do actually cause us a serious issue.
- Congested network: The popularity of rail travel continues to increase in the UK and our network is no exception. We have the highest seat occupancy of any UK rail operator so our network is congested at normal times of operation and even more so during disruption.
- Removal of Rest Day Working: October saw the withdrawal of our Driver Rest Day Working agreement by ASLEF (the train drivers’ union). This means when a driver calls in sick, we can’t call up another driver who’s on a rest day to fill the shift, and we’re left without anyone available to drive the train. It’s a difficult situation but we are trying to plan ahead as best we can and we are employing extra drivers to improve our resilience.
Some of these issues are out of our control, but we’re all working hard to make sure your day runs smoothly. If you need any help or just an explanation about a delay, please talk to our staff and we’ll provide all the information we can. We also have instant compensation for some customers impacted by disruption. Please get in contact with us via Customer Relations Team
Kathryn O’Brien, First TransPennine Express Customer Service Director