Not the dreaded rail replacement…

28 June 2018

When a train journey goes wrong, do you stick or twist – stay on the train or bail out on to a bus?

In the current timetable misery, many passengers don’t have much choice. However we need to understand people’s preferences overall, so that in the longer term we can advise rail operators how to reduce the impact of disruptive engineering works on long-suffering passengers.

Our Rail passengers’ experiences and priorities during engineering works research shows most rail passengers will tolerate an extended journey time of up to 30 minutes – normally on a one-hour journey –  if the train is diverted around engineering works.

We wanted to further understand passengers’ preferences for scenarios where planned engineering work would affect a longer train journey of two, three or four hours. How much additional journey time on the train would passengers say they would tolerate before they prefer to change to a replacement coach in order to reach their destination sooner?

You can use the infographic below to explore the results. They confirm our previous findings, demonstrating that – regardless of journey length – a clear majority prefer an additional journey time of 30 minutes rather than change to a coach. The ‘tipping point’ is around 45 minutes additional travel time, with a slim majority preferring to stay on the train if making a journey normally taking three or four hours, and a slim majority preferring the coach for a journey normally taking 2 hours.

So, what does this mean for train companies and Network Rail when they plan engineering work? Keep passengers on the train! The rail industry must ensure it uses replacement buses or coaches only as a last resort.



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