Key issues from the rail disruption Christmas 2014

30 December 2014

The weekend following Christmas 2014 saw thousands of passengers stuck in the cold or on unmoving trains, prevented from visiting family or friends and generally left feeling abandoned by the rail industry. Passengers booked tickets and made travel plans based on the promises made by the industry. That trust was broken.

Passengers will be pleased to hear that serious questions will be asked about this weekend, and planning these major projects more widely. But we will be most interested to see that the lessons learned are actually applied throughout the industry. We will feed into these and any other reviews. As part of this, we have produced an initial review of events – click below to download.

The three main issues we have preliminarily identified are as follows:
• the delay between the announcement of the initial delays and the revised timetable/plan setting out the precise impact of the delays
• the constant slippages in the advice given about when the disruption at Paddington would be cleared
• when the decision was made to use Finsbury Park in place of Kings Cross, the extent to which plans were also made to increase staffing and to introduce some form of queuing system.

Please note: This report has been updated.

In the initial report we referred to information first being released “early on Boxing Day (26 December).” This was based on the time displayed on the tweet – shown as 8.52am. We have since learnt that the time displayed in the tweet was the time in California, USA rather than the time in Great Britain . This means that times shown in this and subsequent tweets have to be adjusted forward by 8 hours. This makes the time for the first tweet 4:52pm rather than 8.52am. We have also since learnt that the first public indication of disruption was placed on the East Coast website at 3pm on 26 December.

This has an impact on our initial conclusions as it significantly reduces the time available for the industry to react before the next day’s services were due to start. We have corrected timings/references in the text below to reflect this. We have, however, kept the rest of the text as was – we have since learnt more about events but this will be covered in new reports rather than retrospectively added here.

Final version initial report xmas overruns - update.pdf
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