The government loves talking about train punctuality. Cancellations? Not so much.

For some reason, while the government have been crowing about train punctuality this week…

…they haven’t been talking much about Service Delivery, aka Cancellations.

I wonder why not?

Oh, could that be because it’s barely changed in 5 years?

Connex/Metro: Service delivery (eg cancellations), last 5 years

There’s certainly been a lot of work on the train network, including more concrete sleepers and track relaying to prevent buckling, better air-conditioning in the Comeng fleet, and additional maintenance capacity.

But cancellations still hit the trains regularly due to other causes — including many this week.

And with more than 50,000 services running every month, even 1% of the timetable not delivered is a lot of cancelled trains, which of course happens most often in peak hours when the system is under stress, generally affecting a disproportionate number of passengers, and causing severe overcrowding.

Overall it’s about the same as it has been for years.

So yes, perhaps it’s not a surprise that they’re not talking about it.

  • I deliberately left off a trend line, because one-off events such as the pre-Black Saturday heatwave skewed the result. If the data for Jan/Feb 2009 is removed, the Service Delivery trend is slightly down, but I don’t think this is a good representation of how things are tracking long-term.
  • Other lowlights for Metro include February 2011 (major storms), and summer 2012-13 when there were a lot of stolen copper wire incidents, culminating in the February 2013 incident involving the bat.
  • The upgrades to deal with heat can’t be over-stated. Lots of track has been re-laid, and air-con faults are now much rarer. I’d expect the resilience of the network in hot weather to be much better than it was pre-2010, though not perfect of course.
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2 thoughts on “The government loves talking about train punctuality. Cancellations? Not so much.

  1. I wonder if the improvement in punctuality has been contributed to by increasing the number of trains that “skip” stations when late and by re-routing trains that are supposed to travel to/from the Loop so as to run direct to Flinders Street. It’s particularly frustrating, when waiting at a Loop station, to hear an announcement that your train is now running direct from Flinders Street, because these announcements are typically made when it’s too late to take another train to Richmond (or Flinders St) so as to make a connection.

  2. @gxh: Correct. (I went into that in detail in the post linked from the words “train punctuality”).

    Note however that bypassing the Loop does affect their Service Delivery/Cancellation stats.

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