Official: East Croydon among Britain’s worst stations for delays

Long wait: hundreds of patient passengers on Platform 4 at East Croydon, where every other train in 2022 was subject to a delay

‘The failures of privatisation are coming home to roost financially and in terms of dysfunctionality’, according to one railways expert after research shows half of services through Croydon’s busiest station are delayed

East Croydon has been named as one of the worst railway stations in the country for delayed and cancelled train services, according to research published this week.

Gatwick Airport, just down the line, is also ranked among Britain’s 10 stations with the highest rate of delayed services.

Gatwick, St Albans City and Blackfriars are also listed among the top 10 stations for highest number of cancelled services.

East Croydon, together with Gatwick, Blackfriars and St Albans, offer services predominately for Southern Railways and Thameslink, which are operated by Govia Thameslink, a private company which receives multi-million subsidies from central government.

East Croydon is rated the seventh worst station for delays, with more than 50per cent of services operating from the station subject to delays in 2022. The figures show that 25per cent of services through East Croydon are subject to delays of three minutes or more.

The high level of delays and cancellations have been linked to 20 years of privatisation, rising costs and labour shortages that have been worsened by pandemic, according to the report’s authors.

According to a report published by The Grauniad, “Rail passengers have been delayed or disrupted on more than half of all train services departing from 15 of Great Britain’s busiest stations in the last year… exposing what has been described as a ‘broken’ railway system that cannot easily be fixed.”

Long wait: The Guardian’s Hall of Shame includes East Croydon

The newspaper used data from the performance-tracking website OnTimeTrains. The Guardian’s analysis looked at the 100 busiest stations in Great Britain.

It found that stations in north-west England have been particularly poorly served in the past year, in some cases with 20per cent of services cancelled, although delayed Thameslink and Southern trains are keeping the lines between Luton and Brighton, via East Croydon, in railway’s “Hall of Shame”.

Tom Haines-Doran, the author of Derailed: How to Fix Britain’s Broken Railways, told the newspaper, “In all senses of the word, the railways aren’t functioning, they are dysfunctional in every important respect.

“And that means that to fix them isn’t just a simple task of fixing one or two aspects. The whole system has broken down and it’s going take a lot of effort and a lot of money to fix it.

“We have a situation where the railways are costing more than ever before, fares are higher than they’ve ever been, and yet cancellations and delays seem to be higher than they’ve ever been before as well.

“The failures of privatisation are coming home to roost financially and in terms of the dysfunctionality of the system.”

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7 Responses to Official: East Croydon among Britain’s worst stations for delays

  1. James Smith says:

    Its ok I’ll pop over the road and get the bus if my train is delayed. Oh wait. The council got rid of the southbound bus shelter for all those routes so I’ll just get soaked then! Now they’ve changed the timetable this happens to me a lot. I can never understand how it’s possible for one of the biggest interchanges in London to NOT have somewhere to wait out of the rain for a bus….

    • Nick Davies says:

      Because they should have covered over the station and put a bus station on top, then a few floors of offices on top of that to pay for it all.

      Instead they built a phenominally expensive bridge which has no obvious reason for existing and must be one of the biggest design fails in the history of bridge building.

  2. Andy Cook says:

    This article fails to take account of the lack of investment into the railway infrastructure.
    Without investment, and with cancelling the current important projects, this is only going to get worse.

    • As Haines-Doran says, this is a failure of privatisation.

      Private companies were supposed to deliver the revenues to pay for infrastructure up-grades.

      Instead, they pay dividends to their share-holders, while the government pays them millions in operating fees.

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    I have worked on Transport before, during, and after privatisation. I have seen the successes and the failures both before and after Privatisation. One thing became very very clear to me from the mid eighties. Rail Transport in the UK as it was and what it was to become would always fail and would always fail in the end despite the best efforts of talented people and railway people
    Haines Doran are right with respects to National Rail and the Train operating Companies along with the business structures and funding all the way to (ersatz) franchising, safety regulation and auditing.

    Privatisation has not, did not, and never had a chance to succeed. However neither did nationalisation of transport in Public service since the 60s.
    One can point to funding, investment, labour unrest and militant unions but that were just the symptoms of a deeper malaise.

    Fundamentally the UK has not had Political leadership that understood the Countries needs and future. It determined to go down a service industry route, not right or wrong per se but it trashed manufacturing and the Logistical infrastructure.

    You do not require a degree in Economic’s to know that both industries together enable a nation to survive downturns and are therefore quicker to bounce back. Governments invest in Infrastructure in boom times and tis helps them keep stable in poorer times.

    Poor funding and no funding is not the only issue

    Good Political Leadership and trust is also required.

    People need to trust its leaders that they are working in everyone’s best interests. Not partying during Covid or picking a fight with the Unions for political and not transport purposes
    Employee’s need to know that their Political masters when asking them to put up with poor conditions and all work together risking health and at times life itself to look after the general public – will be treated loyally when they do so for years.

    From the time of the first Great War transport people have done so and it was why they are represented at the Cenotaph on Remembrence day.

    For the last 40 years that trust has been steadily eroded by politicians antic’s and their failure to deliver on promises repeatedly.

    When one looks at issues that shut transport down you will find at the heart the fingers of a transport minister and sometimes politically picked fights for political purposes. Too often have very good and successful Transport Leaders left the post mostly due to the positions being untenable after ministers/political interference.

    I fully believe that Independent Public Transport systems can work very well and LUL did from 1992 – 2004. As did Parts of the old BR. They can not be fully self sufficient in this country to deliver everyone’s needs – but can pay all their operating costs and some towards renewing infrastructure.

    I also believe that fully private companies can also do the same but not to the full public requirements of the UK. In addition there would be a great risk to this countries economy if shareholders had control of Public Logistic’s.

    But what will always fail is a hybrid that has no direction, no will, no money and most importantly no trust. And that is what we have today.

  4. Anton Smithson says:

    Thsmeslink. A stinking under providing rail operator, disconnected from it’s customers and scraping by with max delays and cancellations and min service.

  5. Peter Underwood says:

    Public transport is a public service. It isn’t there to make someone a profit, it is there because it is vital for our quality of life and to support the economy. We need to end this ‘everything must make a profit’ mentality and get back to providing good services for everyone. We need to bring public services back into public hands.

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